December 1st is World AIDS Day. A day to bring global awareness to this terrible disease that affects nearly every person drawing breath. Either directly or indirectly.
It’s devastating, this disease. The history of it, the lack of funding, the fear, the misinformation…the stigma.
I have been deeply affected by this disease since I was 10. Much too young to understand this or to even fear it. I grew up in the 80’s, in the midst of the outbreak, the explosion of fear and bad information. Only for me, it affected me because I was confused, I didn’t understand.
My mom came out when I was 10 and proceeded to quickly surround me with some of the most amazing people I have ever or will ever know. To say these men loved and adored me was a complete understatement. They took to me, loved me like I was their own and gave me unconditional support and love. These perfect loving creatures touched my life and I will never be the same.
Watching them as I got older and they got sicker, there was this ache, this slow loss. The realization that these gentle people were not going to be part of my life much longer, I did everything I could to hold on longer, tighter to them. To create memories that I still cling to. To say I miss each of them doesn’t do my feelings justice. I ache to see them once more. I carry them in my heart.
I have grown up in the drag circuit… the benefits, food drives, celebrations, parades…all with the common thread of love and the goal of eradication, of control, of surviving.
I’ve got folks in my life that are positive. They are living. Not just surviving, but being the example that in this day in age, you can LIVE with this disease. I don’t see them as people with a disease, I see them, just as them. Perfectly loving, teaching, showing the world not to judge…they don’t shy away from it, the fight with a fierceness that takes my breath away
We, the human race, have GOT to work together towards a cure. We have to help those that can’t help themselves. There are countries that don’t have access to the medicine or knowledge that is necessary to live and survive, we have to give them hope, we have to give them help.
We are our brothers keeper, it’s up to each of us, it’s within each of us.
And for so many, for Michael, Michael, Matt, Stevie, Steve and my sweet Dan…I love and miss you. Every minute of every day. Thank you for teaching me love, acceptance and grace. It was an honor to be your girl…