I sometimes find myself having to explain that my journey is not your journey. Although we may be similar! We are not the same.
I can not believe that in 2022 that we still must have the conversation and give lessons and training on HIV STIGMA to people in the HIV field and in the community!!
A couple of days ago I found myself interjecting into a conversation expressing out loud that certain language is inappropriate, vulgar, and stigmatizing!! The looks I got were the looks of "come on Titan we not saying that about you" "I don't understand why you are upset" "Titan we support the Alphabet community" and lastly "Oh here he goes again"
Moment of clarity:
I used to be that person that stood in the midst of this rhetoric and never spoke up. Always chose to sink into the darkness because although I did not like the dark it was the safest place because I blended in and I thought this blending was best. I did not have the Power nor Purpose to make or constitute change. (If I only knew then what I know now)
Those days are gone! You can not and will not invite me to a space or place where I am to be put into a box and only come out when the coast is clear.
You can not expect me to let Racism, Homophobia, and HIV Stigma run Tha F*** over in any space or place that I occupy.
These words on this photograph represent all the vile and nasty things over my 17years of being HIV+ that people/family/so-called friends said to my face, behind my back, and in my circles. Imagine knowing all of this and still being in the midst of it all and not saying a word. But slowly dying inside.
Most people don't know my deep-rooted back story most only know the high-level story that has been told so people like those mentioned above can stomach it.
HIV STIGMA is real even in 2022! I wish like hell it wasn't but I am done having the window shopping conversations. It's time to go inside and shut the store down!!
FREE FROM STIGMA!!