Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Stigma: The Jake And Miguel Story

“Hey McVie! Can you please reference this on your blog? Thanks!”

That was Jake Lopez’s message to me on Facebook. Jake is the guy the Fabcasters featured before, the Fil-American who was knowingly infected with HIV by a friend. This (yes, you can click on the link first before you continue reading) apparently is the story of a guy named Miguel who sent Jake a message on Facebook, saying how gay men like Jake have no one to blame for their positive status but themselves. As far as this message-sender was concerned, Jake was being hypocritical in his current advocacy because he was sexually promiscuous in the first place.

Prior to Jake sending me the message, I had read Miguel’s messages on Jake’s wall. (I think Jake has wisely taken them down from his wall; I can’t find the exchange anymore.) And while Jake has his own guesses as to what possessed Miguel to mouth off like that on his wall, my take is this.

I sensed a bit of online grandstanding from Miguel. You know how guys behave differently online versus offline? Online they’re gutsier, more abrasive and aggressive; but when you meet them in person, they end up meek, mild-mannered and agreeable. I won’t be surprised that to a certain extent this guy was purposely trying to get a raise from Jake.

But on the other hand, I also sensed that Miguel actually believes in what he was saying. In which case, Jake was right in pointing out the stigma that gay men, especially those who are HIV+, have to endure. People like Miguel actually believe that promiscuous gay men deserve getting HIV; it’s their punishment. And because they brought it upon themselves, they have no right to warn other gay men to play safe. Now what kind of illogical thinking is that? First, Miguel obviously didn’t read or listen very well to Jake’s story; Jake’s mistake wasn’t promiscuity, but rather an unfortunate lapse in judgement for one instance. Second, it’s the people who made mistakes who are often in the best position to warn others how to avoid making such mistakes.

Jake, it’s good that you still believe in reaching out to people like Miguel. Me? His message won’t even see the light of day.

No comments: