The RED HEADED STEP-Children of the HIV Community HETEROSEXUALS
Contracting HIV in the early years was considered a given if you were a White Gay Man. A so-called punishment from God. Is how society recognized it.
As the span of the virus began widening others were also Contracting this thing that was called G.R.I.D. Later renamed AIDS. The public push back deemed this was nothing but a casualty of reckless people. Not at all worth panicking over. So many were left on the outside looking in. Being ostracized simply because they didn't fit the description of what was assumed the source of this new health crisis. And the Red Headed Stepchildren was now the group that No one wanted to claim or acknowledge as being real in this dilemma.
When the Adjective Heterosexual is used in the HIV communit, the only persons identified hands down now would be Women and Girls. Before they were recognized, we can’t forget the total disrespect of women in the early beginnings of this virus. Women were being portrayed as promiscuous and ignored and only seen as a casualty of their own careless and deceitful sinful ways in the 80’s. Therefore, nothing was done to help them. They were at that point that Red Headed Stepchild No one wanted to deal with. And now When the subject of Heterosexual Men is mentioned the reply for the most part is There are No Heterosexual Men. Men should stop blaming women for their contracting HIV. They know Men contract it from men and bring it home to women. There is a lot written about how men are not comfortable with admitting they are involved sexually with men and because of that woman are contracting HIV. The quote unquote DL (Downlow) scenario was created to justify why women were contracting HIV in the 80’s and 90’s. The start of socially Emasculating Black men that identified as heterosexual began. Men then had to prove they were not sneaking off to cohabitate with other (DL) men every time they were away from their wife or girlfriend. Men are now wearing the label of being Bisexual and now share the Red Headed Stepchild title.
HIV in the media
There seems to be a new Book, a Film, Movie, Documentary released every year describing the life and or struggles of people living with or that passed away in the Gay community from a HIV related illness. Or the doctors and nurses that cared for people in the Gay community. There were also Heterosexual men and women that were suffering in the hospitals also but no mention of them has ever been spoken.
We personally know several Women that have written books and released a video regarding their journey living with HIV but are having to self-promote and distribute to get their product out to the public. That is Not so much the case with anything released from the Gay community. Again, an example of the Red Headed Stepchild that No one wants to deal with.
There is Nothing written to reflect a Heterosexual Man living with HIV in a positive (no pun intended) light, it usually reflects him being arrested and being sent to jail for non-disclosure. Still another example of that Red Headed Stepchild, that No one wants to deal with.
We Recently Met a wonderful Seroconcordant Heterosexual Couple living with HIV that has written a Book detailing how they were diagnosed and then decided with guidance from the word of GOD they would do whatever it took to remain as Husband and Wife. This book was Not widely publicized so again no one knows about it. Being a Seroconcordant couple also we were led to believe couples like ourselves where we both were diagnosed with HIV NEVER stay together. Pressure from all sides tried to convince us that divorce was in our best interest if we wanted to survive. We insisted we would Not allow this Virus to destroy our marriage. There is no talk of Seroconcordant couples in the HIV community only Serodiscordant couples where one person is Living with HIV, and the other person is Not Living with HIV. It is not easy for anyone but not everyone is represented when the story is told. As a Heterosexual, it gets so much more difficult if you are cast under the Red Headed Stepchild label never seeing anyone like you to relate to.
The worst part about being a Red Headed Stepchild in society and in the HIV, Community isn't living with HIV. It’s that everyone except you gets to define who you are. And ultimately knowing it doesn't matter how loud you scream who you really are No one is listening or even cares.
The most popular phrase #EndHIV will never be possible if all populations and orientations aren’t included in the fight!! “LET’S STOP HIV TOGETHER”.
Eunice & Kalvin Marshall a HIV Seroconcordant Advocate Couple
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