Sunday, June 20, 2004

Conference, Cards, and Counseling: A Day In The Life Of Me

I've been at a conference all week. The National HIV Prevention Leadership Summit. The conference is very relevant to my job. So I volunteered in order to avoid registration cost and such. I'll never enter such an arrangement again. This experience was a lesson in How not to manage volunteers. I attended only two sessions. Both sessions were about "Men On The DL." The reason I was so pissed by both of the sessions is because they were so indicative of the way that sensationalism can remove all logic from society. I mean we are HIV Prevention Professionals in a room jumping on the bad wagon of warning women against dangerous Black Gay Men who are out to infect them with HIV. It seems that we, as HIV prevention professionals, would spend our time and resources on warning women against having unprotected sexual intercourse with persons of positive or unknown HIV serostatus. This was not the case. I think that everyone is looking for a way to turn this into a catalyst to fame for themselves. To Late! JL King has already done this and the popular black media is not interested in anyone more qualified than he. He has them mesmerized. It’s sad really. So I made a lot of noise in the work shop sessions. Reminded everyone that we must begin to approach this topic more critically and analytically. I used the words un-pack this conversation. Easier to spell and understand. I warned them that black men have forever, since reconstruction in the south, been pictured as the owners of dangerous sexuality, that AIDS does not belong solely to Gay men and that a man's sex with another man does not automatically make him HIV positive. I also reminded them that in a social context were the media is granting gay men increased attention that it's probably not by accident that the attention granted white gay men comes through "Will and Grace", Queer Eye For the Straight Guy, and 101 television specials divided between MTV and VH1, while increased attention for Black Gay Men means Oprah talking about how we pose a threat to Black Women. It's a mess!

So I leave the conference with a couple of new friends and a couple of old friends to attend a party. On the way we stop, with our host, at the grocery store to pick up what's needed for the Rice and Peas, and some beverages. While in the grocery store I spent my time looking at the parade of beautiful black men that chose to use that grocery store that day. It was lots of fun. They had week coffee that they charged a fair price for. So I drank coffee while my friends shopped for coconut milk and par-boiled rice. We went from there to the home of our host, a lean bodied, brown skinned, dread lock wearing, Black Gay man who enjoys people enjoying the sight of his body. He spent most of the time at his house with his shirt off and his dick swinging back and forth through a thin pair of sweat pants. Fun! I looked plenty but got the feeling that touches from me would not have been welcomed. So I didn't touch. We played spades, drank rum and coke, vodka and cranberries, and spiked punch while eating barbeque baked chicken, rice and peas, and mac and cheese. It was a great time until a couple of brothaz walking through the final stages of a pre-mature relationship showed up with their 10 month long disagreement (the relationship) and turned the party into a counseling session for themselves. This is when the party became a mess and I realized how much I hate being drunk. Boy A has this control complex and bosses boy B around the entire time we are at the party. IT was ridiculous. He groped me in the kitchen while his boy friend presumably played cards in the other room. That is until the boyfriend responded to the silence in the kitchen by peeking in and found his boyfriend with his drunken hand about my waist. Awkward for me? Yes. So I took a sip of my rum and coke and retreated to the living room. When they returned they spent about ten minutes wrapped in a contrived, though distracting, embrace until the controlled one mentioned how unable he was to pay attention to the way the cards were being played. The controller jumped up in a drunken pathetic rage and screaming "Yeah, your right, I'm a fucking distraction!" We were successful at keeping the controlled engaged with the cards for about ten additional minutes until he stormed out of the room into the parking lot in fron of the party host's apartment. One of my friends followed, leaving the unfinished game of spades behind as well as the controller in the kitchen being attended to by several older gay men. Next out to the aid of the controlled was another friend named Mark then me several moments later. I went out of shear boredom and the lack of enthusiasm about going into the kitchen to chat with the controllers group. So I went outside for a walk that lasted for about 20 minutes and returned to join those trying to convince the controlled to dump the controller. I felt like I was singing with sweet honey n the rock. You know that song they do about domestic violence? I think it's called RUN. A sorry end to a party that had so much potential. It got even more sorry when we began discussing the end of the party. It was time to go. I would be leaving but the only person with a car was the controller and there was no room for me and my brother who was at the party with me. So I was told that I had to take a cab by someone who knew I had no money. So they had to give me money. Very uncomfortable for me. God I hate shit like that. So I had a night that started out really cool and ended really ummm, not cool.

1 comment:

malik said...

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