The week: 25 May

This is a bit of an experiment. Seeing as how I rarely write anything for the blog these days, I’m going to try to do a weekly post with lots of links to interesting things I’ve noticed during the week, a bit of personal narrative and maybe a photo or two.

Selfie, 21 May

Selfie, 21 May

I came home from university on Monday feeling rather brilliant after getting my two major essays back, both with ‘A’ grades. Then I read this blog post by Daniel Reeders and this review by Dion Kagan and I realised I was just an old duffer again. Daniel’s insightful analysis of a real-world encounter with HIV stigma, and Dion’s brilliant synthesis of multiple streams of nostalgia and documentary-making, put my first-year legal blatherings in their rightful place. Thanks to Dion I now have the terms ‘melancholic disavowal’ and ‘traumatic unremembering’ at my disposal.

Still on the subject of stigma, last week I had the opportunity to talk about the stigma that is increasingly apparent around hepatitis C virus infection among HIV-positive gay men, at a public forum hosted by Living Positive Victoria. I recently came across Gareth Owen‘s 2008 paper ‘An “elephant in the Room”? Stigma and Hepatitis C Transmission Among HIV‐positive “serosorting” Gay Men’ that examined this issue and I used some material from that paper in my talk. One sample quote:

‘The hep C situation on the scene is much like HIV was in the early days, so guys will avoid having sex with other guys who they definitely know have hep C. Though they tend to assume that guys don’t have hep C if it isn’t mentioned.’

I also used some anonymised quotes from a prominent serosorting/bareback hookup site to support my observations – I found dozens of texts like ‘žnot on here to get hep c guys so please be upfront about it’ and ‘I’m Hep C neg and not really into putting that at risk, being poz is enough as it is.’

It’s impossible to ignore the obvious parallels with similar statements made by HIV-negative guys about HIV.

Marriage equality was in the news. The French president signed their newly reformed law, angering one right-wing idiot so much he shot himself in front of the altar in Notre Dame Cathedral. Meanwhile, a political stoush unfolded in the UK with right-wing Tories and UKIP cranks trying to derail David Cameron‘s marriage reform efforts. Talk of ‘swivel-eyed loons’, ‘lesbian queens’ and ‘aggressive homosexuals’ peppered my Twitter stream. Rhodri Marsden had the best comment:

Here in Australia, Kevin Rudd issued a press release announcing he had written a blog post announcing he had changed his position on the issue of same-sex marriage, and was now all for it. The country rejoiced, because every time Kevin Rudd gets his name in the papers it’s good for the national conversation and no-one thought he was being the least bit political. The ACL responded, predictably, by declaring that same-sex marriage would lead to ‘another stolen generation’. Skipping forward several steps, this led to Helen Razer accusing Adam Bandt of Manichaeism.

The Eurovision Song Contest was won by Denmark, represented by a barefoot hippie and a Christian Slater lookalike in a military uniform. My favourite contestant, Romania’s vampiric über-camp countertenor Cezar, dressed in an enormous black Jean Paul Gaultier frock, finished a creditable 14th, while Bonnie Tyler, representing the UK, somehow got 23 votes. Despite featuring some memorable eye candyIreland came last – a fact that every British media outlet felt compelled to include in their reports.

I was at the MCG on Friday night to see the opening game of the Indigenous Round, in which my Sydney Swans beat Collingwood by 47 points. A great performance by the team, but the game will principally be remembered for an ugly incident in which Adam Goodes was subjected to racist abuse by a 13 year old female Collingwood fan. Goodes’ compassionate, caring press conference on Saturday morning was inspiring. Some of the responses on Twitter weren’t.

Nushawn Williams, incarcerated for 16 years for sexual offences including infecting several women with HIV, claimed in court that he is HIV-negativeTony Abbott let slip that he is already drafting his victory speech. A British soldier was horrifically murdered by a pair of religious zealots, leading to ugly reprisals by right-wingers. Ríos Montt‘s genocide conviction was overturned. Hazel Hawke died, and The Age had her obituary online within four minutes – a pity they forgot to fill the details in first. I went on a mushroom-foraging tour: didn’t find any edible shrooms but met some nice lesbians. The Doctor Who season finalé had a massive reveal leading countless idiots to believe the Doctor’s real name is ‘John Hurt’. Brent is still overseas but he’ll be back on Monday. I start hep C treatment next week. I saw a Tawny Frogmouth. Life’s good.

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