More to Me Than HIV

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More to Me Than HIV

First published in Gscene July 2020 For last years World AIDS Day I put together a public project of work joining other people living with an HIV+ diagnoses at Jubilee library.For last years World AIDS Day I put together a public project of work joining other people living with an HIV+ diagnoses at Jubilee library. For the project I spoke openly about my journey having being           Read more

More to Me Than HIV: GScene post Aug 2020

More to Me Than HIV is a project that aims to breakdown the stigma that has historically been attached to this virus.  When I saw my piece in last months Gscene to promote the More to Me Than HIV project, I was extremely proud, but a small part of me was filled with anxiety; but why should I feel this way? I have been on effective antiretroviral therapy since the Read more

More to Me Than HIV: first published in GScene July 2020

For last years World AIDS Day I put together a public project of work joining other people living with an HIV+ diagnoses at Jubilee library. For the project I spoke openly about my journey having being             diagnosed HIV+ 32 years previous. Back then there was no treatment and a lot of fear and misinformation concerning how HIV was transmitted. As such stigma was rife, Read more

Gscene

More to Me Than HIV

First published in Gscene July 2020

For last years World AIDS Day I put together a public project of work joining other people living with an HIV+ diagnoses at Jubilee library.For last years World AIDS Day I put together a public project of work joining other people living with an HIV+ diagnoses at Jubilee library.

For the project I spoke openly about my journey having being             diagnosed HIV+ 32 years previous. Back then there was no treatment and a lot of fear and misinformation concerning how HIV was transmitted. As such stigma was rife, which caused me to not be vocal about my status outside of the safety of those HIV+ forums and groups.

I felt empowered by talking about my own HIV+ status at my place of work and was moved by those who spoke so eloquently and openly about living with an HIV+ diagnoses. Straight after the project had finished, I knew I wanted to build on what we had collectively presented.

From here the same team came on board and collectively we have shaped this years visual presentation for World AIDS Day 2020.

The photo project is called, More to Me than HIV; it’s main purpose is to help breakdown the stigma that many people living with an HIV+ diagnoses experience. The project will culminate in an online public gallery as well as a physical exhibition of photographs at Jubilee library and a selection of branch libraries across Brighton and Hove who are supporting the project by allowing us to use the space free of charge

We are inviting people from all communities, gay, straight, BAME and transgender, who are living with HIV to submit three photos: one self portrait, (format, vertical), and two other photos (cropped, squared to fit beside your portrait photo) These two images must convey other aspects of what makes you, you; from a hobby, your career or passion.

Please send three empowering words to accompany the images. We will format and add these to the partite image. 

Submissions will be exhibited on our online public gallery, which we will launch a week before World AIDS Day as part of the national HIV+ testing week.

From these submissions we will choose a cross section of 30 entries to make up our libraries exhibition. When submitting your photos, there will be an option to opt out of this part of the project and to have your images online only. 

From the 30 entires we would like to invite you to write  300 words (100 words for each image) to give further context to the images and what it means then we say there’s more to me than HIV. 

The team behind the project understand there be a lot of questions  participants want to ask which we will strive to answer via the website, here are a few that may come to mind.

Can I be assured of confidentiality?

Yes, we live with or are affected by HIV ourselves and recognise the importance of confidentiality. For example, when you subscribe to our email list, you don’t have to give your name, we only use it to politely address you.

How do I submit photos, which format should I use and size?

Send your photos by email to the webpage address, there will also be easy to follow details of what format and size we would like you to use.

How do you approve images?

We reserve the right not to use images that break any UK law, contain any hateful or obscene content, or are too small to represent on our platform without distorting the image.

What if I don’t want to be identified?

We will not attach any name to the portraits for the project. You may choose not to show your whole face in the portraits, however, we would like to encourage you to combat stigma by being visible.

I’d like to take part, but I’m uneasy as I’m not out about my HIV Status?

We recognise that choosing when and who to disclose your his positive status to can be difficult, as we have been there ourselves. You may want to choose this project as part of your disclosure strategy to show others how diverse we are. Being pictured with others may be of comfort to you, as you are not alone. 

If you would like to speak to an HIV positive Peer Support Volunteer, the Sussex offers a one to one bespoke service to help you stand with you on your journey.

Our website will be updated throughout the project as more questions come in so please do check the website. We look forward to seeing your images as we all stand together and say, there is so much more to name than HIV.

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Ground Level Gay Pioneers

Last month I had the privilege of being involved with a project run by City Books, who have been getting the town to read the 1950’s Brighton based novel: My Policeman, By Bethan Roberts. The story explores a time and place where many gay men lived in fear of arrest or persecution for loving someone of the same sex. Read more

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Count Down to World AIDS Day

A report from the Health Protection Agency (HPA) showed that last year, 3,000 gay and bisexual men received a positive HIV test, the highest since records first began twenty five years ago. This announcement can be seen in two ways; the ongoing campaign for sexually active people to be come forward and take an HIV test is proving a great success. On the other hand, the campaign urging people
to look after themselves and each other and practice safer sex is not getting through.

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Good Cop, Bad Cop (GScene post)

My first ever encounter with a policeman was when I was aged eight. The policeman had stopped me for riding my pushbike along a path that had clearly stated, “No Cycling”. The Policeman put the wind up me by saying next time he’d remove the inner tubes on my bike; a strange threat, but I always walked my bike down the path from that day on.

Some ten years later I encountered the type of police you saw on episodes of the Sweeny…. Read more

Posted on by Glenn Stevens in Brighton & Hove, Gscene, Human Rights Leave a comment

In the Name of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Pride.

Photo By Angus Stewart

With only two days to go before Brighton’s LGBTQ Pride hits the streets, with people either choosing to stay at home, pay to go to the organise event in the park, gather in one of the other parks, hit the beach or congregate in the ‘Gay Village’ up and down St James Street. Although the weather forecast is not looking that great at the moment, but hey you never know it might just break out into sunshine just for us on the day. Read more

Posted on by Glenn Stevens in Brighton & Hove, Gscene, Health, Human Rights, Leisure, LGBT Leave a comment

Brighton Gay Pride & Money

Pride & Money

For the last few years Brighton Pride seems to be remembered for all the wrong reasons; the most worrying being the huge debt that it has acuminated, preventing any of the LGBT charities receiving a single penny after the event.

As fond as my memories are of the first Brighton Pride, which consisted of us all meeting in the park and sharing a few cans of beer and a sandwich, I much preferred the later Gay Prides in Preston Park, along with all the entertainment that was provided. I’d join in with the other line-dancing bears, grrr, amble around the collective stalls that sold everything from strap-on dilldos to “no one knows I’m gay” t-shirts; then I’d sit myself down by the main stage. Okay, from midday till 2 pm, the acts would be people or groups I’d never heard of and most likely never hear of again; but from thereon in things would get fabulously queer. Read more

Posted on by Glenn Stevens in Brighton & Hove, Gscene, Health, HIV/AIDS, Human Rights, Leisure, LGBT, THT Leave a comment

Your Right to Happiness.

In his recent appearance on Channel Fours, 4thought, Human Rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell put it best when he said; “To deny Christians the right to discriminate against others is not persecution, its protection.”

His comment came after the well publicised views of a couple refused to give a bed and breakfast to a two men because they felt it went against their religion to allow unmarried couples to share a double bed. Even when it was revealed the couple   were in fact married (they had entered into a civil partnership) they were still refused. Of course this had nothing to do about marriage and everything to do with discrimination on the ground of sexuality.

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One Giant Leap or a Step Back in Time?

Normally, I’m not easily shocked, but over the weekend I read about a group of gay men who were thrown out of a Brighton cab by the driver, purely because of their sexuality. After years of campaigning that we should all be treated with equal respect I’m sure there won’t be many people from the LGBTQ scene who wouldn’t be applauded to hear that someone has refused to serve someone because of their sexuality. I remember being extremely upset when I saw exactly the same scene played in Quentin Crisp’s, The Naked Civil Servant.

For Quentin, that was way in the 1950’s, a time when it was completely illegal to be homosexual, where the police could arrest you for being a ‘sexual pervert’.  The gay bars were hidden down back alleys and the only way you could gain entry was by knowing the secret password.

By the time I flew the nest, aged eighteen, to the heady heights of Norwich, not a lot had changed. Although it was 1983, the one gay pub was tucked away above a straight pub. Meanwhile, the gay hot spot, the Caribbean Club was also discretely hidden away above a chip shop. Although the Caribbean only opened three nights a week, with a piano bar on a Sunday night, I thought it was heaven. Unlike the larger London segregated scene, everyone from all sexual persuasions could only meet in one place. On occasions someone would bring their straight friend or relative to the club too. The world didn’t fall apart; I for one was pleased to take my sister along and for her to meet all my mates and to see that her baby brother’s lifestyle was as fantastic as hers. Read more

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Portrayal of LGBT People in the 1970’s/80’s Media

Growing up in the 70’s, the portrayal of anyone who wasn’t straight was far and few between. Aged fourteen, I knew I was gay, and longed to see some kind of gay representation on the TV. On one occasion, over the Christmas period, My Nana nodded at thetelevision presenter on screen and said, “He always works at Christmas, because his gay.” Her reasoning behind the comment was that he had no ‘wife and kids’ to spend it with.

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Posted on by Glenn Stevens in Gscene, LGBT 1 Comment

Happy New Year…

New Year resolutions? I stopped making those a long time ago. Don’t get me wrong, I love all the other traditions that lead up to this time of year. From October the 1st, the shops start stocking up on Christmas cards and wrapping paper and my mate Martin sends me texts messages on how many days are left before the big day. Read more

Posted on by Glenn Stevens in Brighton & Hove, Gscene, Leisure Leave a comment