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

Transgender

It’s Christmas Time, There’s No Need To Be Afraid…(Scrap that, Be Afraid, be Very Afraid).

On the television ads, there are hordes of people who still manage not to bump into each other as they find just what they want for Christmas; and if not, there is always a handsome/beautiful/pretty/homely (delete as you wish) sales person who acts as if they were modelled on the film set of the Stepford Wives. As many of you will by this time will know, this is the world of the ad-(wo)man’s fantasy. In fact, a trip to the shops has been compared more like that to a 1990’s club nights at Trade,as you tried to push past all those sweaty bulked up men who were too butch (or stoned on steroids) to move out of your way as you squeeze along “Muscle Alley.”

The savvier shopper of course does all their shopping on-line, ticks the optional “Would you like your purchase gift wrapped” and has the presents delivered to their work, making their colleges, all the more envious as you cry out “Another present? I never knew I was so popular.” This may have the effect of getting you laid at the Christmas party, or totally ignored for being too smug. Of course the way out of the latter situation is once everybody is plied with booze, is to take them to the nearest gay club and pull out a bottle of poppers. As the advert (the one I made up in my head anyway) goes “You’re never alone with a bottle poppers.” There will be the cry of “Ohh, it smells of old socks” but once they get past the first hit and Y.M.C.A booms from the speakers, everyone, including that stuffy woman from accounts and that miserable bloke who no one knows quite what he does at the office, will be begging for a second, third, fourth and fifth sniff. Who knew that for £5.99 you could bond the whole staff group in one night, that a week in North Wales trying to create a raft from a thousand plastic straws and twenty-eight empty yogurt pots never could.

The next day you will wake up with a taste resembling dog deodorant (imagine) in your mouth and images crawling around the peripheral of your soggy, aching mind from the night before. Believe me, you want to bury all those images in that dark part of your head and throw away the key, because if you don’t you’ll end up by the nearest seashore, stripping off Reggie Perrin style and just keep on walking into the sea

With one nightmare out of the way, you then have Christmas Day to face, with Little Mix from  X-factor being at the number one spot, but at least that will stop Cliff Richard trying to compete. There are those who use the day to keep the world at bay, wrap up in loads of blankets, have a truck of chocolates, mince pies and er…more chocolate by their side, happy to have full control of the remote control and sit back and enjoy THEIR day as THEY see fit….they are the lucky ones. For others there is the trip to the in-laws. All year it has been ringed round the calendar, a promise sealed from the year before when you dared to have the special day together on your own, only to be pounded with guilt when your partner spent four hours on the phone persuading his mother not to overdose on Emva Cream.

So, you’ve packed enough outfits for every event, knowing full well there will never be an occasion in Ipswich to wear those hot pants and matching vest, but hey, it’s good to be an optimist. Once settled in, you may be under the illusion that your help in the kitchen is needed; but only the brave would offer to cook the Christmas dinner for the in-laws. For many mother’s this is the one time they can remind their offspring that no one cooks like them, and only the insane would try to prove otherwise. keep reminding yourself, you may think a sprinkling of edible glitter on the roast potatoes and sprouts, would be the best thing ever, but the reality is this could well be the proverbial straw that sends your mother in law marching towards WW3. In most cases it’s always best to offer to either peel the mountain of spuds, sprouts and carrots needed the night before or better still, say you’ll do the washing up, particularly if all you need do is load the dishwasher.

Parlour games can be fun, but stay away from anything competitive, particularly if that ‘must-win-at-all-cost’ gene is hardwired into you. No one likes to see you punching the air when you have beaten your partner’s eight year old niece at Tennis Wii, and no one will forgive you for frying grandad’s pacemaker just because you thought wiring Operation to the mains would make things a little more interesting.

In the words of Aretha Franklin, r.e.s.p.e.c.t is the name of the game, so when it comes to bed time, leave the full on kinky sex for when you get back home, no one wants to have to take a hockey stick to the sheets to get them in the washing machine.

And so you come to the end of the holiday, and hopefully you’ll look back on it more like the last few pages of a Charles Dickens novel and less like the middle bit of a Christmas episode of East Enders. Either way, congratulate yourself for surviving this once a year celebration, safe in the knowledge that you have the next twelve months before you have to do it all againMerry Christmas Everyone!

Posted on by Glenn Stevens in Zhoosh 1 Comment

Authors Asked to Erase Gay Character.

Stop discrimination

You’re a writer, you have worked hard on developing a plot for your young adult, fictional novel. You have created a character you love and you know will reach out to your readership. The excitement builds as you get a call from a literary agent who says they love the book but… for the manuscript to be more palatable to the publishers they want you to write out the black character and make him white. The outcry would be huge, with such an idea hitting the six O clock news. Yet it was only twenty years ago when children’s author Malorie Blackman was asked to do just that.

 So when she was told that last week, two American writers, Sherwood Smith and Rachel Manija Brown, were told by a literary agent that their young adult, post-apocalyptic novel, Stranger, was of interest, but only on the proviso that they re-wrote the gay characters as a heterosexual couple; her adamant response was, “Are we still not over this nonsense? Read more

Posted on by Glenn Stevens in Fiction & Books, Human Rights, LGBT, Literature, Zhoosh 11 Comments

Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing.

All of us from time to time will have days when we just can’t find a smile to put on our face. Having a blue day, feeling under the weather, (particularly if that weather is stormy and grey) a bit depressing. Thankfully the majority of the time we find that by the end of the day we have found some way in resolving such matters and are able to wake up the next day with that smile firmly in place.

However, for some people getting up in the morning can become a daily challenge as they feel they can not face the world and in turn find themselves trapped. Such feeling may stem from, problems at work, money worries, relationship difficulties, coming to terms with your sexuality, particularly for those who are LGBT and living in a household that have expressed a dislike for all things “queer”. For others it may be receiving an HIV diagnoses and all the mixed emotions that can be potentially thrown up. Read more

Posted on by Glenn Stevens in Brighton & Hove, Health, HIV/AIDS, Human Rights, LGBT, THT, Zhoosh 5 Comments

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

Jits Patel, Admin/Reception. THT Brighton

 Admin/Reception staff.

Originally from Lancashire, Jits moved with his partner to London and then to Brighton in 1998. Soon after moving down, Jits began volunteering for Sussex Aids Centre (S.A.C.) in Cavendish Street.

“Initially I was part of the health promotional team, I also trained as a community support worker, visiting clients in their own home, helping them with meals, emotional support etc. Jits Partel

When the centre merged with THT (Brighton) in the late 90’s, Jits took on the role of full time administrator, while continuing to work as part of the outreach support team.  Read more

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

Tim Procter, Welfare Rights Advisor. Terrence Higgins Trust (Brighton)

Welfare Rights Advisor, Terrence Higgins Trust, Brighton

Tim first became involved in welfare rights for people with HIV back in 1985. He volunteered for THT (London), providing voluntary support and advice once a fortnight to people who where struck down with HIV; a condition that at the time was deeply misunderstood.

You have to remember in the early 1980’s, if you disclosed your HIV positive status to a member of the benefit agency, it was quite likely that you would be evicted from the building; such was the fear of the condition at the time. Tim Procter.

Tim continued to volunteer for THT, while working full time as an interior designer. By 1988, the increasing demand for welfare advice, allowed Tim to take on the role as a fulltime, paid worker. Read more

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

Brighton Pride

Is Pride still relevant?

The first time I heard there was such a thing as ‘Gay Pride’ was way back in 1984, when I lived in Norwich. The only gay bar was hidden away above a straight pub, and the gay club, The Caribbean, was discretely situated round the back alley, above a chip shop and only open three nights a week.

This was when it was illegal to have gay sex unless you were over 21 and then there was a new disease that was affecting the gay community, but no one really wanted to talk about that. So the idea that there was a Gay Pride March through London, with a mass gathering in the park, sounded like paradise.

Read more

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

Brighton Ourstory: The lavender Lounge.

Brighton Ourstory: The lavender Lounge. How bona it was to take a troll into town last Friday night to the Lavender Lounge and varda all those fantabulosa omi-polones and natter to a host of gorgeous dykes, glammed up trannies and bona Bi’s… Read more

Posted on by Glenn Stevens in Brighton & Hove, Human Rights, Leisure, LGBT, QueenSpark Books, Zhoosh Leave a comment