Banding Together to Find Our Safe Place

Submitted on Sep 19, 2016 by  Angel S.

After reading Tiommi Luckett's blog It's Time for Change I was not even a bit surprised. Yet this brings much concern to me about how all of us living with HIV, no matter our undetectable status, our being on meds, taking our health serious and yet still we are given the short straw sometimes without even noticing. We all too often give our decision making up to others. In order to be heard we must speak! Thank you for educating me a little as to how you deal with the multiple issues involved in Living HIV positive and being transgender. I believe too many choices are being made for us by people not even living with HIV. I am not transgender; I do however have similar experiences and run into some of the same problems.

I am concerned that there are not enough HIV positive people, whether Trans, MSM, Straight, Lesbian, speaking up. How many places at the table have we secured? How do you know how I am doing unless you ask me? I am the only one who knows my story. I been there. It was me who experienced the Stigma, violence, discrimination, the hate mail, social bullying. 

I agree we need to help each other be heard. To help our criminalization laws be better written, to be able to access health care and keep to our regimens. To know we are safe while accessing the services or care.

I find way too many people are still in the dark about the rise of HIV and lack of education, even in medical settings. I have been in situations which paralyzed me. 
I have been told by my primary "not to schedule any more appointments." She was clear to me she was not comfortable being around someone with HIV. Doctors are not super heroes and they need to be educated along with the rest of the world. Without knowledge we breed ignorance and continue to see a rise in HIV, missed appointments, isolation, hate, etc.

That being said I cannot imagine the barriers that needs to be removed for the transgender community. I am a heterosexual woman and face hate, ignorance and character assassination on what seems like a daily basis.

I am finding myself and in the process would like to find my place at the table so I can share my experience. I am, and each community of people no matter how we identify, are entitled to feel safe when starting treatment or even when going to be tested. If we are treated as “criminals" or "less than," how do you expect us to honestly be willing and able to get the care and support we have available to us and actually utilize these services.

I will use my voice for the common interest. Each time I speak up I am saying out loud, "This is not ok"; “That is a beginning”; "What can I do." In each situation we face we need to stand together. Trust each other to share our experience and voices and find "Our Place at The Table." Together we can make HIV just a part of who we are and not let it define us.

Submitted by tj30trust

Hi Angel. If no one has told you today, I will... you are freaking awesome!! It was such a pleasure to share space with you. You are so warm and inviting, and I only hope you felt the same. Forever reading your blogs until we see each other again. Keep speaking truth my sister!

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