Fear of the unknown

In todays society, most things are getting so much easier to aid us humans in going about our day to day lives. It is honestly truly amazing. We can now more than ever before be in near total control of, well pretty much anything. I can stroll in to a shop and tell someone who I’ve never met before, exactly how I would like my coffee this morning and pay for it with a single tap of my thumb on my phone. I can sit at my desk and from a precise list of filters make my photos look god damn amazing and have my favourite ones printed and sent directly to my home. I can walk into a store and now tell someone exactly what I want inside a computer..how many gigabytes storage it has, how big the screen should be, what colour I want it, what software to run, and then I can bring it home….and customise the hell out of it. Change the screensaver, rearrange my desktop, add apps, delete apps, tweak its sounds and even tell it when automatically turn off. Yeah that excites the geek in me. 

What worries me is that people have become accustomed to having so much of this ‘freedom’ that they think it can be applied to everything everywhere. So tell me. When has it been so acceptable to feel that we have the right to be able to try customise another human being into what we find acceptable to interact with? What do we feel like today then? Fit and masc please, 5’ 12” with a 29 inch waist, no Fems, yes chems, no to asians, no back hair, 26 to 31 only, neg NOT poz. Click and send. Now, just give me 5 minutes while I pop out to the shop and print out your shiny new ‘perfect’ guy. When did we stop accepting people for who they really are and start treating them differently because of this? What baffles me even more is why some feel they have the right to be so horrible to those who are plain and simply being open and honest. Surly someone who clearly and confidently states that they as a human being have been diagnosed with HIV deserves the same respect as anyone else right? Nope, it’s getting worse as instead some get disowned, ignored, blocked, verbally abused and drowned in stigma, all for just telling the truth. Seen by some as ‘dirty’ a word which I loathe, this bad stigma is an ongoing one and will only get worse unless we continue to educate.

I grew up in a small rural village in southern Ireland where gay meant happy and to play with someone was leaving your house at 8am to go rollerblading and climbing trees till it was dark. Now a little older, less naive and living in London, my views on gay life have developed over the years as I have self educated to understand more how others are seen and treated. The one which had always been a grey area for me though however was that of what it must be like to live with HIV. My status is negative, and growing up in my teens I thought you could get it just like a coldsore from a kiss.

Imagine just like that, one amazing quick sloppy saliva based tongue wrestling moment and bang thats it! That guy who you sat two rows and three chairs to the left behind just so you could look at all day could be the one you spend the rest of your life with but on the other hand be just that guy who gives you HIV.

Argh this is too much to process for the 16 year old me. Kids eh. I think it is safe to say that I feel that my learning will never and should never stop, and in return I hope to help educate others too. I can honestly say I never viewed HIV as a bad or negative thing. Unfortunately its not the same for everyone. For me, it was more the fear of the unknown, the what if’s and the who do I talk to’s. How silly is it really that we fear the unknown so much. Lets stop thinking about ourselves for once and look towards learning about others. You cannot judge another until you have heard their story first. Listen and learn. I mean, it only takes a quick sweeping glance around the sexual health clinic to see that in reality were all pretty much the same. Sure we might have a cold sore, the dreaded dose of chlamydia or yeah even HIV, but most importantly we are all human. The ones who make your coffee, print your pictures and build your computer. Is that not what matters most?