This headline appeared in a paper with enormous circulation: “HIV positive man who was rejected on Grindr after bravely revealing his condition gives witty response that sweeps Facebook.”
Grindr is (they say) an app that allows men with same-sex attraction to find partners for transient and potentially harmful sex-like acts. There is immediate astonishment that this newspaper is encouraging these activities that comes before the realization that the man has a debilitating if not deadly disease, one which is passed on in just those activities the man is openly seeking. The summary:
* Tom Knight, 28, from London was using the gay dating app Grindr
* He bravely revealed he was HIV positive to a prospective date
* The potential date replied: ‘I’m not ready for that kind of complication’
* Tom replied: ‘Oh you still wear flared jeans… I’m not sure I’m ready for that kinda complication in my life’
What’s the worst sin the paper, and apparently a large chunk of Facebook, could identify? That the second man seeking immoral acts wears flared jeans? Or that this second man rejected unprotected sex-like activities with an HIV infected partner? The paper said (ellipsis original):
Tom [the man with HIV], who has 526 followers, later revealed that the [second] man in question had responded again saying: ‘Someone in your situation should be a bit more realistic.’
However with enough ammunition for another come back, he wrote: ‘Well the good news is my HIV can be treated. Your fashion sense however…’
Friends were quick to post their messages of support. One wrote: ‘Well done luvey! x’
Another commented: ‘Oh the life! Love your reply!!’
Tom told the MailOnline: ‘I wasn’t having a hissy fit because I got turned down for sex or anything of the sort.
The second man, the flared-jeans wearer, retained a notion that his health was important and was ridiculed for it. Tom said about his trolling, “It is what it is. I am proud of who I am and what I’ve done. I am by no means glamourising HIV or unprotected sex. I am simply living my life and doing my bit for a world I’m part of.”
He’s not glamourising it, he says, but he’s still seeking and engaging in unprotected sex-like activities. That’s “doing his bit” for the world.
This story was picked up on inter alia Buzzfeed. Their title? “This HIV-Positive Guy Gave The Perfect Slapdown To Someone Who Rejected Him On Grindr: ‘Oh you have HIV…I’m not ready for that kind of complication in my life,’ said the man on Grindr. BuzzFeed News spoke to Tom Knight about his awesome response.”
Perfect slapdown. Awesome response.
In the story, Tom said, “I saw a story the other day from the Evening Standard and he [an HIV-positive man] was saying, ‘HIV isn’t a problem, it’s the attitudes around it.'”
Throughout these articles, those with HIV are painted as harmless victims suffering unwarranted, unreasonable discrimination. Not only is their HIV not their fault, but if you refuse to engage in immoral acts with those who have HIV, it is you who is at fault. You are the one with the problem.
Let’s categorize. The number of folks who still hold, via natural law or tradition-based arguments, that same-sex acts are immoral, are no longer a majority, but they’re not terribly far from one either, despite media portraits. The media pounds its stretched skins to make it appear that more agree with them than actually do. That technique does win converts, so to speak.
Of the majority who hold, via desire-based or so-called libertarian arguments, that same-sex acts are moral, I think most still agree that purposely seeking same-sex acts with the risk of transmitting HIV is immoral. Such acts intentionally cause harm in others, which is the only libertarian no-no. Libertarians are weak on what defines “harm”, which is their weakness.
The media never tires of beating its drum, so it tries to show that even these libertarians are wrong, and that the true immorality is in rejecting the desires of the HIV positive. Judging by the wealth and nature of comments to the stories linked above, the media is winning its war.
HIV is just a disease, and what’s wrong with that, you bigot. If two consenting adults want to share it, what’s that to you? How dare you deny somebody sexual access? Have you no love? Where’s Anthony Kennedy when you need him?
I’ve said this before, but we are rapidly approaching the state where the only perversion left will be holding the traditional position. In the near future, you will not be allowed, in polite company, to say same-sex acts are (for instance) disgusting, dangerous, or immoral. To be socially rewarded, you will have to announce that same-sex acts are good, even appealing. The most moral will not be the man who claims predominant same-sex attraction, but the heteronormative man who says he (or his children) would be willing (or excited?) to “experiment.”
Now this is a verifiable predictive, dear reader. The only thing I’ve left out is a date. Good question, that. Ten years?
Bonus Pay attention to the bottom-right corner of a magazine featured in the Buzzfeed article. Who said having same-sex attraction had anything to do with sex?
Update Apropos to timing. “Frito-Lay announced Thursday that for a limited time Doritos will come in rainbow colors to show support for the LGBT community. Sales will go to It Gets Better, a non-profit group started by the infamous anti-Christian bully and bigot Dan Savage.”
Update One of the Buzzfeed comments caught my eye. It was by a man responding to a comment that the second man had a right not to be infected (all sic).
Hello there you are right to a point but do you know how many married men gets on grindr and How many younger guys that don’t care if they get HIV. I know for a fact because I had plenty asking me to give them HIV to them. And Tom didn’t ask for a date or a LTR or to get married.
Recall “bug hunting” or bugchasing, i.e. the intentional search for HIV infection. I had an email conversation with a long-time blog reader. It was painfully difficult for her to admit that this kind of behavior was immoral.