Look, if you’re a white gay man and your mid-section doesn’t resemble that of Michelangelo’s David, then you’ve probably had some confidence-crushing exchanges on Grindr. Those exchanges, however, probably seem relatively mild when stacked against the abhorrent abuse dished out to people of colour, those who are overweight, and those who display heteronormative-defined markers of femininity.
Unfortunately, HIV Foundation Queensland’s newest initiative adds another disenfranchised group to the ‘Likely To Receive A Disgusting Message’ list: those who are HIV-positive.
The Real Conversations of Grindr – a filmed social experiment at Brisbane Powerhouse’s annual queer arts and culture festival – sees folks from all walks of life reading out messages received by HIV-positive users of the app. They are… not great.
Some of the more aggressive remarks (warning: this is some really explicit content ahead) include:
“Blocked and go fuck yourself, because no one else will.”“You’re vile. That’s fucked up, you slag.”“What the fuck’s wrong with you? Why are you on here with your disease?”“You should be ashamed. You’re a walking disease.”
Yes, somehow in 2017 the majority of HIV-related stigma is being pedalled by the group most heavily impacted by it. What a time to be alive (?).
If you’re keen on having your Monday ruined / losing all faith in humanity, then watch the full vid:
“The Real Conversations of Grindr booth experience at this year’s queer arts and culture festival exposed members of the public to some of the everyday exchanges that take place online, prompting ongoing discourse around the effects these have on members of the community,” says HIV Foundation Queensland CEO Tony Majer.
“The result is a powerful and, at times, confronting exposé of HIV-related stigma, highlighting its prevalence in online forums where anonymity is made easy.”
It seems obvious that there are large gaps in education surrounding HIV, especially amongst the gay community. Saying, “Why are you on here with your disease?” is fucking ridiculous considering you can’t contract HIV from someone with an undetectable viral load – and if that lil’ slice of information is coming as a shock, you might want to get clued-in by heading HERE.
“In 2017, approximately 25,000 Australians are living with HIV; around 70 per cent of which are gay men and other men who have sex with men,” says Majer. It’s alarming that so much of the stigma is pedalled from within this very community.”
AIN’T IT JUST.
Oh, and the worst part about all of this bullshit? Perpetuating these insanely cruel and false ideas about HIV can be a deterrent from regular STI testing.
“Stigma is a barrier to people getting tested and seeking treatment and can potentially be more damaging than the virus itself,” says Majer.
C’mon, guys. Try not be an ass-wipe while hunting for dick.
Photo: HIV Foundation Queensland.