Fuck World AIDS Day.

Yesterday was World AIDS Day.

I could live without it. A day when you suspend your disregard for bodies whose presence you cannot tolerate every other day of the year and grant them a furlough, for one day, to come out and be seen. You look and cry about how awful it is. You may even donate a few dollars to The Cause or like it on Facebook. Your tears, which will dry up by tomorrow, prove that you really care. (But do you even cry anymore? Tom Hanks did Philadelphia. Maybe you finished all your crying then.)

There is a weird paradox that structures the lives of many positive people: a requirement, sometimes under penalty of law, to disclose, and a simultaneous plea, written on our bodies by the gaze of those who choose to look, that we disappear. I am dubious about the value of “coming out.” (Maybe, when the failure to disclose becomes a crime—as it is in most jurisdictions on the planet—refusing to be seen is an act of resistance.) And the place to which the path out of the closet leads—victimization—does not appeal to me.

So please do not mistake this disclosure as a request for pity. I don’t want your pity. I also don’t have anything particularly valuable to say to you. And I do not pretend to speak for all others who share this condition: especially not those who, unlike me, are forced to face it alone or, worse, because of who they are or where they live, cannot afford the pills that keep me alive.

But my virus, when I stopped fighting it and stopped crying about it and stopped asking it to just go away already, introduced me to a whole new world of pleasures and connections and ways of thinking and feeling and being that made it not so much a thing of shame—not something to cry about—but a gift.

I’m not romanticizing it. I will die earlier than I would have if we had not met. And dying haunts me like the worst kind of ghosts, those menacing ones who taunt you in your sleep and show up smiling when you just want to be left alone.

So this is, I guess, an entirely selfish disclosure. I’m not doing it for you. I’m doing it for me. If it makes you feel or think something, I won’t be disappointed. But that’s not why I’m doing it. This part of me is restless—it’s asking to be seen (but not, I’ll warn you, in the way that you want to see it)—and so, I think, it’s time that you meet my virus.

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On July 11, 2012, I sat in the office of a public health worker, whose job it was to collect and screen the blood and saliva of “at-risk” populations and feed the results into a stream of data that follows a circuitous path to the CDC’s National HIV Surveillance Program. He swiped a cotton swab along my gums, placed it in a test tube on a table, and set the dial of a small analog kitchen timer to fifteen minutes. One red line quickly appeared on the swab—a sign, the public health worker informed me, that the test was working properly. “It’s two lines we don’t want,” he said and resumed typing at the computer on his desk. I could not see the computer’s monitor, but I imagined it displayed a spreadsheet full of rows and columns of numbers, traces of bare life, otherwise devoid of value, extracted and transformed into knowledge about populations and subpopulations, behavioral patterns, modes of transmission, and vectors of risk and vulnerability.

I sat across from the table on which my data rested and stared at the wood paneled walls, which I dated to around 1979, the year of my birth. A poster on the wall displayed a muscular, attractive man—at once stern and seductive—standing underneath the commandment: “Know your status!” I pictured a future, fifteen minutes from that moment, when I would congratulate myself for this act in the service of gay citizenship and return to the world with papers certifying my good health. After about five minutes—and well ahead of schedule—a second red line appeared just below the first.

The timer clicked. I looked down at my hands. I looked around at the small, windowless office I had meticulously observed. I recalled that it was a hot summer morning in Miami Beach, Florida. I knew who and what I was, where and when, but I felt a stranger to these things. It was like I had fallen into a vortex spinning with such force that I could not make out the center (because the spinning had induced a state of nausea and disorientation but also because I was, in fact, moving away from the center). When I heard, years earlier, that in the deepest stage of sleep the body enters a state of paralysis, I was able to make sense of an experience that had haunted my sleep: the terrifying inability to speak or move in a dream. Finally—and with the same effort that I had, in so many dreams, struggled to flee a source of danger or pursue an object of desire—I looked at the public health worker and spoke.

“This line. I don’t understand. Is it—a mistake? There’s still time.”

It was less a question than a plea; I knew, even as I said it, that the accuracy of the test did not depend on the completion of the timer’s movement. The public health worker swiveled around in his chair and glanced at the swab. In much the same way, I thought, that he might have glanced at his watch and offered the time of day, he said, “Oh, you’re positive.” And I wept.

The public health worker looked at me, his expression softened, and he placed a hand on my shoulder. (We were two subjects produced by a law that had placed us then and there and ordered in precise detail the manner of our encounter, but I would remember that moment as exceptional.) The public health worker left and returned with a doctor, who reassured me that HIV was no longer a death sentence and “positive people can live for twenty—sometimes thirty—years!” As I calculated my remaining years, the doctor spoke of CD4 counts and percentages and viral loads, protease inhibitors, nucleosides and non-nucleosides, resistance, compliance, undetectability and other concepts, which he illustrated on a sheet of paper with circles and lines and numbers and words. The doctor grew silent and looked up from his notepad. I stared at him blankly. The doctor’s mouth formed into something that might have been a smile or a frown, and he escorted me to a laboratory, where two nurses drew vials of blood from my arm. They said nothing beyond what they had to say, but they looked at me in a way that no one had ever looked at me; and in that look, I recognized what I had become.

I left the clinic, which had begun to feel like purgatory, with a sense of relief; but relief gave way to dread with the realization, as I walked home to a place that no longer felt like home, that I was leaving one purgatory for another. I collapsed onto the bed and covered my head with a pillow—less for dramatic effect than out of respect for the neighbors—and alternately screamed and wept until I could not scream or weep anymore.

At some point in the days and weeks that followed, as the shock began to fade into what a therapist might call “acceptance,” I crawled out of bed and back into the world. I wandered around peering into people and things and demanding answers to questions I could not articulate. There was nothing magical about it. There were no flashes of light. But if HIV, as the doctor informed me, is no longer a death sentence, it was—for me, anyway—a kind of social death sentence. My sense of self, my relationship to time and space and my assumptions about how I fit (or did not fit) into the world were shattered. At a pace that did not seem befitting of the sudden restructuring of my world, and sustained by the love of people who insisted on reminding me of my worth, I chose to survive.

Survival, among radical activists and academics, tends to connote a bare minimum, the black sheep of human agency, a foil against which we prop up big, properly courageous acts, the stuff that really matters (because, we tell ourselves, it instigates real change). My decision to “survive” was motivated less by faith in lofty ideals than fear of the alternatives, but if I had experienced a kind of social death, to survive would require, first, coming to terms with my body, reconstituted as a mortal—and moral—threat to the social body, and then building, on the wreckage of a life that was quickly receding into the past, a new life, new ways of imagining the future, new ways of moving through space, and new ways of being with others.

I did not realize it, but as I was learning how to live with HIV, HIV was teaching me how to love.

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And so I have exposed myself, and I have done so as a lover might, not to enlighten or provoke, but to entice; and what drives me is not so much the production of knowledge—through clever storytelling or penetrating analysis—but love. “The loving self,” Zygmunt Bauman writes, “expands through giving itself away to the loved object.” I give myself away to you now, becoming an object, in the expectation, for which I have no guarantee, that I will be taken in—but not consumed—by you, and that you will, as a result, be changed, “even if only slightly.”

The heart does not operate by reporting its own judgment to itself (if it is a judgment). It does not say ‘I love,’ which is the reflection or the speculation of an ego (and which engages love neither more nor less than the cogito), but it says ‘I love you,’ a declaration where ‘I’ is posed only by being exposed to ‘you.’

—Jean-Luc Nancy, The Inoperative Community

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An HIV Positive Body

This is a risky declaration (as much a risk for me as it is for you): you may reject my overture, and “something of I is definitively lost or dissociated in its act of loving.” But the truth is “I” was already lost and dissociated. My relationship with HIV developed into a kind of love story because, as it unfolded, I would be “touched, broken into . . . opened by this slice.”

On this day and every other day, I say: Forget World AIDS Day. (Hallmark and Hollywood have it covered.) Expose yourself. Go fuck an HIV positive body. But be careful. We know how to fuck like no one else. And you might just fall in love.

Fuck white people.

White people are pissed.

Their rage is without reason, as the rage of colonizers usually is. And if this time-space differs in some ways from those we typically recognize as “colonial,” the differences are minor: the underlying structure is the same. At Standing Rock, the US government renews its commitment to the extermination of Native Americans. Every five minutes, another police officer goes off the rails and murders another black man who has not yet been relegated to the slow death of mass incarceration. In a bold expression of participatory democracy, millions of angry white people elected as President a fucking Nazi whose campaign promises included building a wall to keep out Mexicans and creating a national registry to keep tabs on Muslims.

But is anyone surprised? In The Colonizer and the Colonized, Albert Memmi described what we are seeing. The colonizer, Memmi writes,

is fed up with his subject, who tortures his conscience and his life. He tries to dismiss him from his mind, to imagine the colony without the colonized. . . . But the colonialist realizes that without the colonized the colony would have no meaning. This intolerable contradiction fills him with a rage, a loathing, always ready to be loosed on the colonized, the innocent yet inevitable reason for his drama; and not only if he is a policeman or a government specialist, whose professional habits find unhoped-for possibilities of expression in the colony. I have been horrified to see peaceful public servants and teachers (who are otherwise courteous and well-spoken) suddenly change into vociferous monsters for trifling reasons.

White people are losing their shit. Case in point:

Fuck me.

Fuck Donald Trump. Fuck Hillary Clinton. Fuck Bernie Sanders. Fuck the DNC and the RNC and the electoral college and this sham of a “democracy” we worship like the sweet baby Jesus pooped it out after sucking on the teat of the Virgin Mary. Fuck neoliberalism. Fuck capitalism. Fuck Amazon and Whole Foods and Starbucks. (Fuck Apple, too.) And fuck Grindr and Tinder and the commodification of everything right down to who, what, where, when and how we fuck. Fuck liberalism, progressivism, and all these sad excuses for “leftist” politics that have destroyed our capacity to even imagine anything other than what is. Fuck Garrison Keillor and the smugness of bougie straight white people who change their profile photos when a black person or a queer is murdered and shake their heads disapprovingly when a black person or a queer gets pissed off enough to say “Fuck you.” Fuck the police and the army and fuck the twisted transmutations of war into a video game and killers into heroes. Fuck the prison—industrial complex and the corporate university. Fuck Ellen. Fuck hipsters and craft beer. Fuck those fascist privacy walls between urinals in public bathrooms. Fuck the fact that we who remember how to laugh are no longer allowed to—because it’s more fashionable now to be serious. Fuck me. We’re fucked.

Fuck Thanksgiving.

On this day, as many of us gather with friends and family to eat and drink ourselves sick—before trampling over each other tomorrow in a mad race for Black Friday deals—police in North Dakota are firing grenades, tear gas, rubber bullets, and water cannons at the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their supporters.

Settler colonies like the United States, as Patrick Wolfe famously wrote, are “premised on the elimination of native societies. . . . The colonizers come to stay—invasion is a structure not an event.” What that means is: the elimination of Native Americans did not just happen; it is always happening. Liberals like to look back on the genocide of Native Americans and cry. It is no longer just acceptable—it’s downright sexy—to acknowledge that this country was founded on violence and murder and that our national myths like Thanksgiving are myths, which obscure the truth of American history.

But there’s another—maybe even more dangerous—myth that this Thanksgiving Day is asking us to confront: the violent elimination of Native Americans is not a thing of the past. To give thanks that “it’s over” and that we are so much better than them—those racist religious fanatics from the distant past who did those awful things about which we can do no more than cry—is to ignore the fact that it is not over and “we” are no less complicit than the Pilgrims in the ongoing effort to eliminate Native Americans.

In 2014, a subsidiary of the Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners began constructing the Dakota Access Pipeline, an underground crude oil pipeline that will extend more than 1100 miles from North Dakota to Illinois. Initial plans for the first leg of the pipeline proposed a route across the Missouri River 10 miles north of the city of Bismarck, North Dakota. But the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers refused to approve that route because they “worried that an oil spill there would have wrecked the state capital’s drinking water. So they moved the crossing to half a mile from the [Standing Rock] reservation, across land that was taken from the tribe in 1958, without their consent.”

The Corps granted final permits in July, and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe filed a lawsuit in federal court. (Earthjustice, which represents the tribe, has a detailed timeline of the legal battles here.) After the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals denied the tribe’s request for an injunction—and under increasing outrage over the brutal treatment by Energy Transfer Partners and their police allies of protesters at the site—the Department of Justice, Department of the Army, and Department of the Interior released a joint statement politely “request[ing] that the pipeline company voluntarily pause all construction activity within 20 miles east or west of Lake Oahe.” On November 14, the Army “determined that additional discussion and analysis are warranted” before it makes “a final decision on whether to grant an easement” for construction of the pipeline.

But the real work had already begun—and it continues—outside the courtroom. In April, LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Historic Preservation Officer, established the Sacred Stone Camp, which has become the focal point in a fight for “cultural preservation and spiritual resistance to the Dakota Access pipeline.” Thousands of Native Americans, including members of over 100 tribes, and supporters have gathered at the camp. Over the weekend, the Morton County Sheriff’s Department launched an all-out attack against the camp, and it is now conducting a very Thanksgiving public relations campaign:

Eyewitnesses describe the police lobbing grenades from armored trucks at protesters and “laughing. One of them said something like ‘That was a beautiful shot.'” At least one activist, who was hit with a grenade, may lose her arm. Police responded by posting images of rocks and charred propane tanks on their Facebook page and suggesting that protesters were “using improvised explosive devices.”

Linda Black Elk of the Standing Rock Tribe described the scene as police unloaded water cannons on protesters: “What it was like was people walking through the dark of a winter North Dakota night, some of them so cold, and sprayed with water for so long, that their clothes were frozen to their body and crunching as they walked.” The sheriff’s department responded by reassuring the public that they “don’t have water cannons . . . This is just a fire hose. It was sprayed more as a mist.”

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But this is a structure not an event: “we must remember,” LaDonna Brave Bull Allard writes, “we are part of a larger story.” On one level, it’s a story about water: a struggle over a space “at the confluence of . . . two rivers . . . a place held sacred not only by the Sioux Nations, but also the Arikara, the Mandan, and the Northern Cheyenne,” a place where a whirlpool used to “[create] large spherical, sandstone formations” (until, in the 1950s, the Army Corps of Engineers dredged the mouth of the river and constructed a dam), a place where, a few miles away, in 1863, thousands of Native Americans who had gathered to celebrate, “meet relatives, arrange marriages, and make plans for winter camps” were attacked in a campaign led by Brigadier General Alfred Sully, as “part of a broader U.S. military expedition to promote white settlement . . . and protect access to the Montana gold fields via the Missouri River.”

But on another level, it’s a story about life (and death) and who gets to live (and who is left to die): “We are the river, and the river is us,” Allard writes. In the summer, a group of Standing Rock youth created an organization called ReZpect our Water and organized a cross-country spiritual run, at the conclusion of which they presented a petition opposing the pipeline to the Army Corps of Engineers. Chanting “Mni Wiconi, Water is Life,” the protesters at Standing Rock call themselves “water protectors.” And in this fight, the state has obscenely, perversely—but not, in the end, altogether surprisingly—turned that which is most sacred and vital into a weapon. “They used our medicine as a weapon. . . . They used it to inflict pain and suffering on the water protectors.”

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Now, as white America slowly begins to pay attention—and confront, again, the stubborn refusal of the native to disappear—lawmakers are feverishly calling on President Obama to “pave the way for completion” of the Dakota Access Pipeline, because the natives “are taxing law enforcement and are costing millions of dollars.”

History, they say, repeats itself. On this Thanksgiving Day, let us pray—if we pray—that they’re wrong. Or better yet: let us say Fuck Thanksgiving and, if packing up this holiday weekend and heading out to North Dakota to stand and fight for life is too much, why not divert a few dollars from the Black Friday fund to something that actually matters?

The Sacred Stone Legal Defense Fund

Sacred Stone GoFundMe account

Sacred Stone Supplies Needed

Stand with Standing Rock

ReZpect Our Water

Fuck Danny Pintauro.

World-Aids-Day

Keith Haring, Ignorance = Fear, Silence = Death (1989)

In 1989, at the height of the AIDS epidemic, Keith Haring’s iconic painting summed up the anger of a generation of gay men decimated by the disease. Trembling figures marked for extermination—not unlike, they believed, an earlier generation of gay men had been marked for extermination by the Nazis—they faced two primary enemies: the fear of the US government (and Americans generally)—a fear that was based on ignorance—for AIDS and people who were living with it, and the silence of those who were suffering because of the refusal of a society paralyzed by fear to do anything about it. The only answer, Haring and so many of his peers believed, was for gay men to “act up” and “fight AIDS,” and the most effective way to do that, they believed, was to speak up and do it loudly, so loud that no one—not even Ronald Reagan, who famously refused for years to say the word “AIDS” as the epidemic was raging—would be able to ignore what was happening.

So much has changed in 25 years, and so much has stayed the same. HIV, we are told, is no longer a death sentence. (And it is true that the widespread availability of antiretroviral medications in the US has transformed the virus into a long-term, manageable condition—except, of course, for the hundreds of thousands of poor people, people of color, trans people, immigrants and others who, in a society that still considers healthcare more a luxury than a right, find these life-saving medications beyond their reach, like most of the 30-something million positive people who live outside North America and Europe.) Ignorance, fear, and silence were the key elements in a formula that added up to death; and if there is less death, so too, there is less ignorance and there is less fear (gone are the days of small-town hysteria over people with AIDS using public swimming pools), and if we are less ignorant about HIV—and less fearful of people with HIV—the costs of breaking the silence for HIV positive people are much less severe. There may even be some positive value, for some positive people, in speaking about HIV: Greg Louganis is more intelligible—and more acceptable—to us than Rock Hudson.

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But given the choice between Rock Hudson and Greg Louganis, I would choose Rock Hudson. For Keith Haring and his generation, the dangers of ignorance and silence were deadly, but the equation has shifted. It is not so much, anymore, that we “know” too little about HIV and HIV positive people: we know too much. And if silence was the rule, some HIV positive people are not just permitted but invited to speak, and if they do it right—softlytelling us what we already knew, and assuring us that we have nothing to fear—these docile bodies of the condemned may return to the land of the living.

Enter, now, Danny Pintauro. If you are lucky enough to live under some rock that shields you from contemporary social discourse in America and its endless stream of spectacles (and commentaries from “experts” whose qualifications tend not to extend beyond having an opinion), then you might not know who Danny Pintauro is, why he is so dangerous, and why you should care about what he has to say and what people are saying about him.

As the very blonde and wholesome son of Angela Bower in the 1980s sitcom, Who’s the Boss?—which would have been entirely intolerable but for Angela’s highly sexualized, somewhat queer mother, Mona—Danny Pintauro held the gaze of pop culture for a minute before joining that tragic legion of people we used to know: He became a Former Child Star.

Eventually, after a stint as a Tupperware salesman, Danny landed a job managing a PF Chang’s in Las Vegas. Having grown bored, I presume, with that decidedly unglamorous job, Danny Pintauro did perhaps the smartest thing a former child star turned restaurant manager could do: He went and told Oprah he’s a former meth addict and HIV positive.

Even before many of us had managed to figure out who the hell Danny Pintauro is, he had anointed himself the new “celebrity” spokesperson for positive people and inaugurated his “Beacon of Light” speaking tour, which has included stops at Us Weekly, People, and an appearance on that bastion of cultural criticism, The View, where he was slut-shamed and interrogated by two fellow former child stars, Raven Symone and Candace Cameron Bure. Among other jaw-droppingly stupid questions, Candace and Raven asked whether Danny takes responsibility for his bad behavior (for which he is apparently now being punished with HIV) and whether he practices safe sex with his partner. Apparently finding nothing problematic with the assumption that The View‘s hosts, its viewers, and everyone else on the goddamn planet have a right to know the details of his sexual practices, Danny fumbled through a mostly incomprehensible answer—which seemed to indicate that the two do not always use condoms—and concluded with a totally incomprehensible effort to explain what “undetectable” means in terms of risk. (Danny might, as smarter people like Laverne Cox have done when confronted with the stupidity of cisgendered, heterosexual “journalists,” just refused to answer the question.) Finally, in one of the most bizarre moments of this thoroughly bizarre exchange, Danny was dismissed by Bure with a “statement,” written by whom, we were not told, but delivered in the most authoritative voice one might expect from a former star of Full House. And in just a few condescending words, Bure’s mysterious statement rejected what everyone who knows anything about HIV transmission today knows—that “undetectable” means non-transmissible—and threw poor Danny back on the cross by suggesting that, even if he has repented for his promiscuous past, he continues to endanger the life of his HIV negative husband.

To its credit, the internet quickly responded with outrage at Danny’s treatment on The View, but criticism for Danny—the “face of HIV,” as Candace Cameron Bure put it—has been less forthcoming. (Two notable exceptions include the always fearless Mark King, who has expressed some doubts about the believability of Danny’s story, and the Huffington Post’s Ken Schneck, who questions Danny’s capacity to be a “spokesperson” for HIV-positive people but seems resigned to the fact that, while “[h]e isn’t the spokesperson we chose … he’s the one we currently have. And he needs to do better.”) Not content with his trainwreck appearance on The View, Danny has subsequently mounted a campaign to appeal to and comfort two ostensibly very different camps (neither of whom really gives a shit about the lives of HIV positive people): straight people who find anal sex between men distasteful and hateful gay men like Michael Weinstein and Larry Kramer, who seem to find sex in general distasteful and, more dangerously, who have vilified as sluts and drug addicts men who use PreP (HIV meds that have been shown as effective as condoms at preventing transmission to negative people). Danny, though—out of respect for the irrational fears and insecurities of homophobic straight people and judgmental old gay white men—has declared that, in fact, he was victimized by an “irresponsible” HIV-positive meth addict who shot a load in his mouth, thereby infecting poor Danny with HIV. And to the criticism that Danny is, well, full of shit—because HIV is very rarely, if ever, transmitted through oral sex—Danny has reiterated his victim status (and his normative—which is to say, non-promiscuous, non-anal—sexuality). To none other than the illustrious Perez Hilton Danny explained, “I was so upset when I figured out that it was through oral [because getting it through a 12-hour gangbang would not be at all upsetting, we presume]. I had been SO good!”

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Sometimes, I am told, snowflakes fall in hell, so maybe Danny—like the role he played on TV when he briefly mattered to a few people—really was a “good” boy and just made that one innocent mistake that would destroy his life (and, years later, bring him back to life). I wish, however, that Danny would just go back to his managerial position at PF Chang’s. He is much better suited to that position because the only thing he has effectively done in his new position as a “beacon of light” is reiterate a profoundly heteronormative discourse of HIV, which suggests that some positive people are more innocent and more worthy of being treated like humans than others (straight men and boys like Arthur Ashe and Ryan White, who get HIV through blood transmissions, or even straight men like Magic Johnson, who get it from fucking women, and now also, apparently, “good” gay men who use condoms religiously but, every now and then, when they are lured into the scary world of drug abuse by dangerous, irresponsible HIV-positive gay predators, taste a bit of toxic cum). These positive bodies are worthy of compassion, even respect. But the others—promiscuous gays who like taking it up the butt, sex workers, drug addicts, black men on the downlow—in Danny’s worldview are not righteous victims but predators, dangerous, irresponsible people who put themselves and others at risk and therefore, in the end, deserve what they get (unlike poor Danny).

Danny is, indeed, not the spokesperson positive people chose. But he is also not the spokesperson we need. We do not need another celebrity spokesperson who lacks the courage to tell the truth about our lives without apologizing for crimes we did not commit. We do not need a spokesperson whose strategy for being a “role model” and “fighting stigma” is to demand that we all just repent and hope that the world will, if not forgive us, at least feel sorry for us, for what we have done and who we have become. We do not need Danny Pintauro.

When I said I would take Rock Hudson over Greg Louganis (or Danny Pintauro, both facsimiles of the same original), it was not pure hyperbole. Silence would, I think, be less dangerous than the blind regurgitation of a discourse that provides support to a status hierarchy of positive bodies: those we should let live and those we should leave to die. What Danny Pintauro and Greg Louganis and Michael Weinstein and Larry Kramer and AHF and HIV Equal and pretty much every other fucking person and/or institution with the power to say something about HIV have done is ensure that, for those of us who cannot—or choose not to—accept our diagnosis as punishment for some prior sin, repent, and promise never to be bad or do bad things again, HIV is a death sentence. It is a death not of the body but of the person, a banishment not so much from the organic as from the social. We become the walking dead, human bodies stripped of humanity, something like Agamben’s “werewolf, who is precisely neither man nor beast, and who dwells paradoxically within both while belonging to neither.”

There might be a kind of freedom in this space on the margins, where some things can be seen more clearly than they can be seen from the center. There might even be, in this space between the human and the non-human, the freedom to imagine another reality, in which an army of honest, fearless, unapologetic positive people offer a big righteous fuck you to bourgeois heteronormative (and homonormative) sexual morality, refuse the narrative of victimization (which must, after all, distinguish between victims and villains), and insist that all our bodies—whatever distasteful practices we engage in—are equally valuable and equally human.

So, then, dear Danny, I say this to you: Milk it. Call Andy fucking Cohen and try to get a reality show. But you are not a beacon of light. You are not a spokesperson. And if it is too much for you to imagine some other life for yourself, then go back to the one you know, in which case I will have the Shaking Beef.