Saturday, September 15, 2007

Parents: What's that have to do with it? - edited

I'm just going to re-edit this post instead of posting something new on the topic.

Yesterday I talked with my mom. They aren't ready to tell anyone about me or talk to me yet about the letter. Which I understand. But I told them my aunt knew and my current theory is that having other family know really scared her and she was fearful zuzu was influencing me negatively (like I don't have a mind of my own) or she was feeling fear, because I am telling people and she is not ready for that.

In her fear and because she was upset I was telling people, she said, "Zuzu is HIV positive". She said this because of an article she read that was a misprint.

So yesterday besides getting a major cold, I also spent a good deal of time thinking about how people equate being gay with all sorts of things that are not true. For a while I thought maybe she actually thinks being a lesbian means I would get HIV. HIV does not equal being gay, and may not even have anything to do with sex. And then I thought about how people self protect by keeping secrets. I thought about all I'm learning in Family System Therapy class about how keeping secrets and how saying "Don't tell anyone" is a sign of an unhealthy family system.

For the rest of the mother gossip saga see zuzu's comment below.

And sortof related, this blog post: What's sex got to do with it? got me thinking this week about how sexuality is MUCH more than just sex. It's passion and art and creativity... (why do you think I paint so much?) All this intersects for me with my thoughts lately. Towards the end of it I really related to the quote so go read it.


Zuzu said...

Just for clarification (and it's okay if you say that they think Zuzu is HIV+, etc.) it's not so perfectly clear that they're associating HIV with sex - though it's entirely possible.

The first google search engine result under my real name (mis)identifies me as a woman living with HIV. I sent you a longer missive about how this came about and why I chose not to pursue having the article removed from the internet. The author presumed I was living with HIV not based on sex or sexuality (indeed in globally - and including in developed nations, heterosexual woman are more at risk for HIV than lesbian or bisexual woman, as a point of fact), but based on my knowledge and compassion of issues facing women living with HIV - perhaps that I helped to start a very successful organization serving the needs of HIV+ women and I have done activism, on the past, on behalf of women living with HIV. Some people think if you care, that you must be personally affected. I guess I do feel personally affected - I know many women living with HIV (nearly all of whom are straight women, by the way) and I care about their well being. Despite leaving my job, for example, I serve as an ad hoc member to the women's task force of my state's HIV planning counsel. this is just volunteer work that I do to support (and at the request of) women living with HIV.

I'm quite proud of the ways I've contributed to advocacy on behalf of women living with HIV. I wish I've been able to do more.

It's thoughtful that your mother may be concerned for my well-being, but you may assure her that I'm not HIV+, I'm quite well, and that she would do wise to consider the role of gossip in our lives. There are many things written about me on the internet that are not true. If I made a quest out of correcting them all I'd spend my life in futile pursuits. Being misrepresented as a women living with HIV is not where I would start to correct those false statements. When you are willing to truly take a stand to help people, people can say nasty things about you and spread awful rumors and gossip. I say, let's live in the solution not perpetuate that problem - but also, it's important that we're okay with who we are and strong enough with our sense of selves that even when people say things that are not true and/or hurtful, we can be self assured in knowing the truth of ourselves and not being afraid of it.

You are speaking the truth of yourself and I'm so proud of you.

Much love,

Liadan said...

Actually, my mom did a very similar thing-- one of the first people she "blamed" for "turning me gay" was my thoroughly heterosexual best friend. I still don't think she's going to believe me until I mention that I'm going to be her bridesmaid when she marries her boyfriend soon.

just me said...

Liadan - interesting! And it makes sense to me in retro-spect. Blame, anger, denial is one of the first stages of grief and parents totally have to grieve this stuff.

zuzu - thanks. I am quite proud of you and your contribution too! Love you!