Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Chronicles Of An Angry Black Queer: Why I Stopped Fucking HIV Negative Men

The Chronicles Of An Angry Black Queer


It should be noted that I am writing from my perspective, which is that of a Black, masculine presenting homosexual man who happens to be an Atheist. I will be writing about my thoughts and experiences as an activist, human and life in general. These posts will not be academic or even properly written in some of your opinions.

Entry #5: Why I Stopped Fucking HIV Negative Men



"Black gay men die at a higher rate from in transition from HIV to AIDS and related opportunistic infections than White men where rates of HIV infection are the highest."

I came to the acceptance that I DO NOT date guys that are HIV NEGATIVE. While there were a couple of great experiences, I would rather not be that person that they supposedly "worry" about. I am healthy, most us living with HIV are healthier than the average person. It just baffles me that folk are arrogant enuf to think that they should be allowed a chance AFTER initially saying no "we can't because you have #HIV." Now they are looking like, "because #PrEP." Fuck that bullshit all you wanted was the lay up and I am not the bitch that will give it to you. I am not being mean, I am being real and I am not sorry about what I just said. It took me time to heal and to be able to be as open as I am about being poz and I refuse to let you stigmatize me while wanting a "risky" fuck down.

 I AM UNAPOLOGETIC ABOUT WHO I AM...

For a long time I hid my HIV status unless I knew that I will be sexually active and had always felt that it was no one's business. I walked right out of that closet, but I did not come out for me alone. I came for everyone who has been ostracized and made to feel nasty. We are not fucking nasty! We are not contagious! I realized I hid this part of myself for YOUR comfort, for the random sessions of pseudo-intimacy or even for the goal of true romance. I can no longer sacrifice my sanity and unapologetic nature for the sake of being able to date, for sex or even true intimacy. I am fucking tired of explaining how this works to you after disclosing my status. I'm tired of telling you how good and well I take care of myself in order to keep my health in check so YOU can feel comfortable about fucking when you outchea doing all kinds of shit without "proper protection."

I NEED PROTECTION FROM YOU!!!

You are more dangerous than I am to you, sitting there judging me in your tiny little minds, deeming me to be promiscuous and hoeish. You are more dangerous to me because you can still fuck with me and turn around out of spite and tell someone I didn't disclose my status to you. I could get put in jail in 33 states fucking with people like you. MANY of you are good people so if the shoe don't fit, don't put that fucker on. I see how dangerous you are when I read posts on social media and hear conversations that are centered on the subject of HIV, the stigma you all perpetuate is so fucking blatant. When you say shit like, "they are out sleeping with everyone and not disclosing their status" in such a general way, it stigmatizes us all. At this point I would rather not tell you the role of seroconversion and the low rates of transmission after diagnoses, google it bitch. I see this recurring theme of guys not wanting to know, "I just want to fuck, I don't want to know your status."


"why do you even tell people?"



"You are too out about being POZ..."

All this so that they can be comfortable and justify liking to fuck raw and random. In my opinion you should be ok with how you like to fuck, but don't stigmatize me in the process. I am weary of doing anything with a dude who knows nothing about their status, it means they may have other STDs & STIs. I REFUSE to be your secret, whether you are POZ or not, we are in the eye of a storm and I am an activist with a very public life. we need to address this fear, this stigma about HIV that YOU, my fellow black gay men have. We need to have a real conversation about how this really works and how we hurt each other in the process. Until then I will continue to live an UNAPOLOGETIC LIFE, I will continue to live my truth and I will continue self care by accepting myself for who I am. It is time that you accept you for who you are too chile...

My name is Ashton P. Woods 
&
I am HIV positive.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Martin's Dream - Crossing The Threshold of Justice


On August 28, 1963  Civil Rights Activist Martin Luther King Jr. gave the historic "I Have a Dream" speech, to over 250,000 civil rights supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington. While this speech is considered a defining moment in the  Civil Rights Movement, it continues to highlight the work that is still needing to be done. I Present to you "I Have A Dream"...


"I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the "unalienable Rights" of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.

We cannot turn back.

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. *We cannot be satisfied as long as the negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: "For Whites Only."* We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until "justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream."¹

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest -- quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:


My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride,

From every mountainside, let freedom ring!


And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.


Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.


But not only that:


Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.


And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!
"

Friday, January 6, 2017

When Trans Lives Are Under Attack...Stand Up, Fight Back

The Texas Privacy Act



About three years ago we went through a protracted battle to get our landmark non discrimination ordinance, the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance or #HERO. It was billed as the NDO to protect all Houstonians... After its passage by Houston's City Council, there were petitions, lawsuits, and smear campaigns with the goal to repeal #HERO; all led by Conservatives, Clergy (Black & White), and political millionaires. They set out to attack the LGBT community and specifically targeted the Trans community without much push back or support from CisGender folks as #HERO went through the courts and a ballot measure failed to keep it on the city charter. After #HEROs failure, conservatives rejoiced and across this country state legislatures attempted to do what they could to prevent the same from happening in their states, citing "no men in womens restrooms" as the reason. Today in Texas, Senate Bill 6 was announced by Lt Gov Dan Patrick and the author, Republican Sen. Lois Kolkhorst of Brenham, TX.

Here is that Announcement:



As you can see (if you watched the video) there were lies and hate spewed under the guise of love and personal appeals that they are good people. These personal appeals in attempts to come off as genuinely concerned pale in comparison to the fact that SB6 is just another Discriminatory "Bathroom Bill." It is CLEAR that conservatives like Patrick and his cronies deeply hate the Transgender community and this bill is evidence. Not only does it spread hate, it would effectively reverse ordinances already in effect in major cities like Austin or Dallas, removing racial, gender, medical, sexual orientation and gender ID protections. If the Bill passes, here are some of the impacts:

- Prohibits cities from passing any ordinance that applies to a private business’ bathroom, locker room and shower rules by providing Trans protections. In other words, laws that allow transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity would stop being enforced.

- Public schools

- State agencies

- Criminal penalties

Here is the bill: 


 

Right here in Houston we responded to Sen. Kolkhorst and Lt. Gov Patrick by holding a press conference at Houston city hall:






Footage from KPRC 2 Houston

Sections of SB6 to Watch


SECTION 2. Chapter 250, Local Government Code, is amended by adding Section 250.008 to read as follows:

Sec. 250.008. A REGULATIONS RELATING TO CERTAIN BATHROOM OR CHANGING FACILITIES PROHIBITED.

(a) For the purposes of this section, "bathroom or changing facility" means a facility where a person may be in a state of undress, including a restroom, locker room, changing room, or shower room.

(b) A political subdivision may not adopt or enforce an order, ordinance, or other measure that relates to the designation or use of a private entity’s bathroom or changing facility or that requires or prohibits the entity from adopting a policy on the designation or use of the entity ’s bathroom or changing facility.


Sections 3 and 4 are code and general provisions...

The Penalties


SECTION 5. Subchapter D, Chapter 12, Penal Code, is amended by adding Section 12.501 to read as follows:

Sec. 12.501. PENALTY IF OFFENSE COMMITTED ON PREMISES OF BATHROOM OR CHANGING FACILITY. 

(a) If it is shown on the trial of an offense described by Subsection (b) that the offense was committed on the premises of a bathroom or changing facility:

(1) the punishment for an offense, other than a first degree felony, is increased to the punishment prescribed for the next higher category of offense; or

(2) if the offense is a first degree felony, the minimum term of confinement for the offense is increased to 15 years.

(b) The increase in punishment authorized by this section applies only to an offense under:

(1) Section 19.02 (murder); (2) Section 19.04 (manslaughter); (3)Section 19.05 (criminally negligent homicide); (4) Section 20.02 (unlawful restraint); (5) Section 20.03 (kidnapping); (6) Section 20.04 (aggravated kidnapping); (7) Section 21.07 (public lewdness); (8) Section 21.08 (indecent exposure);
(9) Section 21.11 (indecency with a child); (10) Section 21.12 (improper relationship between
educator and student); (11) Section 21.15(b)(1) (invasive visual recording); (12) Section 21.16, as added by Chapter 676 (H.B. 207), Acts of the 84th Legislature, Regular Session, 2015 (voyeurism);
(13) Section 22.01 (assault); (14) Section 22.011 (sexual assault); (15) Section 22.02 (aggravated assault); (16) Section 22.021 (aggravated sexual assault); (17) Section 22.04 (injury to a child, elderly
individual, or disabled individual); (18) Section 22.041 (abandoning or endangering child); (19) Section 22.05 (deadly conduct); (20) Section 22.07 (terroristic threat); (21) Section 30.05 (criminal trespass); (22) Section 42.07 (harassment); (23) Section 43.02 (prostitution); (24) Section 43.03 (promotion of prostitution); (25) Section 43.04 (aggravated promotion of prostitution); (26) Section 43.05 (compelling prostitution); (27) Section 43.22 (obscene display or distribution); (28) Section 43.23 (obscenity); (29) Section 43.24 (sale, distribution, or display of  harmful material to minor); (30) Section 43.25 (sexual performance by a child); (31) Section 43.26 (possession or promotion of child pornography); or (32) Section 43.261 (electronic transmission of certain visual material depicting minor).

(c) For the purposes of this section, "bathroom or changing facility" means a facility where a person may be in a state of undress, including a restroom, locker room, changing room, or shower room.

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