Hell hath no fury like a faggot scorned, and faggots can be so damn vicious.
So I knew vicious had arrived when I answered my phone a few weeks ago to hear my friend Trevor choking on his own sobs.
Trevor (who asked to remain anonymous for this story) is good-looking, whip-smart and accomplished. He fucks like a bobcat. Clearly to a large number of gay men he is a hot catch, which may be part of the reason for what went wrong and how HIV was used as a weapon against him.
Trevor started casually shagging Mark (not his real name) off and on. When Mark made it clear he was interested in more, Trevor explained to him that shagging was it. When Mark still insisted, professing love, Trevor stopped the sex and said he’d just be Mark’s friend. Mark didn’t get it, prompting Trevor to cut contact.
Like that helped. Soon everywhere that Trevor went, Mark was sure to follow, with the clincher coming when Mark appeared at the office Trevor works at early one Monday morning as Trevor’s company’s newest hire. Trevor acted unperturbed and continued to ignore Mark.
Soon a threat arrived in the form of a couple of bullying e-mails. Then the threat was made good: Trevor received a call from a Public Health saying Mark was HIV-positive and was accusing Trevor of infecting him.
Trevor is HIV-positive, and while Mark seroconverted in the time period in which they’ve known each other, there are indicators that Mark might have gotten it elsewhere.
Trevor found the phone calls from the Public Health intimidating, frightening and humiliating. While Trevor admits he was treated with professionalism, he says he found the review of basic safer- sex practices insulting. And he found the phone call to the workplace of the man he had just started seeing – asking him if Trevor had shared his HIV status (he had) – to be extremely invasive.
Though the issue hasn’t gone any further – no more action from Public Health or other authorities – Trevor was left with a nasty taste in his mouth.
“I feel like I’ve been told to behave,” he says. “What they don’t get is that I already do behave. The legalities of HIV are so easy to exploit and that’s so wrong.”
But that’s what happens in a black and white world where HIV-positive people are seen as health risks to be managed, rather than people trying to enjoy a decent sex life.