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Editor’s Note: World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day 2017

A note on World AIDS Day from About editor-in-chief, Anthony Ramirez.

Hi, everyone. I hope you’ve all had a lovely week and are wrapping up your Fridays differently than I am – by not working.

As most of you who are in the LGBTQIA community know, today is World AIDS Day, a day specifically targeted at remembering those who have lost their lives to the HIV/AIDS virus, as well as to spreading education about the importance of safe sex, prevention, and living with HIV/AIDS.

I want to start by saying that there is nothing shameful about living with HIV/AIDS. I, myself, am HIV-negative, so there are a lot of aspect to HIV/AIDS that I cannot speak to. But as a person who is very sexually active and who has been with multiple gay male partners in his life, it’s extremely important to me that I am tested regularly, and that I take the precautions necessary to prevent myself from contracting HIV. And I believe it is equally important that we all get tested frequently. We have to so that we can live longer and healthier lives with those we love.

But back to my previous point: having HIV/AIDS is not a shameful thing. It’s not something that a person does to themselves. It is not a reflection of the kind of person someone is. It is not a scarlet letter they should have to wear for everyone to see. HIV/AIDS is an illness, and one that takes lives every single day. It does not, however, define a person who is living with it, nor should it affect the way that others look at them. It should not serve as an excuse for anyone to pass judgment on them. Again, it’s an illness that affects far too many people because preventative medications and healthcare are expensive, and because the LGBTQIA community does not have proper and comprehensive sex education throughout almost all of the United States of America.

The real trouble here is, nothing is 100% effective. You can utilize expensive condoms and take PrEP as prescribed, but you are never going to be 100% protected from transmission. That said, science has brought the LGBTQIA community very far in terms of prevention. True, PrEP provides a 92-99% reduction rate in your risk of transmitting HIV, but 1-8% of potential transmission is still a potential for transmission. That’s why being tested is (again) so very important. While I cannot – nor would I ever try to – speak for an HIV-positive person or try to expound upon their experiences, I can say that it is not a virus that anyone would want. For decades, our community has battled HIV – back to when it was still referred to as GRID (gay-related immunodeficiency disease) – before even that. In that same span of time, innumerable people have lost their lives to this disease.

However, science is constantly looking for ways to make us safer, because HIV/AIDS is not a virus of perverse sex or to just being gay. It’s a virus that limits our ability to love freely and live long, healthy lives. HIV/AIDS has long been used against the queer community by the conservative side of politics as a tactic to restrict the rights of queer people. And in many ways, that has served a hindrance to scientists who work their entire careers trying to find a cure for it. But no one is giving up.

We’re lucky that the number of queer people who are living with HIV/AIDS has diminished. Lucky, because no one deserves to live with something so nightmarish. Still, it is possible to live a long, happy, and relatively healthy life with HIV/AIDS. It’s not always an end-all. In fact, more people are living now much longer lives than ever before with HIV and AIDS. And that’s really something, because it was nearly unheard of just thirty years ago.

So, with all that said, About Magazine did not publish any content related to World AIDS Day, as we have a number of articles for you that will be released starting tomorrow, Saturday, the 2nd of December. We aren’t putting a time parameter on when these articles will end, as we believe that HIV/AIDS should be normalized and discussed all throughout the year. However, given what we recognize today, the next week will serve more information than normal. These articles will talk about the importance of sexual education for queer youth in schools, preventative measures for HIV, resources for people living with HIV/AIDS, a history of World AIDS Day, lists of myths about HIV/AIDS and the people affected by it, some personal stories from those in the Houston LGBTQIA community that are living with this virus, and much more.

It’s our earnest hope here at About that everyone will learn something from these pieces, and take this information to share it with the people you love and in your life. If you have questions you don’t know a credible answer to, hopefully we can help provide it, or at least point you in the right direction. Our goal here at About is always to make sure that this community lives well, happy, and healthy lives. So, please take the time to read some of the information if you’re unsure of anything about HIV/AIDS. And always feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or if there’s something you think we should touch on. You can reach us at info@about-online.com.

For anyone reading this, please know that you are important, that you are special, that you are beautiful, and that you are loved, regardless of your HIV status or anything else you may feel defines you. Because nothing defines you other than what’s in your heart and how you treat others around you.

Choose kindness.

Choose community.

Choose love.

 

Anthony Ramirez
Editor-in-Chief 

Houston’s Crocker Bar Raises Thousands For Multiple Sclerosis

Houston’s Crocker Bar Raises Thousands For Multiple Sclerosis

Houston LGBT Club Raises Thousands In Support Of Multiple Sclerosis, Aids Services Of Houston.

(HOUSTON) — A Houston LGBT bar owner has delivered on a mighty large promise made to his customers in the community. Crocker Bar owner Grey Stephen’s vowed on social media last month to donate 50% of sales in March to benefit the two charities in the greater Houston area.

The ‘everybody-knows-your-name’ bar in the heart of Montrose was showered with support from patrons. The bar sold a total of 21,786 drinks. A statement of support from the community, as Stephens himself was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2014.

“I have Multiple Sclerosis and I cannot thank you enough for helping me in this battle,” Stephens said. “I don’t think you will ever know how much this means to me.”

Stephens and business partner Bruce Reeves’ donation of $10,893.00 will be divided among the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and Aids Services of Houston. That’s $5,446.50 for each of the two charities.

On top of the bar’s donation raised to fight MS, Reeves will be making an additional $12,000 donation that he has raised. Reeves an avid supporter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society participates each year in the MS150.

If you missed the opportunity and would like to donate you can drop off checks at Crocker Bar made out to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS).

Bunnies On The Bayou Host Annual Fundraiser This Weekend At Pearl Bar

Honey Bunnies Fundraiser Houston Pearl Bar About Magazine

Bunnies On The Bayou To Host ‘Honey Bunnies’ At Pearl Bar This Weekend With Co Sponsor Her Destination Unknown!

HOUSTONFEB 23 — Sunday Funday will get a little more festive this weekend on Washington Avenue as Bunnies on the Bayou hosts the annual ‘Honey Bunnies’ fundraiser.

Starting at 2 p.m. Bunnies on the Bayou partner Her Destination Unknown (HDU) will hold their annual ‘Charity Date Auction,’ where one very special ‘Bunny’ will be up for grabs. Attendees will also enjoy jello-shots and a chance to advance purchase tickets for the annual Easter weekend shindig.

Her Destination Unknown provides the LGBT lesbian community with a community beyond the lesbian community. What started as a core group of six women now consists of over seven hundred members.

Among their annual fundraisers is AIDS Foundation Houston and the Houston Food Bank. HDU has raised over $50,000 for these local non-profits.

Details: Honey Bunnies visit Facebook 

TRUTH Project Kicks Off ‘We Are Gold’ Annual Fundraiser In Houston

TRUTH Project Kicks Off ‘We Are Gold’ Annual Fundraiser In Houston

 

The 2nd Annual T.R.U.T.H. Project Kicks Off Annual Fundraiser In Montrose In October.

HOUSTON Oct 5 — The time for TRUTH has come to Houston. The T.R.U.T.H Project kicks off its annual fundraiser In Houston on Oct. 22, 12016 in Montrose. Entitled We Are Gold will be held at Zimm’s Martini & Wine Bar.

The T.R.U.T.H. Project (Telling Real Unapologetic Truths through Healing) is a 501c3 charitable organization that educates and mobilizes LGBTQ communities of color and their allies through social arts that promote mental, emotional and sexual health. The impact on the community is very surreal said Founder Kevin Anderson.

“It’s humbling to have the support of artists and healthcare providers who understand the vision for using the arts as a tool for healing through information, education, and access to resources,” Anderson said.

This year’s fundraiser will include a montage of video clips from previous installments and live demonstrations of spoken word, live music, and visual art to showcase how the T.R.U.T.H. Project connects art and health.

Since its inception, The T.R.U.T.H Project has reached more than 5,000 attendees and continues to grow. Performances are held quarterly and have addressed issues such as bullying, domestic violence, and depression. The Texas State Department of Health recognized the efforts of the T.R.U.T.H. Project and its founder, Kevin Anderson, to use the arts as a vehicle for information, awareness, and access to resources, and awarded a grant that allowed him to extend his outreach by partnering with national recording artist such as Marsha Ambrosius and Chisette Michele. He has also served as a consultant in other cities interested in starting similar initiatives.

For additional information visit:  www.TruthProjecthtx.org