• Remi

12 - FREEDOM


Illustration @mehdi_ange_r (INSTAGRAM)

Today I wanted to expand on the act of freeing speech and try to understand why it has been so important to me.

What is BEING FREE?

If you read the story "THE TRIGGER" again, you will probably understand what helped me to start creating the JOURNAL POSITIF.

But there is a difference between "deciding to systematically say when meeting someone new that you are HIV positive" and "starting a blog by affirming your identity, without hiding".

What is the purpose of not wanting to be anonymous anymore?

The aim is to put an end to the image that people have of HIV, to humanise HIV and stop demonising it, to say that WE, the carriers of the virus, are fighting for our lives to be as normal as possible and that YOU, the misinformed, are making it very difficult for us.

There is a whole fantasy around HIV that personally makes me uncomfortable because it is completely outdated. In the 80s and 90s, we were bombarded by the media with very strong images that were unfortunately linked to death, because this reality existed. Except that since treatments have appeared, communication about HIV has remained essentially preventive. The little communication that is done to convey positive messages goes completely unnoticed. Why is this? Because a poster in the metro no longer has any impact on people. To be heard, you have to be sensational. As an example, this is what Act Up did from the beginning of its action and it worked.

Not to be tongue-in-cheek, no one cares about HIV and AIDS. The gay population is completely serophobic and the heterosexual population is feels completely unconcerned. I'm not going to go into numbers and percentages, but it would probably be interesting to know.

Generally speaking, human beings are in denial. As long as they are not "struck" by a subject, they are not interested in it.

I'm going to draw a parallel, which you may find clumsy, with the attacks that we have been experiencing in France for several years.

Personally, I was very shocked by the emotional reappropriation that the French have made of them. Do I need to remind you that this kind of thing happens every day in countries other than our own without us being moved by it? Does a bomb have to explode in front of our faces for us to wake up?

Finally, the existence of the blog is a real challenge because I am trying to communicate on a subject that is of no interest to anyone unless they are confronted with it and have to be interested in it.

I'm not going to go back to the fact that I'm a lucky specimen with regard to the disease. I am thinking especially of those who sometimes doubt, break down, feel alone, exhausted. I have felt all this even though I am surrounded by people and I think that my words, without any pretension, can perhaps soften and reassure them.

I wish I had read this kind of text ten years ago. I would have loved to meet someone who would say to me, "Dude, I'm HIV positive, I'm happy and you're going to be happy.".

The doctors told me, my friends made sure I was, my family made sure I was, and it took me ten years to understand that I could indeed be. To really be it I had to talk, to stop hiding, to stop hiding behind lies, unspoken things.

I would like to draw a parallel again, but this time with the homosexual community.

Finally, this is not the first time I have had to hide what I am. Before that, I more or less had to hide the fact that I prefer boys. I might as well tell you that when you grow up in the Périgord, you are not really invited to assume your homosexuality. So there was this automatism, this reflex that I acquired from a very young age not to be me.

I did not come out on my own or voluntarily. I didn't do it because I couldn't keep the secret any longer, or because I was in love and I wanted to shout it from the rooftops.

I was 16 years old. My father had gone through my room and found a few issues of TÊTU magazine, so he had more or less "outed" me in spite of myself.

So I never had to reveal that I was gay, it was taken care of for me. But what was still very much in place was this mechanism of keeping things to myself, of keeping them quiet. Lying by omission was what I had always known and it had become my comfort zone.


But now I'm taking the opportunity to analyse myself a bit more.

I never felt like I belonged to the gay community and I always wondered why. Probably because I didn't have the time to need it after all, as I had the support of my family and friends very quickly.

So yes, I did hang out in the Marais (gay area in Paris) a bit, but more for the architecture of the area and its bars and cruising spots. Nevertheless, this community is necessary because not all of us are equally lucky.

Many people wonder if Gay Pride is still legitimate and why it is still so provocative? Because our rights are still very fragile and our freedom to exist is still under threat.

Provoking in order to exist: this seems to be the only way to be heard.

Why draw a parallel with HIV?

Because the subject is just as uncomfortable, just as rejecting, just as silencing (if not more so, unfortunately).

And why?

For the same reasons: because people who do not feel concerned do not inform themselves, are not even interested in the subject. We live in a world where social networks are used to share videos of cats making faces instead of tackling the really important issues.

HIV is not the only one, of course. In the end, it's just an excuse to talk about the absurdity of what we do with our lives.

Coming back to the blog, I realised that not everyone would be interested in it. Should I therefore question myself? Was it a problem of content?

I am not an author. I write and compose my stories in the way I speak, so it is likely that it could be very unpleasant to read for some people. But that's not really the point. It doesn't matter that I weave an aesthetically pleasing blog, that I post my stories at 6pm because that's what needs to be done, that I don't tell too many things at once to leave the reader waiting. I almost lost the desire to continue writing because of all the comments.

This blog is meant to be authentic, unfiltered. It took me so long to free my voice about HIV, about my homosexuality, to be me.

To inform, to communicate, to create links, to be free: this is what the JOURNAL POSITIF is about.



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