Category Archives: AIDS

Glitter Emergency and More at Frameline’s 35th SF LGBT Film Fest

It is the middle of the SF LGBT Film Festival, high holy days are underway in the City by the Bay, Pride is coming,  and outside the festival’s host venues, gay film buffs are rubbing their bleary eyes after marathon sessions in the dark. The cinematic apparatus, not that other dark! There is something for everyone at this annual festival, now in its 35th year. The shorts programs are some of the best, and for those with short attention spans, are just the ticket. One film is not doing it for you? Wait 5 minutes. The next one could be all that.

“All that glitters is indeed gold in this wonderful collection of shorts featuring several gems from our very own Bay Area filmmakers… Take a look at disgusting alien bodies and eavesdrop on the deaf relay system. Follow a camera off a bridge in a memorial for lives lost. A dispute on the high seas can only be settled by a dance off (of course), and we’ll see just how campy an AIDS camp can be. Rounding out the program is a silent comedy set to Tchaikovsky and starring Peggy the Peg-leg Ballerina.” via festival director Jennifer Morris

“Glitter Emergency” shows at the Victoria Theatre, 9:30 pm on Tuesday, June 21st, 2011. The Victoria is located at 2961 16th Street in the  Mission district. Built in 1908 as a Vaudeville House, it is the oldest operating theatre in San Francisco.

Following Savage Campaign for Queer Youth, Peter Fiske says “It Gets Better” But DOES It?

But does it? Well-known Leatherman and friend of this site Peter Fiske has made an “It Gets Better” video and posted it on YouTube. We are, of course, re-posting. Kudos, Peter! It is fantastic. Of course. Messages of future promise are great, and can be just the thing to turn despair into hope. But. But. But. The “It Gets Better” video pep talks, started by columnist Dan Savage last year in an effort to curb high rates of suicide among queer youth, have really taken off. Cool. More on them here. Great campaign, but…it is not enough. Not nearly.

By all means, keep these positive messages coming. But. But. But. There are a few problems here. First off, it does not always get better – and we know that. If it always got better, dead friend of this site and Frameline co-founder Mark Finch would not have jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge. A popular, successful adult gay man kills himself. Or: youthful co-conspirator WRG, handsome, smart, set to inherit two fortunes, dead in a hotel room in Rio with a spike in his arm, the body stripped of valuables. They had to identify him by dental records. Just two examples. It did not get better for either of them, and they were pretty well set to overcome the past.

But. But. But. Another problem: The most vulnerable queer kids may be those least likely to be able to respond to these messages. Consider two scenarios:

One: You are 17, a junior in high school, with loving, educated PFLAG parents, a nice group of theatre friends, early acceptance to UC, and a problem with the school bully who taunts you with calls of “Faggot!” and elbows you in the hallways to the amusement of his toadies. It makes your stomach churn.

Two: You are 17, living on the periphery of San Francisco’s Castro district. You left Idaho and your violent Christian Identity family at 13 when your mother caught you with another boy. She broke a bottle over your head as you fled the house. See the scar? Arriving in SF, you met guys who turned you on to meth and fucked you raw. Already shell-shocked from childhood, you seroconverted at 14, have been on the streets for four years, and look really rough. Half-crazy with rage and despair, you kick trash cans and shout in frustration, sometimes sit on the curb sobbing. Everyone avoids you.

These are two pretty extreme, but true, examples. “It Gets Better” is a good message, but it is not enough. The kids need more than words. Even the UC-bound good gay kid needs more than words. And seriously damaged youth need a lot more. They also need the tools to survive a world which will continue at times to be hostile. Food. Shelter. Protection. Health care, including mental health and substance abuse help. Access to education, job-training, connections and good adult mentorship. Spiritual support, including services for survivors of  religious abuse. They do not need to be encouraged in magical thinking: “Oh…if I can only get to San Francisco! It’s like Oz! Everything will be fabulous!” Yes, sometimes it gets better. But: it does not always get better, and it does not automatically get better. If we actually want to see the kids flourish, we need to open our eyes to the full scope of the horror under which some queer kids come up – and add real resources that are equal to our encouraging words. We need to get real.

AIDS Ribbon on Twin Peaks

The AIDS Ribbon on Twin Peaks in San Francisco – commemorating 30 years of AIDS, and remembering all of those we have lost.
Seen from Civic Center/Market Street.
-AidanAbroad

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Buy it online! 30 Years into the AIDS epidemic, HIV virus is decorative wall Art.

Doubt the death of the author? At art.com, visitors can choose images from the library and preview them framed over the couch in a choice of living rooms or stretched over canvas above the toilet in the bathoom. It’s the ‘view-in-room’ option, a database-driven, semi-automatic and very interactive shopping experience. Most of their images are drawn from the visual arts canon, but they also offer medical stock photography and other arcane scientific and historical subjects, which make for some very strange interior design possibilities.  Pictured here: AIDS Virus, Black Background Photographic Print, 32′ x 24″ framed, displayed in the #2 children’s bedroom option. Get it here. Or not.