Sunday, December 1, 2013

Dec. 1 - World AIDS Day - [from Black AIDS Institute] Ashley Love's '30 Under 30' Essay for BAI's '30 Years of AIDS' Commemoration Report

Two years ago I was invited to take part of Black AIDS Institute’s (BAI) 30th Anniversary project where 30 individuals ("young black leaders, celebrities and activists") were chosen to write essays about their advocacy work to combat AIDS. Today, Dec. 1, is World AIDS Day and I am sharing my essay with you. Much work remains, including eradicating the misgendering and misclassification n of transsexual women from the “MSM” category, providing more assessable and affordable care in Africa and ensuring more preventative measures.
“As part of its special "30 years of AIDS" commemoration report, the Black AIDS Institute is profiling 30 young black leaders, celebrities and activists who have worked to make a difference in the fight against black AIDS.” (Julian Breece, Editor of ‘30 under 30’ feature)

From Black AIDS Institute’s  June 2011 Issue and 30th Anniversary Edition:

[photo for Black AIDS Institute]
  Due to a lack of human rights protections from the government and understanding from families and society, many Americans born transsexual and/or intersex, or that have a transgender identity, find themselves in very vulnerable and dangerous situations.  Because of this alienation some people in these communities engage in unsafe behavior as a way to cope and survive, making them vulnerable to infection with HIV.

  I have lost two people close to me because of this disease.  One of them was a woman who was born with a transsexual medical condition.  She wanted love so much that she trusted the wrong man and, instead of protecting herself, took a risk that proved fatal.  

  A lot of work needs to be done to educate society about transsexual, transgender and intersex issues. The unhealthy stigma and dehumanization of these communities is what leads to situations where they contract the disease. Low self-esteem caused by people’s prejudice against human diversity is what causes many in these communities to fail to safeguard their health.

  If any of my sisters are reading this, know that your life is a beautiful gem.  Cherish yourself and your temple.  We all want love, but we have to love ourselves first and foremost if we are to receive authentic love from someone else.  Regardless of the misguided fear and toxic hate in the world directed at people who are born different, don’t believe the lies that say you are unworthy.
  You are a child of God just the way you are.  Treat yourself kindly, because you deserve it.

Ashley Love is the founder of Media Advocates Giving National Equality to Transsexual & Transgender People and a popular contributor to the Huffington Post.

Originally published in June 2011 by Black AIDS Institute


1 comment: