Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Daniel Reeders on "Risky Business"
via Trevor's blog, by Daniel Reeders
Check out pics from the event here.
I'm enjoying the free wifi and replica designer furniture at the Centre on Halsted, marvelling at this amazing space, and the contradictions of American culture.
On my way here, I passed a huge billboard on N Halsted, warning that hotdogs kill. Cancer, you see. The message: not eating in moderation, but total hotdog abstinence.
I'd just had breakfast, which like almost every other meal I've had here, came with a huge, unbidden helping of fried potato. The enormity of the normal serving size here is deadly -- through diabetes and heart disease -- but exception was being made of a single food.
Instead of saying "eat less, mostly vegetables", there's a billboard for a single illness targeting a single food. Somewhere else, a diabetes agency has no doubt done a billboard about corn syrup (rather than declining bottomless refills).
I've been here five days and I'm already feeling swamped by a myriad of health messages. Almost invariably they are phrased as Don't Do X. None have sought to communicate skills and ideas for managing the complexities of your own health.
On Monday night I came to the Centre on Halsted for a forum about barebacking, called Risky Business, moderated by Fausto Fernos and Mark Felion from Feast of Fun - the top gay podcast on iTunes! - featuring Tony Valenzuela, Rev Musafa Ali and Dr Braden Berkey.
And something similar was happening. Rather than talk about pleasure, unsafe sex without the label, or the complexities of sexual negotiation in a mixed poz/neg sexual world, co-presenters Fausto and Mark sought a consensus: Don't Do Bareback.
The audience rebelled. Keith Green, someone I've long admired for his contributions to Lifelube and the Gay Men's Health Summit online community, challenged the panel: the subtitle for the event is "reclaiming pleasure" - why can't we talk about that?
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