In honor of Black history Month, the SAGE Blog will function a write-up on LGBT aging in the black neighborhood every Thursday during the month of February. February 7 is nationwide Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, so our an initial post in the collection is on HIV/AIDS in the black ar by Ty Martin, ar Liaison at SAGE center Harlem.

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I am black.

I am gay.

I to be an larger adult.

I am resilient. And also so is my community.

I flourished up throughout the civil rights movement, seeing an effective black activists about me fight because that our civil legal rights as a people. I likewise grew up during the Stonewall Riots, feeling the hostility culture harbored toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and also transgender (LGBT) people. And I thrived up throughout a time as soon as I lost numerous loved ones as result of HIV/AIDS, a disease that was perceived by the world as a vital epidemic.

Now that 2013. Now as a black gay man, ns enjoy more freedoms and also rights (as a new Yorker, I deserve to marry mine long-term companion Stanton). Yet, because that older black gay men who space living v HIV/AIDs, it’s quiet a challenging journey.

How execute I know? Well, I run a support team called brand-new Beginnings because that older happy black guys who have actually HIV/AIDS. We decided on the name new Beginnings, because being diagnosed through this an illness is no a death sentence, but rather an chance to recommit to your health and well-being.

Since to run the group, I’ve watched the battles my brothers confront as they navigate this condition and society’s watch of world with HIV/AIDS. This are several of the lessons and themes i have learned.

One the the biggest topics that always comes increase in team is society stigma. That 30 years later, and many of the older guys I job-related with still feeling uncomfortable or scared to talk about the disease, however the approximated rate (per 100,000 people) of brand-new HIV infections in adults eras 50 and also older in the United states is much higher among men.

Because of this, it’s essential we talk about this disease. Yet what is stopping older gay black men from having open dialogue? some say that the church. There have been a variety of LGBT-affirming church popping up the welcome our community, however some historically black churches still host homophobic attitudes. Church is crucial part of afri American history and plenty of of us have been raised approximately it. Rather of recognize an affirming church, numerous of the men I work with pardon the homophobic preachings because they don’t desire to be rejected. They fear rejection, because they have challenged it so often. We need to remember that countless older gay black men have been historically garbage by society for gift black; by family, friends or outsiders for being attractive to various other men; and by potential lover for being positive. So as soon as they enter an school that is claimed to accept them and also it doesn’t, the stings. The hurts. Yet they remain quiet out of fear of rejection. Experiences like these discourage persons from opened up around their sexuality and sexual experiences. This silence contributes to the increase of HIV/AIDS infections.

Another are afraid often discussed in the group is the acceleration of the aging process because of the virus. A cultivation body that evidence suggests that HIV positive world may experience much faster than typical aging, identified by premature steady organ condition and frailty. If scary, this are afraid does not constantly lead to an unfavorable consequences. The bulk of the older guys in the team are much more conscious about life since they have to resolve this irreversible illness. They have actually the mindset of “don’t take life because that granted” and try to make positive changes in their lives such together eating better, joining a sports club or even coming to be an activist in the community. In fact, one of the males in my group runs his very own HIV+ group for older happy men exterior of brand-new Beginnings.

Talking about older gay black males who live with HIV/AIDS is a larger discussion than what have the right to fit in this blog post. These are just some that my monitorings as the group leader of brand-new Beginnings. Even if it is we identify as gay, same-gender love or pick not to identify, HIV/AIDS is still an epidemic in the black community (and countless communities).

I composed this blog post to bring visibility to HIV/AIDS together an older gay black color man; because, regardless of the refusal we have actually faced, or the discomfort of talking about the disease, the is a conversation we must have.

I to be gay.

I to be an larger adult.

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I am opened up conversation approximately HIV/AIDS. And also I am questioning my community: stop talk.