Subscribe to our RSS feed

Popular News Stories

  • Fuck poz guys!
  • Tom Hanks in Philadelphia Changed my Life
  • Canadian AIDS Society’s AGM and PHA Forum in Ottawa: some scholarships for HIVers available
  • Semen goes viral – or does it?
  • BareBackRT.com  - the interview

Gay Men

Nov25

Gay no more?

Tuesday, 25 November 2014 Written by // Jay Squires Categories // Gay Men, Jay Squires, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Population Specific

Jay Squires comes clean. “I am less gay than I once was” he says.

Gay no more?

Back in the day I was I was a big gay wheel. Chairman of the board of directors of Virginia’s state equality organization. Chairman of the campaign to defeat Virginia’s anti-marriage constitutional amendment. Founder of the Gay Community Center of Richmond. Gay was my life and my obsession.

My network grew until it included some of Virginia’s most powerful people. I attended swanky cocktail parties, seminars and massive nationwide LGBT extravaganzas. I was a jet setter and visited LGBT community centers nationwide where I was greeted as an expert on their operations. This was heady stuff and it gave me what I craved above all else  ̶  respect.

I do not know how I grew into this need for the respect of others. I believe all humans want respect and in some cultures it is much more important than in ours. In America it seems to me many are more concerned with their finances than they are with what people think of them. They will be bastards so long as it makes them a buck.

In my mind respect was gained by accomplishment. I believed that to have the respect of others I must always find a bigger, more difficult challenge and then succeed in a public way. This plan worked quite well. For a time.

I do not know how I chose the LGBT equality movement as the focus of my drive for respect but from a distance I can speculate. Over the decades I came to feel very personally the oppression brought by my second-class status. I think this was true because I understood the legislative process very well. I knew the requirements to change my situation were not onerous. I knew that if people were reasonable my life would be better.

Of course in Virginia people were not reasonable. At my core I am a fighter. I took up the sword against my enemies  ̶  the Virginia GOP, right-wing windbags, unfeeling churches. I fought the battle without dramatic success but for me it was the battle that mattered. The battle made me proud, and yes it brought me respect.

It seems to me my drive was a simple reaction to the fact that society gave me little respect. I needed to find it elsewhere, and so I did among an overlooked, disliked people who became my own.

In early 2012 I lost my connection to the movement when I was let go from my job.  A month later I was diagnosed. I wrote about the challenges I faced and overcame on the road to physical and mental health. The disease brought many changes. Most were negative. Some, on consideration, were positive. This time my battle was against these changes and I engaged as fully as I did in the fight for equality.

In this battle I gained respect as well. This time it was self-respect. I have come to realize that in the past, before, I struggled to gain the respect of others to offset a lack of self-respect. I know why this is true and probably always have but I was never able to face these questions or to face the truth. My victory in this new battle was gained when I looked at my life in a way I never had. It was gained when I began to understand.

This process will continue for my life. It is not enough to analyze and parse the past. One must be aware of today and the role he plays in it. I will continue to strive. I can do nothing else. My striving will be personal and not public. My victories will be one man’s.

Do not misunderstand. I will continue to follow the LGBT rights movement and I will comment when I am moved to do so. Today my writing is more important. Here on PositiveLite.com I can address topics that concern me. I will not be roped in by others’ agendas. Here I can write of what molds my life today – the victories and failures, challenges and triumphs of a person with AIDS.

I have noticed as I write that these challenges and triumphs are at their heart not so different than those faced by uninfected humanity. We all know, though, that we have our personal spin that is unique. This is what I want to write.

I am proud of my accomplishments and I value the many wonderful people this work brought to me. I am about to begin a new career, a flyer really but one that has the prospect of success. It is in no way gay. This, and Angelo, will be my life now. I am glad for the change.

I am less gay. So be it. Nonetheless I am more human, more a man. That is quite a fair deal indeed. 

Arts and Entertainment Section

Activism Section

Current Affairs Section

  • Dear Zachary

    Dear Zachary

    Brian Finch with "My response to “On the Response to My OUT 100 Interview” by Zachary Quinto."
  • E-cigarettes

    E-cigarettes

    Are they for harm reduction, a tool to help people quit or both? And what about the authorities’ attempts to regulate them? Megan DePutter weighs in on the vaping craze and the issues it raises.
  • PrEP pops up on cruising sites

    PrEP pops up on cruising sites

    Marc-André LeBlanc says that PrEP is a hot topic in HIV prevention circles. There is more and more discussion about it in gay media, on social networks, and even in mass media. But is it even on the radar of the average gay man?

Events Section

  • National Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week 2014

    National Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week 2014

    From the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network (CAAN) comes details of a series of events planned for across Canada to celebrate successes and explore ways of “getting to zero”.
  • #RedRemindsMe

    #RedRemindsMe

    Bob Leahy says "Our Friends at the Body.com have organized a World AIDS Day campaign to reinforce the concept of the red ribbon, called #RedRemindsMe. Here are three photos which might give you some ideas.
  • A big, fun “Kiss Off” to HIV.

    A big, fun “Kiss Off” to HIV.

    Wayne Bristow has been busy with his local ASO (AIDS Service Organization) putting his photography and new video creation skills to work on a World AIDS Day/Month event.

Features and Interviews Section

  • The chaser’s tale – part two

    The chaser’s tale – part two

    Bob Leahy in part two of a frank conversation with recently diagnosed Joseph Sinnott who deliberately exposed himself to HIV in search of the erotic and a sense of belonging. Here Joseph discusses the aftermath of the act which made him positive.
  • The Undetectables

    The Undetectables

    Bob Leahy interviews the folks at New York’s’ Housing Works about their innovative new campaign which uses a comic book narrative to explore with clients the benefits of achieving and maintaining an undetectable viral load
  • The chaser’s tale – part one

    The chaser’s tale – part one

    Bob Leahy in a frank conversation with recently diagnosed Joseph Sinnott who deliberately exposed himself to HIV in search of the erotic and a sense of belonging. In part one, Joseph gives us a glimpse of drug use, slamming and the world of bug chasers.

Health Section

International Section

Legal Section

Lifestyle Section

Living with HIV Section

Media Section

Opinion Pieces Section

Population Specific Section

Sex and Sexuality Section

MarketPlace

  • Village Pharmacy

    Village Pharmacy

    The Village Pharmacy is a pharmacist-owned business based in Toront We are fully accredited by the Ontario College of Pharmacists.

  • Visage Clinic - Dr. Marc DuPéré

    Visage Clinic - Dr. Marc DuPéré

    Yesterday, only women were having cosmetic surgery and with the upmost discretion. Today it has become acceptable for not only women, but for men as well

  • Dr. Kevin Russelo & Associates

    Dr. Kevin Russelo & Associates

    Dr. Kevin Russelo + Associates has operated in the Church-Wellesley neighbourhood for the past 5 years, proudly serving the LGBT community.