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💕 LOVE KNOWS NO STATUS 💕 . "I met a wonderful man who I fell in love with after the first meeting. Eight months later when we were together, he started to cry. That night I found out he was HIV+ (undetectable) for the last six years and he waited so long to tell me because he was afraid to lose me. Ten years ago I might have reconsidered due to my own lack of knowledge, but now... no way! I love this guy for him and not some virus that is in his body. If he told me he doesn't like to eat Asian food, then that IS a problem! :) It's hard enough to find love in this crazy world of ours, so when you find it, don't let something like this stand in the way!" . Anonymous, 38, Tokyo, negativ . #HIVoices #WorldAidsDay #hivpositive #hiv #endthestigma #UequalsU #nohate
About the struggle to come out to your family as HIV positive: . "I am not going to disclose my status to my family because one of my 2 siblings is a doctor, and he speaks about retroviral drugs as a therapy which damages your kidneys and liver on the long run to a point you'll either die because of them or because of Aids. We are in 2020 and these medical information are dated at least 20-30 years ago: misinformation is still a thing in the scientific community." . Anonymous, 31, Italy, undetectable for 2 ½ years . #HIVoices #WorldAidsDay #hivpositive #hiv #endthestigma #UequalsU #nohate
A message of hope to us from @purgatory21: . "I came very close to death in 1992 with pneumocystis pneumonia & was told I wouldn't see the age of 30 & that I should get my affairs in order. Today I am 54 years old & have been undetectable since 2005. I have lost countless friends & aquatintences over the years but never gave up, even when faced with some horrible stigmas & judgements over this time. Though things have changed dramatically, there is still a huge need for education & awareness. In April of 1992, I was told that I was dying from AIDS/HIV. Today I am living proof that I am living with it and to the fullest..." . Joey, 54, Portland, Oregon, USA, positive since 1985 . #HIVoices #WorldAidsDay #hivpositive #hiv #endthestigma #UequalsU #nohate
Some words we received as part of our #HIVoices initiative: . "People fought hard to get us to where we are right now, being able to live normal lives even with HIV. We owe it to the restless activists and researchers, as well as to the people who lost loved ones because of AIDS, to let each other live our normal lives." . Anonymous, 26, Berlin, undetectable for 6 months . #HIVoices #endthestigma #WorldAidsDay #hivpositive #hiv #nohate
Disclosure is a big dilemma for people living with HIV. Do you out yourself and contribute to better visibility, while running the risk of experiencing prejudice and discrimination? Or do you keep it private to protect yourself? Does a hookup have the right to know? Here is another of our #HIVoices: . "One guy asked me about my status only the day after we hooked up. When I told him I was undetectable, he freaked out [...] Knowing that I was undetectable changed his mind about me. That is exactly why I am afraid to tell people. They call me dirty, they assume I am irresponsible or stupid, and none of this is true." . Anonymous, Berlin, 25, undetectable . #HIVoices #WorldAidsDay #hivpositive #hiv #endthestigma #UequalsU #nohate
Not only people who are HIV positive make experiences with serophobia, but also the ones close to them. Let us overcome prejudice with solidarity. Here is another one of our #HIVoices: . Growing up my uncle had HIV. My whole life, he would get really sick and then get better. I don’t really remember the day I found out he had HIV, but I remember that nobody ever talked about it, it was never even mentioned. It felt like it was this big secret we all had to keep. . Anonymous, 18, USA, negative . #HIVoices #WorldAidsDay #hivpositive #hiv #endthestigma #UequalsU #nohate
Honoring yesterday's World Aids Day, here is another one of our #HIVoices: . "When I tell people that I am positive, I notice an immediate reaction. They turn away, change their behavior towards me or even stop all contact." . Fredi, 22, Berlin, undetectable for 2 years . #HIVoices #WorldAidsDay #hivpositive #hiv #endthestigma #UequalsU #nohate
In honor of World Aids Day, we collected stories from our positive family under #HIVoices. Here is one of them: . On dating platforms (where my status is not disclosed) this kind of conversation recurred a few times: 'Hi, want to meet?' – 'Thanks for your message, but I don't think we are a match' – 'Oh, I am now not interested either, I just read on your profile that you have sex with positive guys. I am not interested in HIV sluts as you'." . Anonymous, 31, Berlin, undetectable for 2 ½ years . #HIVoices #WorldAidsDay #hivpositive #hiv #endthestigma #UequalsU #nohate
Today is World Aids Day. We asked people to tell us their experiences with HIV stigma. Throughout the week, we will share their stories under #HIVoices. Here is one of them: "I have been positive since 1998. Only my family/close friends know. I don’t tell anybody because I had a bad experience when I was younger [...] I feel that the stigma about HIV will always be around because SOME people choose not to educate themselves about the disease... I feel that HIV is not the death sentence it used to be so there is no need for the prejudice." . Anonymous, 41, USA, positive since 1998 . #HIVoices #WorldAidsDay #hivpositive #hiv #endthestigma #UequalsU #nohate
We can all do something to end serophobia and contribute to a culture of respect. On World Aids Day and every day! . Our HIV positive friends and family members are still often times judged, discriminated, insulted or ridiculed. Too little people know that under therapy, HIV cannot be transmitted. And irrational fear blinds our empathy. . Let's take time to educate ourselves and others. Reflect what you say (e.g. "looking for a clean, healthy person" on dating platforms), have respect for a person's private life, and put yourself in the shoes of someone positive. A few pills don't make us different humans. . #HIVoices #endthestigma #stophiv #nohate #WorldAidsDay #serophobia #hiv #hivpositive #stopserophobia
📢 CALL TO ACTION! Join our social media initiative #HIVoices: We want to share stories of experiencing and fighting HIV stigma, and show more respect for each other. Go to the link in our bio to submit a statement (anonymously or with your name), and we publish it on World Aids Day (Dec. 1). . Treatment has improved to a point where HIV positive people under therapy (which is often just one pill a day) cannot transmit the virus anymore. By getting tested and treated, they make an important contribution to end the spread of HIV. . Yet, HIV positive people still have to face prejudice and sometimes discrimination at work, in medical institutions, while traveling, dating, or in other situations. As internalized shame, stigma affects the self-confidence and mental health. And our queer family suffers disproportionately from this problem. . Be a part of the solution by educating yourself and others, showing love, and supporting #HIVoices. The stigma ends with us! . #WorldAidsDay #HIV #hivpositive #endthestigma #U=U #undetectable #untransmittable #prep
Happy Diwali! Starting as a Hindu religious celebration, Diwali, also known as the Festival of Light, has transformed into a South Asian cultural celebration. Representing the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness, Diwali brings millions of people together every year for a five day celebration of love, compassion, and empathy. Originally a purely religious holiday, Diwali is now celebrated among members of the South Asian Diaspora of many faiths. In the queer community, People of Color are pushed to the sidelines, often struggling to find their place in a community that is meant to be open and accepting to all queer people. In honor of acceptance and compassion celebrated during Diwali, here are three South Asian queer couples. Menaka Guruswamy and Arundhati Katju, the two lawyers responsible for overturning Section 377 of India’s penal code, which criminalized homosexuality. In 2018, they went before the Indian Supreme Court and successfully argued that Section 377 does not apply to relations between two consenting queer adults. Katju and Guruswamy said that their work on the 2018 case brought them closer together, and publicly came out as a couple in 2019. Amit Shah and Aditya Madiraju were married in New Jersey in 2019. Being a gay couple and having a traditional Desi wedding in a Hindu temple, Shah and Madiraju recognize how significant their ceremonies were. “The fact that the ceremony took place at a temple under religious observation is a huge thing for our community. I guess it is unheard of, and we didn’t realize the impact it would have.”, said Shah. Anjali Chakra and Sundas Malik, a queer couple living in New York, celebrated their one year anniversary earlier this year. As a Hindu-Muslim lesbian couple, their photoshoot from their anniversary, entitled ‘A New York Love Story’, was an act of resistance, both as being lesbians of color showing love in public, as well as coming from religious groups that have historically been at odds with each other. ‘...when a whole group of people don’t get representation in the media, simply existing openly as a member of that group makes a difference.’, said the couple in August.
Today is Intersex Awareness Day! Here are 8 facts about being intersex. Sources used: @anickians @pidgeo_n @interact_adv @intersexjusticeproject see below for a transcription of the graphics. 1. Intersex is an umbrella term used to describe people who are born with biological variations in their sex characteristics that don't fit female or male categories. 2. There is no one way to be intersex. An intersex person can have traits which affect their chromosomes, hormones and/or internal and external genetalia. 3. Being intersex occurs as a natural biological variation in as much as 1.79% of the population. 4. Intersex people face medical violence. The medical system often views intersex people as something to be erased or corrected by forcing intersex bodies to undergo surgery or hormone therapy. 5. Intersex people should be allowed autonomy over their bodies. They should not be forced to have surgery or hormone therapy in order to conform to a male or female gender. 6. Surgery or hormone therapy is okay if it is your personal decision to give consent. 7. Being intersex is not the same as being transgender. An intersex person has a variation at their internal or external sex characteristics, whereas a person who is transgender identifies with a different gender than they were assigned at birth, but their visible sex characteristics tend to fit female or male categories. 8. Some intersex characteristics are identified at birth, while others may not discover they have intersex traits until later in life or never at all. #intersexawarenessday #intersex #intersexisbeautiful #endforcedintersexsurgery
Here is how YOU can show up for our intersex family on Intersex Awareness Day this Saturday. 1. Head over to the @intersexjusticeproject where they list out 26 clear call to actions. Most of them require zero activism experience, can be done by one person and have a huge impact. 2. Join the @voices4ldn Rally! 3. Join the @Voices4berlin rally! ————- What is Intersex: “Intersex” refers to people who are born with any of a range of physical sex characteristics that don’t fit typical notions about male or female bodies. Variations may be in their chromosomes, genitals, or internal organs like testes or ovaries. Some intersex traits are identified at birth, while others may not be discovered until puberty or later in life. As many as 1.7% of people are born with intersex traits – about the same number who are born with red hair. What does “Intersex Surgery” mean: For many years, medicine has viewed babies born with atypical sex characteristics as needing to be “fixed.” Approximately 1 in 2000 babies are born intersex and at risk of early unnecessary medical intervention – extensive, involuntary surgeries for no other reason than to make their bodies conform to traditional notions of what it means to be male or female. Many of these surgeries change the appearance or sexual function of a child’s genitals such as clitoral reductions, removal of functional testes, and vaginoplasties. The vast majority of these surgeries are not medically necessary and should instead be delayed until the individual can decide whether cosmetic surgery is wanted. Some intersex people grow up without ever knowing about the procedures they underwent as children. Others were told that surgery was necessary, only to find out later that this was not true. Why this is an OUTRAGE: These medical interventions often cause physical and psychological harm.
🚨 Calling all UK folx 🚨 !!! Join our London siblings @voices4ldn on Saturday 26th October 2-4pm for their 1st ever rally in solidarity with Intersex people! Show up, bring signs, be loud!! . Organised in response to a Call to Action from @intersexjusticeproject and @pidgeo_n #endforcedintersexsurgery . ********Accessibility info******* Closest step-free station: Tottenham court road (northern and central line) 230m/ 760ft away Closest bus: routes 55, 73, 98 and 390 all 140m/460 ft away If you can't stand for long, there are several benches with back support across the garden For wheelchair users: there are no clear dropped kerbs around the park; the west entrance has the shortest sidewalk BSL interpreter will be present ******************
Happy International Pronouns day from the Voices 4 global team! 💖 Art by @hellomynameiswednesday
Reposting from @voices4berlin 🗣 MARCHING WITH @QUEERSFORFUTURE AT THE GLOBAL CLIMATE STRIKE . It was so much fun and a massive amount of people came together. We have to realize that our freedom to be queer and the protection of our environment are not seperate causes. They are interconected and ironically, it's the same political forces that give us and the planet a hard time.
LIVE FROM TRANS PRIDE UK!!! Follow @voices4ldn for more! ___________ For our non British members we'd like to give some context on why Trans Pride UK is such a big deal. Friend of Voices4 and queer hero @munroebergdorf told @Beninldn of the BBC that "Being a trans person in the UK at the moment is like being a second class citizen". _ Another queeroe @thomaspagemcbee wrote an article about British transphobia for @them. He explained "the relationship between the trans community and British news media has become increasingly toxic. Headlines in major U.K. papers routinely slander trans people as “dangerous” “extremists” and “trolls”; it’s not uncommon to see trans-exclusionary radical feminists (TERFs) debate trans people on television over dog-whistle issues like cis women’s safety in public spaces...Then there’s the dangerous rhetoric of transphobic U.K.-based writers, who are given a legitimate platform by a culture that prides itself on fostering “debate.” In the same article McBee interviewed Morgan M. Page, an artist and writer who recently moved to London from the U.S who said " a small group of vocal TERFs happen to be syndicated columnists in liberal media, giving them a platform to paint trans adults as sexual predators, and trans children as victims of political correctness run mad". The main difference between our two countries, Page says, is that “while trans people are bogeymen in the U.S. primarily for evangelicals and Trump voters, here in the U.K. we are attacked with far more intensity by TERFs who have ensconced themselves within leftist politics and media.” ___ Trans people are under attack in every part of the world and the UK is no exception. It is our ENTIRE communities obligation to show up for our ENTIRE community. SEE YOU ON THE 14TH! __________
WHAT: Join Voices4 Berlin and travel to Szczecin, Poland for the town’s second Pride Parade amidst the growing queerphobia in Poland from the nationalist government, the Catholic Church, and far-right political movements. If you can’t go show some love to @lambda.szczecin WHEN/ WHERE: Szczecin is only two hours away from Berlin. Voices4Berlin will take the train on September 14th at a discounted rate of 5,80€ per person. WHY: Last October, Lambda Szczecin’s pride display at a street fair in Szczecin was violently destroyed by right-wing protestors. A climate of homophobia is strongly present in the small town, and this year’s pride parade needs all of the support it can gather. Tim Hume for Vice explains “Advocacy groups, opposition politicians, and the country’s independent human rights commissioner say Law and Justice — the right-wing populist party that has governed Poland since 2015 — has made attacking the LGBTQ community a central part of its platform ahead of upcoming national parliamentary elections in October, painting gay rights as a dangerous, alien ideology that threatens the traditional, Catholic Polish family” First video features violence from a pride march earlier this year in Poland.
LONDON TRANS PRIDE: THE MARCH - September 14th! @voices4ldn explains "On September 14th, history will be made as thousands of trans+ people and allies line the streets of London for the first time, in the name of trans visibility and equality. The event is being organized by trans-activist group @wearetransmissions and you can follow @londontranspride for any updates." ___________ For our non British members we'd like to give some context on why Trans Pride UK is such a big deal. Friend of Voices4 and queer hero @munroebergdorf told @Beninldn of the BBC that "Being a trans person in the UK at the moment is like being a second class citizen". _ Another queeroe @thomaspagemcbee wrote an article about British transphobia for @them. He explained "the relationship between the trans community and British news media has become increasingly toxic. Headlines in major U.K. papers routinely slander trans people as “dangerous” “extremists” and “trolls”; it’s not uncommon to see trans-exclusionary radical feminists (TERFs) debate trans people on television over dog-whistle issues like cis women’s safety in public spaces...Then there’s the dangerous rhetoric of transphobic U.K.-based writers, who are given a legitimate platform by a culture that prides itself on fostering “debate.” In the same article McBee interviewed Morgan M. Page, an artist and writer who recently moved to London from the U.S who said " a small group of vocal TERFs happen to be syndicated columnists in liberal media, giving them a platform to paint trans adults as sexual predators, and trans children as victims of political correctness run mad". The main difference between our two countries, Page says, is that “while trans people are bogeymen in the U.S. primarily for evangelicals and Trump voters, here in the U.K. we are attacked with far more intensity by TERFs who have ensconced themselves within leftist politics and media.” ___ Trans people are under attack in every part of the world and the UK is no exception. It is our ENTIRE communities obligation to show up for our ENTIRE community. SEE YOU ON THE 14TH! __________
LONDON TRANS PRIDE: THE MARCH @Voices4Ldn “On September 14th, history will be made as thousands of trans+ people and allies line the streets of London for the first time, in the name of trans visibility and equality. The event is being organised by trans-activist group @wearetransmissions and you can follow @londontranspride for any updates." Swipe ⏩ to check all the details and see you then, we will be there🦞 📸: @poppythewitch
Today, @Voices4Ldn attended a Kiss-In and Vigil in Parliament Square. Protesting the 150% increase in LGBTQI+ hate crimes in the UK between 2014 and 2018, the action was called by Queer Power, the Gay Liberation Front, and other London-based queer activist groups. Visit Voices4 London and @HelloMyNameIsWednesday’s Instagram Stories to hear a recap of the action and view more photos. REPOST from @Voices4Ldn: @ellen__jones writes "There was a time that I couldn’t hold a girls hand when out in public out of fear of abuse. I would like to say that I don’t have to live in fear anymore, but given that anti-LGBTQ+ hate crime has risen 150% in recent years, it is hard to be anything but terrified. Our current prime minister is known to be homophobic, sexist, racist and yet still he leads this country, still he grows and grows in power whilst more and more people are threatened by his governance and the rule of the Conservative party. But the rise in anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric is far from new and far from being specific to this country. Across the world right now LGBTQ+ are facing persecution from both their own governments as well as from individuals and organised groups. Despite all of this, I still have some hope left. Maybe it’s because I know that battles have been fought and won in the past that mean I can acknowledge my queerness in public without fear of being arrested, that when I am older any children I have won’t be taken from me by the state because I am gay, that I will able to be myself at work, in education, when at the hospital. We cannot forget that these were not so within my parents lifetime. LGBTQ+ faced all of these things in living memory and continue to face discrimination, particularly if they are trans, a person of colour, a person of faith or an immigrant. Right now I am somehow more scared than I have ever been and more hopeful than I have ever been. Bigots want us to be scared, to hide away and if I can guarantee one thing, it is that we are not going anyways. We are here, we are queer, we are fabulous, don’t fuck with us. Queer love & strength, always 🌈🌈🌈 " . 📸: @hellomynameiswednesday
Join our British chapter @Voices4Ldn and stand up against Queerphobia and anti-Queer violence THIS FRIDAY at a Kiss-In and Vigil in Westminster. Queer lives are under attack, and now is the time to act. For more information, see below or follow @Voices4Ldn. Photo by @mattxiv From @Voices4Ldn: WHEN – Friday 16th August 2019 5.30-7PM WHERE – Parliament Square, London WHY – There has been a nearly 150% increase in anti-LGBT hate crime in the UK between 2014 and 2018. Reports have been growing of LGBT-phobic attacks all over the UK, including London. Two thirds of LGBT+ people are wary of showing affection to their same-sex partners in public. Protests against diversity in education have been seen outside schools in Birmingham, and this is spreading. These attacks are legitimised by the attitudes and actions of mainstream politicians. We have an unelected prime minister who calls gay men bum-boys and appoints a cabinet full of homophobes and racists. Boris Johnson is not a lone bigot leading a nation. Trump’s first action as US president was to ban trans people from the military. Bolsonaro’s thugs murder LGBT people in Brazil as he declares he would rather have a dead son than a gay son. Putin’s death camps for LGBT people are an international horror. Italy, Hungary, Turkey and Poland are also seeing rising state and street attacks on LGBT people. Speakers so far, more TBC: @ejel_khan n, Muslim LGBT Network Jaroslaw Kubiak Polish Rainbow in th UK, Polish LGBT Network Michael Dance, National Educaiton Union LGBT+ National Organising Forum Officer (personal capacity) Sean Dewey, organising committee, @waltham.forest.pride @ashley_joiner – film-maker ACCESS: Parliament Square Gardens are an open area adjacent to Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament. The surfaces are level and provide for easy wheelchair access. Westminster is a step free station and is 50 metres away. St James park is 1/2 mile away. We are operating in an area opposite parliament that is usually heavily policed.