Let me start by saying that if five Toronto gay men are indeed dead, and have been murdered by a serial killer during the last five years, then they and their families have my heartfelt sympathy. But that's not what this article is about.
What upsets me is the way the problem of "missing gay men'\" is being handled by the straight and gay communities at large.
I tuned into the CBC today, and there was lots of concern being expressed about these missing men.
Then, they posted a 'profile' of some of the men.
The physical description of each of the men was followed by this: "frequently used Grindr and Scruff phone apps."
Now I wanted you to imagine for a minute, that several women had been found sexually assaulted and then murdered. And let's say that information about them was posted on CBC and it said "known to be promiscuous" after several of the names.
There would be outrage, right?
But it's okay if there's a missing gay man to mention that he frequently went online looking for sex.
The CBC stated these 'facts' about the missing gay men's private lives are all in the name of helping out. The posting was followed by a lecture given by a member of the gay community saying things like "These apps can be dangerous. If you pick up someone online and something happens to you, there may be no way to trace you or find you. It's a good idea, if you pick someone up online, to make sure and get their email, that way the person can be traced."
Oh what a great idea. The next time somebody wants to go down on me, I'll ask him to give me his email address, just in case.
This is homophobia pure and simple. What happened to us is this. AIDS appeared in the early 1980s. There was an anti-sex backlash. Gay men became afraid to pick up gay men in bars, they feared that they might get AIDS and die. But gay men do need to have sex with other gay men, and yes, sometimes they need sex that is outside of a conventional 'relationship.' So gay men began to look for sex online. This offered not only convenience but secrecy: it's not like walking out of a gay bar with someone; no one knows who you are having sex with or how often. And if the person you pick up is HIV-positive or sketchy, you won't have friends on your case about getting AIDS or being a slut in an era when all gay men are supposed to be getting married. So, for awhile, gay men have had lots of sex by hooking up online.
But now, members of the straight community -- and uptight members of the gay community -- are declaring that online sex is dangerous.
The availability of PEP, and PrEP, pre and post-exposure prophylaxis (when utilized with condoms) have made it possible for gay men to have sex again without fear of dying of AIDS.
Anti-sex homophobes however (and some of those people can be gay men!) are now trying to stop that.
Thank you, CBC for doing your bit to drive gay sex underground, and make gay men afraid again.