The status of the LGBTIQ community in 2012

This is a more or less random assortment of articles that interest me, but if I had to pull a uniting theme out of my, um, brain, it would be the status of the LGBTIQ community in the present moment.  That’s in relation to both mainstream politics in Australia and the United States and to the HIV epidemic.

1/ My Croakey post on the Queensland LNP defunding of Healthy Communities

Remember the bad old days when conservatives wouldn’t let teachers even mention homosexuality in case their students caught the gay?  Well, the LNP in Queensland is clearly stuck in that era, claiming that QAHC’s concern for such things as LGBTIQ youth suicide prevention shows it has ‘lost its way’ — even though it was encouraged and funded to do these things by QLD Health.

Campbell Newman’s government has announced plans to replace the HIV prevention programs, but not the suicide prevention ones: it would rather gay teenagers kill themselves than tolerate the public visibility of healthy homosexuals telling them it’s okay to be gay. Which leads me to…

2/ Bill Jesdale’s article on the evolution of his thoughts about gay marriage

One of the most thoughtful contributions to LGBTIQ health debate I’ve read in a long time.  In this account, gay marriage was a fight the conservatives picked with us — as Bill argues, they were looking for a political controversy that would sustain heteronormativity now that the closet doors had burst open.

What we might want to worry about, at this point, is the more sophisticated forms of social control that will inevitably emerge and follow in the aftermath of those blunt instruments, the closet and the fight over gay marriage.  They’re likely to involve new ways of pitting ourselves against each other, instead of LGBT against the Religious Right.  And they’ll be subtle, less visible.  One of them, as gay marriage rights spread around the world, is most likely going to be a new puritanism about promiscuity.

3/  An HIV-negative gay American man talks about taking PrEP

If you’re an Australian gay man, I’d love to hear in the comments if you’ve heard about PrEP yet.

PEP is short for post-exposure prophylaxis, meaning you start a month-long course of 2 or 3 antiretrovirals within 72 hours of a possible exposure to HIV infection.  PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis, where you take a 2-drug combination with very few side effects — one pill every day — before you have the sex that might otherwise cause your infection with HIV.

Given the expense of the drug, it will only be cost effective if it’s highly targeted, i.e. only available to people who would otherwise almost certainly become HIV-positive anyway.  That’s also why its longer term side effects, like increased risk of bone fracture, aren’t more of a strike against it.

When the debate about this strategy finally hits in Australia, listen carefully for all those people saying ‘why can’t those filthy barebackers just be boring married like me?’  That’ll be that puritanism I was talking about under 2/, above.  Its consequences come through loud and clear in this frank and cogent account of a PrEP experience from an anonymous San Francisco man.