Letters to the editor

VOLUME 2, ISSUE 47 | November 27–december 3, 2003

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

THE LGBT CENTER’S FORUM ON HIV

November 19, 2003

To the Editor:

Harvey Fierstein must be burned out from providing his talents, time, money and celebrity status. (Gay City News, November 20-26, 2003) He is wondering why the infection rate is going up with no improvements in sight. Harvey is questioning himself on an issue that is dear to his heart and he is looking for some answers.

Harvey went on the Center’s stage, with his mind set on: “No scandals tonight please.” The very first announcement to the audience from Harvey was not to get personal and please audience, don’t attack anybody. Harvey must have felt a lot of pressure having to say that. Unfortunately with that opening statement the community was told to keep issues that could have made a difference outside.

The beautiful voices of the community were heard and applauded, but nobody on the panel can put it to use. No forum follow-up, no future discussions, no place to go.

This forum made a point but missed the point and is sending the wrong messages to our community. By asking the community to check their opinions outside the room, it opened the door for the AIDS organizations to sit on their chairs feeling only a little nervous. At least one of them. They gave us their spiel and lies, without giving us the opportunity to challenge them. I am afraid that the forum encouraged AIDS organizations in our community to continue to divide us and give us a bad reputation in society.

They continue to add to our crises.

I felt the pain all night in the room, but I also felt the hope and the energy that something good is going to happen very soon. That was the best I took away from that evening.

Meetings of this nature are short term and not thought through. All they do is hype us up with no place to go after that meeting. If we, the LGBT community, don’t provide us with a platform to challenge our community, what reason do we give them to change anything. We only boost their confidence and they give themselves promotions with a raise after they got caught and they laugh all the way to the bank.

Only two AIDS organizations were present at the panel. The very best and the worst of NYC’s AIDS organizations.

A true inspiration to the LGBT community is Dennis deLeon from the Latino Commission on AIDS. Dennis is the best the LGBT community has to offer in activism and leadership.

Also present was Michael Robertson, representing Gary English from the People of Color in Crises, and in crises they sure are. Listening to both speakers made it clear that Mr. deLeon has the vision.

Because of POCC, GMAD and GMHC, we don’t get enough funding anymore. I hold them responsible for the community in crises, the bad reputation they build in the society at large and leaving the community confused — resulting in HIV affection rates going up across the community. They compete against each other for the grant money, to the point where they don’t even support each other’s events, because of personal reasons.

Our community-based organizations operate like corporations. The sense of community support and community respect has been taken off the board room agenda. Many lost focus and they forget that they are working for a community-based organization. They are greedy and they made us slaves to corporate America and government institutions. Our community depends on them like people depend on crystal meth, causing the HIV infection rate going up in the white community.

In closing I would like to say that if our community-based organizations and community leadership were doing it right, there would be enough noise and enough money to go around.

Wolfgang Busch

Via the Internet

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