[bit.listserv.gaynet] upcoming lecture

G9348712%NMSUVM1.BITNET@MITVMA.MIT.EDU (G a b r i e l) (02/09/90)

Main thesis for my lecture 2/13:

1. The great majority of men who engage in homosexual behavior also
   engage in heterosexual behavior.  THEREFORE, prevention of AIDS in the
   'general' community requires that men engaged in sex with other men do
   so safely.

2. The great majority of men who have sex with other men do not identify
   themselves as members of the 'gay community.'  And, in many locations
   there is no gay community as such.  THEREFORE, it cannot be left to
   gay leaders alone to change all those men who have sex with other
   men; it must also be a prioity of the society at large.

3. When society has attempted to change homosexual behavior, especially
   in the past but also at present, society has attempted it through
   coercion, specifically to coerce men not to have sex with other men.
   This has not worked in the past.  The effect has been to drive
   homosexual behavior into secrecy, and the effect of this is to
   increase the likelihood that the resulting behavior, anonyomous and
   promiscuous, will be unsafe.  THEREFORE, if society desires to change
   homosexual behavior, it will have to do so through persuasion.

4. Persuasion requires that the 'target' feel that the person talking to
   him is a friend, someone who cares.  On the surface, this should be
   simple; saying 'I want you to stay alive' is a powerful positive
   message.  But society's message is rarely this positive.  And there
   is a significant part of society that sees death from AIDS as
   deserved by its victims, and, in fact, that death by any means is so
   deserved by those who engage in homosexual behavior.  Although this
   part of society is not the majority, it has enough power to change
   public policy (examples: the Youth Suicide and Bias Crimes reports,
   the Senate's response to Helms amendments).  Thus, the mesage that
   society sends to homosexually active men is the message of the most
   extreme of bigots: Die.  THEREFORE, effective behavior change cannot
   happen until those who make society's decisions are brave enough to
   act independently of such bigotry.

5. The strongest reason that this bigotry continues is that most members
   of society are unaware that they have friends, relatives, and
   colleagues who are active homosexually.  THEREFORE, what may be one of
   the most effective long-term strategies towards changing people's
   behavior is for those men who have sex with other men to 'come out'
   to their close friends and relatives.  Likewise, it would be salutary
   for those who have close friends or relatives who are gay to tell
   them, 'I know.'