In The Parade - A Hookup Is No Time for 'Don't Ask Don't Tell'

There is something curious and tragic going on in the United States today. I’m not talking about the recent passage of the health-care bill or the discussion about immigration reform. I’m going to call it a different form of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” fueled by websites with names that leave nothing to the imagination. These sites offer simple, no-nonsense, consensual sex. You simply log on, trade positions, hook up and go on your way.

These sites, such as Craigslist, offer a tantalizing opportunity for anonymous sex and the promise that the person you are meeting has disclosed everything from his marital status to his HIV status. Using these sites to hook up may seem tantalizing until you find that your hot anonymous partner has left you with a gift that keeps on giving. The prevalence of gay and bisexual married men or men with partners posting hookups, seeking unsafe sex and asking for anonymity is surprising, amazing, tragic and, most of all, curious.

There seems to be a wide spectrum between those who practice safe sex and those who don’t care. There are those who tell their future sexual partner of their HIV status and those who never mention it. There are those who chase the bug and those who are unaware that they carry the bug.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta tells us that that transmission occurs by sharing blood, semen, vaginal fluid, pre-ejaculate or breast milk. HIV-1 is transmitted by blood, semen and pre-ejaculate, and HIV-2 is spread from mother to child via breast milk. I think it’s safe to say that in that in the gay community, it’s not breast milk that we have to fear.

A few years ago, a longtime friend of mine found himself single, middle-aged, lonely and not sure what to do or how to go forward. He eventually discovered a website dedicated to M4M hook ups, chatted for many months with a particular man, and when they finally met, they had mad, passionate sex.

I personally don’t find anything wrong with two consenting adults finding pleasure with each other and consummating the relationship with sweat and lube. After all, that’s what mad, passionate sex is all about. I do have a problem with the idea that if you don’t ask, the other man feels he doesn’t have to tell.

The CDC tells us that HIV infection has basically four states: incubation period, acute infection, latency state and AIDs. The initial incubation period upon infection is asymptomatic and usually lasts between two and four weeks. The second state, acute infection, lasts an average of 28 days and can include symptoms such as fever, swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, rash, muscle pain and esophageal sores. My friend had all of the above in abundance.

As my friend grew more pale and drawn, the medical staff at the hospital failed to diagnose the problem. Two weeks after he had entered the emergency room, they still did not run HIV tests. When the hospital finally did run tests he had spinal syphilis, among other sexually transmitted diseases. The man he had met on a M4M sex site — the one who thought “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” was a rule to live by — was the man who had changed his life forever.

As we walk for a cure, walk for funding and walk for remembrance, let us also walk for education. We need to work on the fact that those of us who don’t ask rely on those of us who don’t tell to tell.

WhistlePig + Alfa Romeo F1

SHOREHAM, VT (September 13, 2023) — WhistlePig Whiskey, the leaders in independent craft whiskey, and Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake are waving the checkered flag on a legend-worthy release that’s taking whiskey to G-Force levels. The Limited Edition PiggyBack Legends Series: Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is a high Rye Whiskey selected by the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake drivers, with barrels trialed in their wind tunnel to ensure a thrilling taste in every sip.

The third iteration in WhistlePig’s Single Barrel PiggyBack Legends Series, the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is bottled at 96.77 proof, a nod to Valtteri Bottas’ racing number, 77, and the precision of racing. Inspired by Zhou Guanyu, the first Chinese F1 driver, this Rye Whiskey is finished with lychee and oolong tea. Herbal and floral notes of the oolong tea complement the herbaceous notes of WhistlePig’s signature PiggyBack 100% Rye, rounded out with a juicy tropical fruit finish and a touch of spice.

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When I started medical transition at 20 years old, it was very difficult to get the care I needed for hormone replacement therapy because there are very few providers trained in starting hormones for trans people, even though it’s very similar to the hormones that we prescribe to women in menopause or cisgender men with low testosterone.

I hope more providers get trained in LGBTQ+ healthcare, so they can support patients along their individual gender journey, and provide the info needed to make informed decisions about their body. I’ve personally seen my trans patients find hope and experience a better quality of life through hormone replacement therapy.

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Descanso Resort, Palm Springs' premier destination for gay men, just received Tripadvisor's highest honor, a Travelers' Choice "Best of the Best" award for 2023. Based on guests' reviews and ratings, fewer than 1% of Tripadvisor's 8 million listings around the world receive the coveted "Best of the Best" designation. Descanso ranked 12th in the top 25 small inns and hotels category in the United States. Quite an accomplishment!

Open less than two years, Descanso Resort offers gay men a relaxing and luxurious boutique hotel experience just minutes away from Palm Springs' buzziest restaurants, nightclubs, and shopping. Descanso has quickly established itself as a top destination for sophisticated gay travelers, earning hundreds of 5-star guest reviews and consistently ranking in Trapadvisor's top positions alongside brother properties Santiago Resort and Twin Palms Resort.

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