Unfortunately a familiar theme with some gay men is that they never know when to stop. Where to draw a line. You can see it in barebacking and chemsex. And also among those demanding PrEP.
Gradually over the decades since the AIDS crisis began in the UK in the early 1980s we’ve been fortunate to see a change in public attitudes towards the gay community. Hostility turned into acceptance and sympathy for those who had HIV.
However 2016 was the year when the greedy and nutty elements began to push too far. The widespread hostile reaction that we’ve seen towards PrEP in the media and among the general public is unlike anything since the mid-1990s.
Many people think the NHS funding this is unacceptable. It isn’t homophobia, they think that enabling and encouraging bareback sex is immoral and that NHS money can be better spent. That it’s a question of personal responsibility and decency. And quite a few LGBT people feel the same.
At the same time the newspapers are full of horrifying stories about chemsex and all the signs are that this is only going to get worse. It’s only a matter of time before media attention begins to focus on the NHS funded gay (ill)health “charity” organisations which seem to be riddled with vested interests and have failed to promote condoms and to condemn irresponsible barebacking and chemsex.
Then there are our money driven gay villages which are centres of extreme drunkenness and violence, have a huge percentage of men who are HIV+ and see an increasing number of deaths in canals and seedy saunas.
It’s frightening that fresh faced teenagers are coming out into this environment.
There’s a very real danger that public opinion will begin to turn against all of us. It seems as if things can never go back. But perhaps that’s what they thought in gay Berlin in 1930?
It’s time to clean up our act before it’s too late.