Saturday, October 20, 2012

Hetrick Martin Institute Emery Awards After Party!!!!!

Brandon Lacy Campos (HMI Young Professionals Council) and partner Nicolas Gérard invite you to join us for the Hetrick-Martin Institute's Emery Awards After Party. Each year, after the formal dinner, when the bow ties are loosened and award
s have been awarded, the real fun begins.

And talk about partying for a cause. The Emery Awards After Party is an amazing soiree featuring an open bar with the finest assortment of top shelf beverages, a rockin' gift bag, and featuring DJ Andy Bell of Erasure fame...and this year there will be a live performance by an artist sponsored by MTV...wanna know who? Lemme tell you how.

Not only will you get an amazing party out of the price of a ticket (that costs no more than a dinner out on the town), but also you will be supporting the Harvey Milk High School, which provides a comprehensive high school environment for at-risk queer, trans, and questioning youth. HMI and the Harvey Milk School serve more than 2,000 young people a year through a variety of social services, arts, education, and political organizing efforts.

Tickets are $125 each, but a portion of each ticket is tax deductible, and, though it is a significant sum of money for many folks, it is no more than the price of a good dinner and after dinner drinks on a Friday night in Manhattan...without the show, goodies, free booze and queer/trans gliteratti. On October 29th choose to spend that night out with us.

Buy your tickets at Tell them Brandon and Nico sent you.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Poetry to Pay the Rent (and a new book project)

So as folks know, I recently left my job at Queers for Economic Justice. The hope is that this is a step towards my dream of becoming a full time writer and performer at some point in the not so distant future, but most definitely, in the immediate future, it is time to finish the edits on my novel, Eden Lost, and send that along to my publisher and to start pulling together the poetry (and more art from David Berube) for my second poetry collection: Songs My Ancestors Sing To Me When I Am Dreaming.

Making the first (little) big steps towards sitting in a cabin somewhere in the woods (but not too far from the city) and writing full time (ish) realigning the work that I am doing in the world to bring that eventual reality to manifestation.

The immediate repercussions of being unemployed is that I am also unencumbered of income to work on this project and pay for pesky things like food and rent.

And please don't get me started on the IRS and what they just did to what little money I had left.

So I am turning to you, my community, to help me make Songs My Ancestors Sing To Me When I Am Dreaming by asking you to support my work on this project over the next two months.

Thanks to the good folks at Tufts University, Rutgers University, and Bethany College, I will have by the beginning of December enough funds to cover most of my expenses from October and November from  invitations to speak at these institutions. It is my hope to use October and November, while I am in the hiring process for a new and exciting position, to write and really focus on this book project while the copy edits are being done on Eden Lost (and, a portion of the money I raise through this effort will go to support paying said copy editor, Kamal Fizazi). In order to really be able to focus on this work (and eat, have a phone and a place to sleep), I need to raise $3,000 from you, my readers and the folks that have, for so long, supported my work between now and December 1.

The benefit to you is this:

1. The good feeling of helping break the starving artist paradigm (its a myth, we love to eat).
2. For every donation of $25 or more, you will receive a personal haiku written for you!
3. For every donation of $50 or more, you will receive a signed copy of my book, It Ain't Truth If It Doesn't Hurt and a haiku!
4. For a donation of $100 or more you get all of the above as well as put on a list for an advanced signed copy of Eden Lost once it goes into publication!
5. And for a donation of $250 or more, you will receive all that, a bag of chips (really I will send you a bag of chips), PLUS your name listed as a funding partner in Songs My Ancestors Sing To Me When I Am Dreaming along with a signed copy once it too goes into publication.

Any support that you can provide from $5 to $500 will be greatly appreciated and valued. Investing in artists is good for the soul and it is also good for community. Poetry is part of our life blood but unfortunately poets are often spirit rich and dollar poor. If a poem of mine or anything else that I have written has spoken to you or your experience, please consider making a gift via PayPal today: and you can find me via my email address: brandonlacycampos at yahoo dot com.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Clean; You be Too aka FUCK YOU BIYOTCH!

Pardon my French (I love saying that now that I have a Frenchy partner), but the next time you are posting an ad for a piece of ass or a dick for that ass and you post that you are clean and looking for clean, I sure hope you mean that you have washed your ass in bleach and are looking for someone that has done the same....because if you are using "clean" to refer to yourself as being HIV negative, then let me be so kind as to tell you that the connotative definition of your identity is that being HIV positive is dirty.

Considering that I take up to three showers a day, I dare you to prove that you are cleaner than I am. You are very likely to be much more ignorant (ignant in ghetto speak) than I am, but cleaner. I doubt it.

Confused? Every single motherfucker walking around this planet is carrying some sort of communicable virus. Nearly 20% of everyone walking around is positive for genital herpes and if you include canker sores and cold sores, which is the same herpes simplex (yes canker sores and the sore on your cock or anus are exactly the same virus)...then by your own definition you ain't clean. And, PS Chicken Pox is a form of herpes.

Need more clarity, 98% of humans have some type of herpes simplex one or two, 20% have genital herpes and 50-80% have oral herpes (chancer sores), which means, biyotch that you most likely do too.

But I digress.

Today, I reposted a great ad from Mr. Friendly, an amazing human being/ad campaign that is looking to fight HIV stigma. It was all about the word clean used to describe people that are HIV negative. I had a note in my phone to write a blog on the word clean, and I have for a month. That ad/meme today gave me the motivation I needed to do so.

I am clean. I am very damn clean. I just took a shower. And if my own God said that it isn't want you put IN your body that makes you unclean but what comes out of it (spiritually) then no virus can possibly make me unclean. But your willful, hurful and ugly ignorance sure can piss me off.

And don't get me started on this ads that are looking for bareback sex but only with "clean," individuals. Lord don't get me started. I have written extensively on the right of all people to engage in natural aka bareback sex...and I personally love it and have practiced it in an informed manner with harm reduction strategies, but HIV has nothing to do with whether or not a person is clean, nor does skin color, gender, religion or any other category that has been, over the ages, been described as or segregated as socially and culturally dirty.

You want an end to HIV, that starts with an end to stigma, and the smallest way you can do your part besides staying negative is by being an ally to folks living with HIV and eliminating word choices that reinforce ugly and hateful paradigms that scream OTHER, OUTCAST, UNCLEAN.

Seen those words before? Yeah, they have been used to refer to everyone from lepers to members of the Untouchable caste. Every person, from cradle to grave is clean and worthy of love and no one enjoys a monopoly on being pure or pristine. Your actions determine your spiritual health, not your HIV status and surely not any other diagnosis that carries stigma.

Clean? Yeah I am clean. Now if you want to talk about my bedroom or the mutant dust bunnies under my bed, then we can have a conversation.

Check yourself...or I promise you...I will.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Volttage: A Dating and Hook Up Site for POZitively Sexy People

Back in late April-ish, my Facebook wall was bombarded by several of my loved ones that posted a call for HIV positive models to participate in a new project that Jack Mackenroth, the HIV positive gay man of Project Runway fame and with a boogina that makes me think of sin and putting on a bib. FIRE IN THE HOLE!

Oops sorry...that was my outside voice.

Anywho, several of my friends encouraged me to send Jack some of my pictures for this project. He was looking for HIV positive models, and my first response to my friends was....ummm 1) I am not a model, 2) You are asking me to send half naked pictures, sober, not on a sex site, with the possibility that I could end up half naked on a website for the entire world to see, 3) do you EVEN know me.

I love rejection just about as much as I love failure. Rejection, which is a main component of the impact of stigma on people living with HIV, becomes more than just a "shitty" moment for those of us living with the red rider. Rejection becomes the default for many of our interactions with folks in the community in whom we may have interest. Show me a poz man that hasn't experienced at at least half a dozen instances of shocking and hurtful ignorance when disclosing his status, and I will show you the magical leprechaun that I keep chained in my pantry making Lucky Charms whenever I have a hankering.

So, imagine, then submitting your pictures to a famous stud with no body fat and asking him to MAKE A judgment on your attractiveness.

Yeah...ummm...while I have a healthy and sometimes overly healthy ego, the one place that breaks down is around my body, but...BUT....I thought what the Hell, and I sent the pictures along. Nothing special, just some shots I took with Photo Booth on my Mac.

I don't think it even took five minutes for Jack to respond booking me for the shoot.

Besides my ego there was a very specific reason that I made the choice to submit my photos. The project Jack was working on was a well developed, sexy, fun dating and hook up site and app for HIV positive queer men. In the light of my personal and political work over the last year or so, and recalling the times when I failed to disclose and the shame, guilt, and holy Hell that created, I decided to put my own body image shit aside to be a part of this project.

A hook up site with financial backing that is aimed at eliminating stigma and supporting the HIV positive is the critical piece...holding up and recognizing that HIV positive people GET to be sexual beings, GET to be human, GET to be loved, GET to objects of desire, and GET to look in the mirror and feel wanted.

You see, it's a rare HIV positive person that doesn't get their diagnosis and spend a little time or the rest of their lives reduced to their disease. And...AND...unlike any other communicable and potential life threatening disease (HPV, Hepatitis C, and so many others) HIV is the ONLY one that is criminalized, and it is the only one where all of the public health strategies are aimed at one thing: stopping HIV positive people from having sex or putting so much fear and shame into positive folks that they have sex rarely and furtively. Well, we all know just how much that has worked out. All the scientific data has shown that FEAR is never an effective tool for prevention. And criminalizing a virus  aka a basic identity of a person living with the virus is exactly the same as criminalizing religion, race, creed, etc. And before anyone out there opens their mouth to say, "HEY...but you can't infect someone with "blackness." Well, guess what...until 30 odd years ago, miscegenation laws existed EXACTLY because white folks viewed the mixing of the races as "infecting" white folks with blackness.

Yes, there is an obligation to disclose your HIV status. But an obligation to disclose does NOT absolve YOU from making a sexual choice that you later regret. Except the cases of rape or incest or maybe an intentionally needle stick, the transmission of HIV should play absolutely no factor in the criminal legal system. In fact, it is has been shown to keep people from getting tested.

Smooth move straight folks. Bigotry wins again.

But, again, I digress.

So, about a month later, I showed up to an apartment in Brooklyn where Jack asked me to strip down to my underwear (I wasn't wearing any), and then he said, "No problem," and pulled out a stack of maybe 60 pairs.

Fashion gays are out of control.

In the end, the photos turned out ABSOLUTELY amazing. And two days ago the site went live. On the first day 500 people signed up for it. This really will be a game changer. The first step to building power in any community is first claiming your own empowered space. Thank you to Jack for helping the community take it first steps at reclaiming our pozitively sexiness!

Much love. Check it out: