This article was written especially for the Alternative Gay & Lesbian Zine where you can find the article in the Political & Social section.
Ever since the AIDS crisis began, there have been a group of people who have maintained (contrary to official belief) that the retrovirus known as HIV is NOT the cause of AIDS. These people have been labelled “AIDS denialists”. The media in general is littered with articles and works that support the official hypothesis that refers to these people, and the questions they have raised as: “denial”.
To find the answer to that question you have to start by thinking and looking at AIDS not in scientific terms, but push AIDS exclusively on to the political and sociological arena. There language is used in a much more complex way. It is used to talk clearly, to suggest or imply, at times even to make direct and “conditioning” comparisons through indirect language. In other words, in politics you can’t just read the lines, but you have to read in-between the lines as well to get the full picture.
The word “denial” is used to associate all the people who do not believe that HIV is the cause of AIDS with “holocaust deniers” or even “God deniers”. Can anything be more conditioning, manipulative and dishonest than that? It kills any possibility for a real and fair debate to even start. It stinks. Everyone would recognise that if they saw it. It’s what the vast majority of people would consider as “playing dirty”.
Why do we need to play dirty?
This supremely important debate has had to stay mired for a quarter of a century in a stench of censorship; deceit, dirty tricks and general denial that cannot have done us any good at all. Speaking personally it makes me feel quite sick every time I think of it.
I think it is dangerous and unacceptable that this manipulation has been used so freely and gone unchallenged by the majority of people for so long. It has been applauded and encouraged by many, it is the accepted means to deal with twenty-five years of serious questions and concerns. How is this beneficial to us as a whole and to the debate? Do we really accept this as representative of the way we think? Do we actually think in this way? Because if we did, it would be a very clear sign that we are not thinking.
Whatever you believe to be the cause of AIDS is really irrelevant here. It’s what you hold to be true to you that counts, and that’s precisely what could land you in very hot water. It can leave you ostracised and with the title of “denialist” or “murderer” dangling over your head, or even worse, as some are calling for legislation to imprison people who speak about this important issue, they say is absolutely closed and needs no more debate.
Does the HIV=AIDS debate need to put people in prison?
Apparently to protect me from the evil ways of these people who (they say) are motivated by a deep hate of humanity and life. They also do it to protect the truth. But what truth? Whose truth? Putting people in prison does not protect or reveal any truths except one: that what you are calling truth is a totally forced and false consensus based on fear, and no matter how hard one tries, and how many times it is repeated, whatever that is, it can never qualify as truth. It’s fear.
Do we need more fear in relation to HIV & AIDS?
We are also told to believe that the denialists are a bunch of stupid “nutters”, just like those who believed that the earth was flat, and that the sun went round the earth. But it was the majority who believed the earth was flat, and the centre of the universe. Everyone believed that! So in fact these so called denialists stand for quite the contrary. I would say that they are more like Galileo, a minority belief, taking on the tyranny of imposed collective belief and official dogma. Galileo was even sent to prison too. So, as you see, that comparison for the denialists does not hold well either.
So they are guilty of homophobia.
Of course some have accused them of that too.
That’s a strange accusation to put on their heads considering they are the ones claiming that a great crime may have been committed against humanity, especially against gay men, through what is termed “Iatrogenic-genocide”. How is this homophobia? Where is the homophobia…where the denial? In this light, such an accusation is ridiculous, but again, some, to tarnish their reputations, label them as unacceptable, slander them and block the debate, some fire the accusation of homophobia at them, knowing the denialists don’t have the space in the media to be able to even defend themselves. Is this not grave and worrying, considering it is done in all our names under the pretence of protecting us as gay people? This can’t be right.
It seems very ironic that when you challenge these assumptions, these conditioning labels and comparisons one by one, you find that in each case, the challenge does not make the initial accusation go away. It only seems to shift it over on to the heads of those making the accusations in the first place. Maybe that’s why they have to call people names, instead of debating the issues. Who are they really protecting? I can’t see how they are protecting me through attacking and not debating those that are trying to point out to them that they are wrong. They simply usurp the high moral ground and do not debate but attack. Have any of them ever read or seen a Greek Tragedy? Maybe they should go see one, there too everyone takes the high moral ground so they can see where it always leads to. I recommend Medea. It’s a great show, about a very angry, hurt, betrayed woman with supernatural powers, who takes on to the high moral ground when her lover leaves her for another younger woman. She is fuming. She ends up having to hack her two young boys to pieces to prove (what for her) is a high moral point. So if to start off with she was only half human, through her actions she becomes totally inhuman.
We are humans and therefore have certain limitations that gods, monsters, heroes and entities with supernatural powers don’t have, and some of us have learned to accept them gladly, with the help of every day that we live on, or every Greek Tragedy we go see. We can’t be spoken to from that high moral ground, because we know that it is completely false. We see through it. It’s just a fabricated consensus, nothing more.
People who do not believe that HIV is the cause of AIDS are “dissidents” to the official theory, and not “denialsits”. They are denying nothing at all. They “dissent” against the imposed idea that a single virus called HIV causes AIDS. If anything they are the ones being denied the platform to speak, and we the benefit of hearing what it is they have to say. This quarter of a century long stagnant state of affairs has not benefited them, and it certainly has not benefit us either.
I say let’s hear the “dissidents” too and have no more “denying” of any kind and from any side. No more censorship. No more fear. No more shame.
PS. I thank the zine for giving me the chance to express these views here and on a clean slate, without any conditioning or accusatory title to justify them such as “denialist” or “mureder”. It’s a sign that maybe the times are truly changing.