Bug Chasers UpdateThe "Bug Chasers" story reported in Rolling Stone magazine and mentioned in this space about a week ago has. predictably, caused quite a brouhaha in certain circles. Of course the gays have mobilized to deny the story. They have such a bug in their bonnet that some have even taken the time to repeatedly email little old me for a retraction. After some consideration, I felt that the subject had to be revisited.
Jann Wenner, publisher of Rolling Stone, and himself openly gay, and Gregory Freeman, writer of the story, both stand by the story. Other sources have attacked only the number of cases of theis bizarre behavior. No responsible source I could find refutes the fact that there are some gay men who seek out infection by the virus. Only the numbers, which were quopted as either 10,000 cases per year, or 25% of all cases, have been disputed. The larger phenomenon of gay men who don't take any precautions to avoid infection is also not disputed. In fact, one of the most popular bloggers has been outed, by gays, of course, as an HIV positive man who sought out "bareback" sex himself, and he is one of those in the forefront of denying the "Bug Chaser" story.
Once more the Emperor is seen to be without raiment. The obvious truth is that gay men participate in behavior that the rest of this society sees as bizarre, and that breaks some of our strongest taboos, every day. No doubt there are other behaviors that some gay men participate in that we would also find strange. But there is no disputing the fact that some gay men willfully pursue the virus, others fly so close to the flame that they defy the virus, others are in denial about the mere existence of the virus, and some claim that the virus itself is harmless. What amazes me is the degree to which some people are willing to go to deny these obvious truths. I have some gay friends, and most of them are willing to just mind their business in sexual matters. I am a straight man, and I don't make an issue of how, where, why, and with whom I have sex, or even if I ever indulge in the sex act at all. But there are some people who make quite an issue of their, and other's, sexuality. I say: it's a free country, and we are free to say and believe whatever we like. And to my new correspondents: don't expect any more of a "retraction" than that.