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Posted by eleanor

Moving from gay liberation to mere gay rights

The problem with some AIDS activists and researchers is that their (understandably) desperate need to stop the pandemic is leading them to demand conventional morality as a panacea.

McGill University AIDS Centre director Dr. Mark A. Wainberg is a bit of a Canuck hero. But his op-ed in yesterday's Montreal Gazette (can't find it online) is a step backward: He supports same-sex marriage because instilling in gay men a belief in the importance of monogamy will save lives.

"The reasons for the high vulnerability of gay men to HIV have included higher-than-average rates of promiscuity and non-practice of safe sex. However, the loss of hundreds of thousands of gay men to HIV throughout the 1980s and 1990s had a transforming effect in regard to those same practices as younger generations rapidly understood that safe sex was an essential component of good public health policy aimed at limiting the spread of the virus. Many gay men implemented the safer sex practices that set standards for the prevention efforts that are now being implemented worldwide.

"Yet new infections continue.... Stopping HIV transmission is not a static problem but an unending battle, and one we might lose."

Wainberg says that same-sex marriage is good for gays because it will encourage them to settle down and stop screwing around. "The hope should be that young men and women, mostly in their teens, who struggle with sexual orientation, will understand that being gay is acceptable and that marriage will foster a culture of monogamy and/or stable long-lasting relationships among gay men that will reverse the trends of recent decades." Wainberg hopes that gay marriage will contribute "to increased monogamy and diminished rates of sexually-transmitted disease, values that conservatives have long claimed as their own."

Geez. Where do I start? Sleeping around is about self-hate? Marriage keeps people monogamous? We should give up on education and safer sex in favour of monogamy? In favour of fear?

No. And no. And no again.