My HIV Diary: Changing Through Leather, Week 33

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Ryan Dixon (a.k.a former porn star Kameron Scott) has started taking HIV medication. He’s keeping a diary of his experience.

Being in my mid-20’s isn’t easy, add HIV on top of that and we have one hell of a complicated life. I’m making the best out of the hand life has dealt me and the decisions I’ve made along the way. Writing helps free my mind. Hopefully these words will help you understand the plight of others like myself, and inspire you to live each and every day in the moment.

Week 33 (April 11 - April 18)

This past weekend I had an amazing time with some amazing people in Atlanta. Most of them were old friends or friends I had made on my first trip there, but this time around I feel like I met a person who put a whole bunch of things into perspective.

Depending on how many of my Facebook photos you’ve looked at, you may or may not know that I am an actively participating member of the leather community. Leather people are just one of the many sub groups that are found within the LGBT community, and they are honestly my favorite. One of the people I met this weekend was named Dylan.

Besides being a student and a young man out on his own, Dylan is the co-chair of Team Friendly Atlanta. I was so amazed that someone my age was just as – if not more—passionate about HIV stigma and awareness as he is. I have to admit, I did flirt and when I disclosed my status to him, it was like it was nothing. His simple response of “I play safe” resounded within me, erasing any fears I had about what his perception of me would be.

My dating life is often a troubling one. Not only do I have to wonder if a person is going to accept my HIV status, but let’s face it, not many 25 year olds like getting tied up and flogged just for fun. I’ve found the leather community so welcoming and loving, and not just Dylan. He’s just a prime example of what a little bit of education and compassion can do. When I tell someone that I’m positive and all they’re concerned about is if I’m going to bottom for them or not is refreshing.

I went to Atlanta to have some fun with leather folk that I don’t often get to see. What I go instead of a single tail whipping was an eye opening experience as to what it really takes to change the world. The perception of HIV isn’t going to change overnight, but when a community bands together like Dylan and Atlanta has, amazing things will happen.