Brad C. Asks: how do you deal with uneducated people, the ones that want to shame you and run for being positive?

I just love your blog. I really enjoy how you live your life so authentically, owning who you are.

My question is how do you deal with uneducated people, the ones that want to shame you and run for being positive? I meet more guys than I can count that are down for having a “good time”, right up until I tell them my status.

Trying to educate them doesn’t seem to work, so what is the best way to handle this? Not disclosing isn’t an option.
— Brad C.

Hi Brad C.,

First of all, I love that you consider "not disclosing" as "not an option."  With so many poz guys being undetectable and so many negative guys being on PrEP, some folks don't consider it necessary to disclose anymore.  I have a theory that when we stop talking about things, miseducation and stigma prevails.

I am not on the apps these days, unfortunately I am too busy for it.  But yes, I did encounter those kinds of guys who would potentially run away.  And yes, I did have a method on how to approach it.  It was a two prong approach where I combined empathy with one powerful fact that would draw them into actually discussing it - giving me that opportunity to educate them.

Empathy is so important when having disjunctures with others.  I mean... haven't we all misunderstood something and therefore misjudged it?  And when we have done so, how would we have wanted others to talk to us about it?  So when someone shoots me down for my status, I start off with saying something like "I understand it sounds freaky," or "I understand why you feel hesitant" - something like that.

If you follow that up with TOO much education, then the person is most likely to check out and run.  That's why I do the "one big powerful fact."   Everyone may have a different opinion on what might be the best fact to pitch.  For me, I would follow up my empathy statement with something like: "But for your safety, just know that you are actually at a higher risk of contracting HIV by trying to avoid poz guys."

This usually bated most guys into the discussion.  Sometimes it didn't.  But it made me feel better knowing that I could implant that fact into their brain and hopefully change the trajectory of their sex practices.  

If they ran away before I could say anything, then I cope with it by reminding myself that if they were THIS uneducated (and too scared to get educated), then what's the chances that they are getting tested regularly and keeping others safe?  They could unknowingly be harboring STIs that could pass on to me.  Plus that kind of attitude isn't sexy to me.  They did me a favor by not letting me accidentally have sex with a douche bucket.

Cheers,

Scott
Bare InkSlinger