When the Silence is Not Our Own: Facing Invisibility as Black, Queer, and Trans

By Shaan Michael Wade, Intern, Communications, NASTAD

In recognition of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD) and Black History Month, NASTAD created a blog series to highlight voices within the Black community which often may remain silent, go unheard and are currently bearing the burden of the HIV epidemic: Black gay men/MSM, young Black gay men/MSM, members of the Black transgender community and Black women. We hope this blog series will serve as a springboard for even richer conversations and bring true awareness to National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. The previous blog posts in the series can be found below: 

In 1977, Audre Lorde posited that our silence will not protect us. While the silence is slowly coming to an end for some, for others it is overwhelming. The silence we endure is not always our own. As a Black female-to-male transgender person—or trans man—who has sex with cisgender (non-transgender) men, I am often rendered invisible by the miseducation of my peers, professionals and society.

In 2013, I moved to Washington, D.C., a city that consistently ranks as one of the top five impacted by the domestic HIV epidemic. Until a close friend became positive, I had never questioned my own risk of infection. Despite the social desexualization of transgender men, I had a very active sex life. Can I actually become infected with HIV? Continue reading

Interview: My Life as a Young, Black, Gay Man Impacted by HIV in the South

By Darion Banister, NASTAD Youth Ambassador

Darion BanisterIn recognition of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD) and Black History Month, NASTAD created a blog series to highlight voices within the Black community which often may remain silent, go unheard and are currently bearing the burden of the HIV epidemic: Black gay men/MSM, young Black gay men/MSM, members of the Black transgender community and Black women. We hope this blog series will serve as a springboard for even richer conversations and bring true awareness to National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. The previous blog posts in the series can be found below: 

In my experience working with young people there exist a different form of bias called adultism. When I learned about this term it resounded in me because not only have I been guilty of it, but I have also experienced it in my life and continue to hear the stories from NASTAD Youth Ambassadors on this issue. Adultism is the disrespect of the young, consideration of young people being less important to adults, dismissal of youth issues, and exclusion of young people as decision makers. Incorporating youth in all steps of youth programming is key for success. NASTAD Youth Ambassadors serve as leaders in their respective communities who are doing innovative work to improve the well-being of other gay men. In order to serve our youth to help meet their needs, the NASTAD Youth Ambassadors program seeks to facilitate new opportunities for young gay men to partner with health departments. For this blog series, and thinking about overlooked voices, we consulted Darion Banister, a NASTAD Youth Ambassador about his experience living in the Southern region of the United States as a young, Black, gay man.  Continue reading

I Have My Protection—And It’s Not a Condom

By Blake Rowley, Manager, Health Equity & Prevention, NASTAD

Originally published by The Black AIDS Institute

Blake Rowley

Blake Rowley

Like most other Black men, I have had extremely inconsistent engagement with healthcare. If I’m not sick, why go? Until recently, the only time I really cared to access any type of care was when I was getting tested for HIV and other STIs.

In 2012, while conducting research at Fenway Health, I learned that multiple studies were trying to assess how effective taking one pill, once a day, would be at preventing HIV infection. My colleagues and I would joke about taking this pill once it became available, if it was successful. And then “BOOM,” there it was—a one-a-day pill that could prevent HIV by close to 100 percent. Continue reading

NASTAD at NAESM 2015

By Drew Daniels, Manager, Communications, NASTAD

NASTAD is excited to announce that we will be in attendance at the 2015 National African American MSM Leadership Conference on HIV/AIDS and other Health Disparities. The conference is sponsored by National AIDS & Education Service for Minorities (NAESM), and focuses on how to address health equity and utilize social justice in order to meet the challenge of improving Black gay men’s health. The theme for this year’s conference is “Leading the Movement: Pursuing Health Equity through Social Justice.” Continue reading

Partnering with Legislators, Policymakers and Advocates to Improve Health Outcomes for Black Gay Men

By Justin T. Rush, Nicholas A. Rango Fellow, NASTAD

Georgia Sexual Health Policy SymposiumIn order to educate policymakers and community members on a number of sexual health topics, NASTAD partnered with the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD) and the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus (GLBC) to host the Georgia Sexual Health Policy Symposium on World AIDS Day, December 1, 2014. Convened with the purpose of advancing sexual health outcomes in Georgia, the symposium was an opportunity for legislators, policymakers and advocates to reverse the tide of rapidly increasing rates of STDs, including HIV amongst marginalized populations, specifically among Black gay men/MSM. Continue reading