Hola a todos, Hei til alle, Hi to all!
In 2006 two close friends died. Luis Armando were, des-choses-de-la-vie: Luis Armando Amézquita and Luis Armando Lamadrid. It was a moment when I was reminded that stigma, discrimination and illness are still around us. How could this happen? How comes that after all the information available and the known“measures” to secure a “healthy” lifestyle people were still contracting, acquiring, a virus that we all know exists and has permanent effects not just on the people directly involved but in all their surroundings?
A sort of anger, a sort of mourning, a sort of pain got me to raise these questions.
So I decided to start an inquiry, not scientific but looking for the facts that allow men get thevirus, their stories, their discourses, their behavior and the way they deal with concepts like life, love, death, sex, bareback, hiv, aids…
In order to achieve this, I created a character in the Mexico-City-oriented gay sites: “soloapelo” was a nick that was adopted with variations like “soloapelo_bb” or, more straightforward “soloapelo_bareback”. The message was clear, I wanted to get in touch withmen that knew and accepted this kind of sexual intercourse. I underline men and I also underline acceptance of facts.
There must be an open acknowledgment (in the sense of taking them into consideration) of the men that recognize, accept themselves, as openly performing sexual intercourse without the use of condoms. They do exist, they will keep on existing.
I started by going into gay.com’schats and got, the first year, information regarding personal stories and expressions. A whole new universe opened up, willingly, in front of me.
The first year I spoke about this empiric and not scientific quest in the need for explaining more about the ways of a man in order to have openly bareback sex.
What I got was an unusual, unexpected, sort of nakedness in all the men involved. I used toget into the chat after 23:00 Hrs. and I got surprised by the availability of personal information, not just mobile phone numbers, but also schedules of activity, as well as local phones and personal addresses that were/are provided just like that.
You have to ask the right things, you have to get and inspire trust, some words like “entrón”, “bb” as synonyms of bareback and, voila, you get allthe information; not always the truth but in most of the cases yeah. In that occasion, in this conference, I underlined the fact that, contrary to public opinion, alcohol was not necessarily involved in the process, it can have a presence but it is not a must. Otherwise can be said regarding the use of substances, a must is, for instance, poppers, and then the rest: mariguana, cocaine and crackcocaine are the most common, “tachas”. “G”, “extasis”, much less frequent.
The men that soloapelo reached were the ones living in middle and higher income neigbourhoods, most of them professionals and some sexual workers or men that, from time to time, would use their body to get money, substances, company, sex.
In the beginning, 2006, few men had openly visible nicks or interest in barebacking.With better treatment and less people “dying” in the surroundings, men started to get more confident about themselves and into the idea that maybe the virus existed but it was more a matter of “luck” or “faith”.
The discourse was marked by things like “we will all get it”, “it-does-not-exist” or “I-am-tired-of-being-told-what-to-do-in-all-spheres-of-my-life”, besides the common “it is not the samesensation” are common.
Sexuality (not only sexual intercourse) was sensed, portrayed, as the only really thing a man has ownership on. These men are professionals with “responsabilities”, all their lives are full of stress, duties, things that must be done, and in this sense, for most of them sexuality is the only concrete thing they have control in the real world experience.