When I first decided to write a blog post about acceptance I had no idea where to start. Do I do it from a HIV point of view? A gay point of view? Then I thought to myself acceptance shouldn’t labelled or pigeon-holed, acceptance should be universal.
Clearly I can’t cover all aspects of life, love and religion in one post so I’m just going to pick a couple of issues that interest or impact on me.
Everywhere you look these days you’re surrounded by images of perfectly sculpted men and women, you can’t avoid it. Open a magazine and there are scantily clad gods hawking aftershave, turn on the TV seasoned presenters have been replaced by beautiful but clueless models with an earpiece, and have you tried finding decent porn with normal looking people in it? Impossible.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a bit of eye-candy as much as the next person – but it’s not healthy that it’s presented as the only way to be. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve flicked through the glossy magazines only to be left with a heavy heart when I realise I’m never going to look like any of these people.
I’m in my twenties, tall, skinny and a bit hairy, in the grand scheme of things that’s not bad – but I can’t help thinking that if I were buff and shiny I’d be happier. I should be happy with myself the way I am, and that’s something I need to work on more.
HIV & The Gay Community
Acceptance and it’s evil twin discrimination aren’t just about the way we look either. There are a number of medical conditions that have stimga attached to them, such as addiction, mental health problems and the one that affects me most HIV.
I’ve never understood the rationale behind discriminating against those who suffer medically in one way or another. This is something that I’ve paid more attention to in recent months, for obvious reasons, than before. I can’t change the fact that I have HIV, I didn’t ask to contract HIV, you can’t get infected by being my friend – so why view me with a constant air of suspicion and treat me like a second class citizen?
Disturbingly, the group that seem to discriminate most against those with HIV in society are gay men. At a time when 1 in 7 gay men in our capital city are HIV positive why the discrimination? Gay men are already marginalised by society as it is, further marginalising a section of that group seems insane to me. Out of all the people I’ve disclosed my HIV status to, the only people that have had an issue have been gay men.
Come on guys, sort yourselves out.
Sophie Wilson: My Geek Hero
To end my post on a happier note, here’s a bit about my geek hero.
As some of you might already know I’m a huge geek. I work in IT, I live IT, I breathe IT. I grew up using computers from an early age, at three years old I recieved an Acorn Electron and my love affair grew from there. I had PCs at home from five years old but for most of my school life I carried on using Acorn computers.
They were truly amazing bits of kit. They played games, composed music, let me type up my school work – all without breaking a sweat. Acorn Computers collapsed in 2000 but my love affair with them has remained strong. In 1990 Acorn Computers spawned a new company, specialising in processor design, called ‘Advanced RISC Machines’, a company some of you may know as ARM. Today ARM’s processors power 95% of mobile phones, 90% of hard-drives, digital cameras, television sets and much much more.
The person behind the ARM RISC processor was always referred to as ‘Wilson’. I’d always imagined ‘Wilson’ to be a beardy guy with glasses, a Clive Sinclair kinda guy. It was only recently I found out that Wilson was the surname of Roger Wilson. In 1994 Roger Wilson became Sophie Wilson via gender reassignment surgery – and a very handsome woman she is too.
Since then she’s become one of the most highly respected electronic designers in the world. She was ranked 8th of 15 most Important Women in Tech History by Maximum PC in 2011 and has become a fellow at the Computer History Museum in California. She truly inspires me. She has show me that no matter what your past, or what people think of you, you can always do great things and you don’t have to hide who you are in the process.
Thank you Sophie.
Peace and Love,