Living the Questions

BY Tyler Helms

July 26 2010 3:50 PM ET

And even when you have all the support in the world — work, family and friends — the decision is still hard. Just last February, I went against everything I had started to stand for. After months of no dates I had met someone who got my attention, and when he asked in a intimate moment “Are you positive or negative?” I immediately answered without hesitation, “I’m negative.” Yes, I lied. After spending months encouraging honesty and dialogue, I had lied to someone who was doing just what I wanted him to do, ask the question.

Though I told him the truth moments later, the lie was telling. I did it for the reasons many still do. In that moment, I felt normal. I felt accepted, attractive, and worthy. For a split second I felt a sense of hope and was without shame. I felt like I had finally scrubbed away the invisible dirt only I could see. For one moment, I finally felt "clean." The reality being, that lie was likely the dirtiest thing I had ever done.

He was gracious and understanding and holds a special place in my journey. He reminded me why my truth was just as much his and everyone’s else. He reminded me that my truth was anything but dirty.

There is something destructive about living with a secret. Ruining relationships, detracting focus from work, and impeding on an overall healthy lifestyle to name a few. But demanding honesty and integrity is hard to do in a society that encourages truth but would prefer not to know it. In a country where you can still be put in jail for knowingly or unknowingly spreading HIV. In a society where some still believe it's God's way of punishing the gays. In a city, even New York City, where you will be heckled for speaking out about a truth that impacts us all. It even gets the most vocal of us down.

So without an answer, I ask you — whether gay, straight, positive, or negative — when do you want your coworker, your friend, your lover, your daughter, your son, or you first date to disclose their status? And when they do, are you prepared for what your reaction will be?







Tags: Fitness

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