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Full-page New
York Times ad calls for gay men to fight crystal

Full-page New
York Times ad calls for gay men to fight crystal

Ad urges gay men to do more to help fight crystal meth use.

A full-page ad placed in Thursday's edition of the national edition of The New York Times calls attention to the growing problem of crystal methamphetamine use among the city's gay men and urges gay and bisexual men to take more responsibility in fighting the drug's spread. Titled "Gay Men and Crystal Meth, a Manifesto" and signed by the Crystal Meth Working Group, a part of the New York City-based HIV Forum, the ad says, "Let's face it. There's a problem, and we need to deal with it."

"While most gay men have never used meth, approximately 15% have," the ad says. "By chemically blocking inhibitions, it leads many to take sexual risks, resulting in more infections of HIV, syphilis, and other diseases. We've watched as meth worked its way into our lives as an 'innocent' party drug and then established itself as a serious threat to our health and prosperity. We've seen it cripple our friends and loved ones, destroy the lives of our youth and mentors, and corrode the spiritual fabric of our community. Bottom line, meth is hurting gay men. How can we stand by and do nothing?"

The ad mentions five key steps in which gay men--as well as the larger LGBT community--can become active in the fight against meth use:

* "We will take responsibility for our lives and for the health of our community. We will make informed choices about sex and partying and urge our friends and lovers to do the same.

* "We will not be silent. We will talk to other gay men about the dangers of crystal meth. We will create honest prevention campaigns so that every gay man knows the real risks of meth use.

* "We will show compassion for those who are addicted. Meth is the problem, not those in its grasp. Addicts need treatment, not stigma. And if they're in denial, they need to be challenged by those who love them.

* "We will fight for more money for drug treatment. We will advocate for treatment programs tailored to the needs of gay men.

* "And finally, we won't let crystal meth destroy another generation of gay men. We will continue fighting the hatred that seeks to diminish our self-worth, our sexuality, and our relationships. We will continue to create and strengthen our political groups, our churches, our sports teams, our social clubs, and our families."

The advertisement concludes with the promise "We will lead by example, as we have done before," referring to the gay community's lead in fighting the domestic AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.

The advertisement calls on other concerned members of the gay community to sign on to the manifesto, which can be found online at www.gaymeth.org. The ad itself can be seen online at www.gaymeth.org/popad.html.

The ad is signed by six members of the Crystal Meth Working Group--Daniel L. Carlson, Brian Gorman, Bruce Kellerhouse, Sasha O'Malley, Peter Staley, and Bruce Steinberg--as well as 34 others, including renowned playwright and activist Larry Kramer, Tony award-winning actor and playwright Harvey Fierstein, Scissor Sisters front man Jake Shears, conservative pundit Andrew Sullivan, musician Rufus Wainwright, Avenue Q writer Jeff Whitty, Lady Bunny, and the leaders of several gay, health, and AIDS organizations.

For more information about the ad or the Crystal Meth Working Group, go online to www.gaymeth.org or call (212) 271-7229. (The Advocate)

Advocate Magazine - KehlaniAdvocate Magazine - Gus Kenworthy

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