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
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
* "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.
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.
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.
will fight for more money for drug treatment. We will
advocate for treatment programs tailored to the needs of gay
* "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."
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.
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
information about the ad or the Crystal Meth Working Group,
go online to www.gaymeth.org or call
(212) 271-7229. (The Advocate)