It took a couple hours, but I’ve started crying. Partly, it’s the staggering shift from my childhood in Cincinnati, when and where being gay was treated more or less the same as being a pedophile, to my adulthood in LA, when and where my gayness is at least protected by the state (and the State) and the vast, vast majority of people I deal with on a daily basis either celebrate who I am or don’t give a rat’s ass. Partly, it’s remembering my wedding, when I married Rob, back when it wasn’t even legal in New York, and it will always be one of the greatest days of my life. Partly, it’s because of remembering losing Prop 8 and the debilitating sorrow I felt. Partly, it’s because that sorrow was made powerfully profound knowing that my neighbors and some of my family members and millions of strangers had contributed to it. Partly, it’s that my marriage and my subsequent partnership didn’t survive to this day, that having the right to love doesn’t give you the ability to make it last. Partly, it’s knowing how this ruling will change the lives, in concrete ways, of friends I have in Michigan and Ohio and Texas (and everywhere else), and these changes, the assurances and protections, are so needed and so great. Partly, it’s that I haven’t had any coffee yet, since I haven’t been able to tear my eyes from the computer screen. Partly, it’s knowing that I am going to the wedding of my dear friend Curtis in a few months, and it will be the first time that I will be at the wedding of two gay people and it won’t be a subversive act, and that is such a relief.
Well, since Rob and I have been married for nearly six years, I have already had a wedding, so the song I wanted to play at my wedding was the song I actually did play at our wedding. My brother and his now wife made two mix CDs for our engagement, and among the awesome songs they compiled was Pat Benetar’s “We Belong.” When we were listening to the CDs driving back to New York from Boston with our friends Liz and Jason (who were going to be in the wedding), “We Belong” came on, we all sang along, giggled a bit, and I said, “This is so going to be our wedding song.” It’s also a rockin’ pop song, and full of over-the-top metaphors and emotions. It’s a totally tubular 80s classic.
This is my post for Bloggers Unite for World AIDS Day. It’s sponsored by AIDS.gov and BlogCatalog. A bunch of folks around the world are blogging about HIV and AIDS. My addition is a paper I gave last week in San Francisco about HIV, the Internet, and identity in San Diego.
If you were following my Twitters and/or my Facebook updates, you know that the weekend before Thanksgiving I was in San Francisco for the American Anthropology Association’s annual meetings. It is always wonderful to be in San Francisco, but I was so excited to be there, I tried to do too much, see too many people, have too much fun, and do what I was there to do: attend the darn meetings. And I ended up tired and cranky a lot of the time. Very tired. Very cranky. And then, on Thanksgiving morning, I woke up with a karma-rific cold. Still, I got one the best haicuts of my life from Joe, had an amazing dinner with Tom, had a couple beers with Mike, had an awesome dinner with Chia-Ning, went dancing here with Kevin, had several beers with a cheerful Jeff and several more with my fellow former New Yorker John. And I got to hang out with my sister-in-law Laura, who was also in town for a conference and with whom I shared a couple hotels rooms. (I stayed in three hotels in San Francisco that week. The Marriott is over-priced but damn nice. The Carlton is adorable and delightful. The Pickwick is a pit of despair.) Oh, yeah. And I did some anthropology-related things as well. I didn’t go to as many panels as I should have, but I networked up the wazoo, and ultimately, that will probably be more worthwhile.
And I gave a paper at a panel I organized with my friend Cage. The panel was called “Identities in the Clinic: conflicts, tensions, and critiques of self-concepts.” Here is the panel abstract:
Since Mauss’s essay on the person and Hallowell’s analysis of the self in its behavioral environment, anthropologists have attended to various ways in which certain kinds of social statuses and self-concepts organize social structure, perception, motivation, and action. In recent years, however, despite a new proliferation of articles on hybrid, fluid, or cyborg identities, and the play and tension of subaltern identities, much of this analysis remains at the level of the political and symbolic. The papers in this panel seek to ground and critique current ideas of identity and self, to elucidate the processes of identity as commitment to certain ways of being and certain moral ideals, as well as certain ways of perceiving, attributing, and interpreting signs of health, illness, sentiment, and morality, particularly as applied to issues of mental and bodily health, through explicitly psychological models. The papers herein examine the ways in which patients and health care providers negotiate conflicting identities: as agents of the state, as “systems based providers”, as documented/undocumented, as members of sexual or ethnic minorities, as simultaneously physician and scientist, or as a person with an illness negotiating multiple epistemological orientations in religious and cultural identities.
Could you be more excited? I didn’t think so.