Susan and Whoopie Spell it Out, Please Brent


It’s World’s AIDS Day, but there’s some good news that I definitely approve of! A group of gay-positive female celebrities, including Susan Sarandon and Whoopie Goldberg, are filming a series of Public Service Announcements aimed specifically to gay men. But they won’t be like any PSAs you’ve heard before:

The ads, which feature the actresses speaking openly about taboo issues like barebacking and crystal meth, were designed to make gay men feel more comfortable discussing difficult topics with friends and partners. In one of the ads, Goldberg asks viewers: “Do you really think doing crystal meth makes you cool? Meth makes you do dumb stuff — like barebacking. What’s cool, is being true to yourself and helping your friends. Love and respect. Now that’s cool.”

In another spot, Peet gently stresses the need for communication in stopping HIV transmissions: “Talking about HIV won’t kill the mood, and then you can really get comfortable…You can be carefree without being careless.”

“Gay men have heard safe sex messages before,” acknowledges Carlson. “But they haven’t heard them in such a frank yet affirming manner from women they respect and love, as if they are conversing with their own mothers, sisters, or friends.”

Carlson adds that the campaign is not about HIV education: “These are financed without government funding, so the spots are free to speak specifically to gay men and the realities of their lives. It’s a critical message that has been missing from public health campaigns.”

150px-Candleburning.jpgCool, huh? I confess, I’m disturbed by what I hear from some segments of the gay community these days: “HIV has been cured, hasn’t it?” and “Oh, I’m okay because all of my friends are clean.” And apparently some porn producers have decided they care more about making money than they do about the lives of the models they hire and, frankly, the rest of the gay community, which has mimicked what it sees in porn as long as there’s been porn.

Obviously, AIDS hasn’t been cured, and gay men still make up the majority of new infections. We’re also far likelier to become infected than any given straight person, since our community is so much smaller and between 10 and 50% of us already have it (depending on which city you live in).

180px-The_More_You_Know.jpgThis is still a deadly disease, but it’s such an easily preventable one. And as they say in the old NBC PSAs, the more you know, the better off you are.

(Want to do something more? Go here and light a candle. Bristol-Myers Squibb will donate a dollar to the National AIDS Fund. Seriously!)