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CHECK West #1

COMMUNITY ENGLISH ONLY

COMMUNITY ENGLISH ONLY WITHOUT PLEASE No fats, no Asians, no faggots. Intra-community discrimination is a well known thing. But do we have to marginalize condoms now too? Condom-Shaming appears to be all the rage. And some argue that it is symptomatic of a war that has been dividing the gay hookup culture for years. Those who take PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) no longer have to worry much about HIV. Yet, this sadly is not the case with other STIs (sexually transmitted diseases). Experts report that STIs are spreading more and more: super-gonorrhea cases have been popping up all over Europe and Asia, which is particularly worrying as the strain has mutated so often that it has become resistant to most medications. A patient in Berlin was diagnosed with third-stage syphilis, which is really difficult to treat. On the one hand, more STIs are diagnosed because more people are being tested. This is particularly the case as PrEP cannot be obtained without a previous HIV test, where the doctor often screens for other infections. So you simply have more results. On the other hand, taking PrEP often coincides with less stringent condom use, even though it does not protect against gonorrhea and the like. So while you don’t get HIV on PrEP, you can still catch everything else. BAREBACK SEX IS A MATTER OF NEGOTIATION Hand on your heart, who has experienced this: in the heat of the moment and after maybe one beer too many, you quickly undress and are ready for anything. You just want to be close and intimate in all its purity. And when there is no condom at hand, that’s when the negotiations usually start: I’m healthy, I take PrEP, I’m undetectable, and so on. Then sometimes the mood changes from heated up to slightly threatening. And while saying something along the lines of “Come on, it’s safe” is not yet a coercion or emotional blackmail, doesn’t this normalize the non-acceptance of boundaries? If I think it’s ok to have sex without a condom, then the other person must also see it that way too if we don’t use protection. A Canadian blogger puts it this way, “We are in a cultural war that is largely fueled by PrEP. Bareback sex changes from a product of negotiation to an expectation and demand. The practices that move the social context of bareback sex toward expectation or demand directly instill a culture of rape. Because they detract from the acceptability of a person setting their own conditions of consent, in this case condom use.” CONDOM-SHAMING AS A SYMPTOM OF A RAPE CULTURE You have to know that in the context of this statement the young man claims to have been gray-raped. Before the act, the use of a condom was agreed. Yet the sexual partner did not abide by the agreement, which the young man only noticed a little later. Such trickery is also called “stealthing” and is classified in many countries as a sexual offense and serious bodily harm. It can now be argued that the risk of unsafe sex when taking PrEP is mainly a bacterial problem. But it’s certainly not right to call 16 CHECK WEST #1

COMMUNITY Photo:Anna Shvets_pexels.com Photo: Alin Popa_pexels.com those who initially reject bareback sex are all poorly informed and want to discriminate aginst HIV-positive people. As with body-shaming, it’s not what you say but how you say it. Of course, you don’t have to sleep with men you don’t find attractive. And you don’t have to use a condom if you don’t want to. But telling people that they are less valuable or privileged because of their looks or their attitude towards safer sex is not ok. And if you use PrEP or U = U* as an argument to replace your partner’s consent with your own, you are not only shifting the context of scientific authority. You are also exposing condom-shaming as a one-sided negotiating tactic that is used to take something that the other is unwilling to give. And that’s exactly what the young blogger means when he talks about rape culture. Perhaps it can be expressed more simply. Instead of saying, “No fats” or “No condoms”, state what you actually mean: “Prefer skinny” or “Looking for bareback sex”. It signals to people what your preferences are and avoids the exclusionary prejudice inherent in negative comments. And remember to say “please”. (ts, mb) * undetectable = untransmissable CHECK WEST #1 17

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blu, hinnerk, gab, rik, Leo – die Magazine der blu Mediengruppe erscheinen monatlich in den Metropolen Deutschlands. Die nationale Reichweite der Magazine ermöglicht den reisefreudigen Lesern Zugriff auf alle Informationen immer und überall. Themenschwerpunkte sind neben der regionalen queeren Szene, Kultur, Wellness, Design, Mode und Reise. Unsere Titel sind mit der lokalen Community jahrzehntelang gewachsen und eng verbunden, was durch Medienpartnerschaften mit den CSD-Paraden in Hamburg, Berlin, München und Frankfurt sowie zahlreiche Kooperationen, wie der Christmas Avenue in Köln, seinen Ausdruck findet.