These days, I rarely wear a red AIDS ribbon
. From once being a badge of awareness and solidarity, it’s now been reduced to a mere token, no longer even a politically-correct fashion statement, and so common and everyday it's for all intents and purposes invisible.
And I don't want it to be. And that's why today is the only day you'll ever catch me wearing one. And I want people to stop me in the street. And I want them to ask why just this one day
of all days. And I want them to ask about Buddy
, and about Stephen, and about Alastair and Miles and David and Phil and all the countless others.
Oh my friends, forgive me
That I live and you are gone.
There's a grief that can't be spoken.
There's a pain goes on and on.
Oh my friends, don't ask me
What your sacrifice was for
Empty chairs at empty tables
Where my friends will sing no more.
And then I want them to tell me what they're going to do to help.
Update: Zero Patience
HIV is a problem which threatens everyone. Globally, most of those affected are heterosexual, and a disproportionate amount at risk, as Blue Witch points out, are women. But here in the UK it's we gay men who have, so far, been most visibly affected by the epidemic. So, tonight you might have expected to have seen at least the odd red ribbon or twenty as you schmoozed your way through the Soho gays.
But heavens, silly little Stranger was certainly in the wrong place at the wrong time tonight, wasn't he? (London's Old Compton Street, Queer Central, on World AIDS Day.) For, my dears, he counted but just fifteen. Three of them magnificent in-yer-face, red-lamé mega-ribbons outside gay pub, Comptons; another five on the chests of that bar's staff. Oh yes, and a couple more adorning a pair of shop dummies in the window of homo superstore Clone Zone.
And just five – go on, count 'em – five-four-three-two-one – on the coat-lapel, bag-strap or beanie-hat of your average metro-Mary on the move.
You know, sometimes, my fellow, complacent, never-going-to-happen-to-me queers just make me want to puke.
(And yes, I do realise that some of this may seem to contradict what I said earlier. But sometimes I just wish that people would remember. And give a f**k.)