Will Monkeypox Result in a New Wave of Homophobia?

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Homophobia
Courtesy of Mariya Georgieva (Unsplash CCO)

In 1981, cases of HIV were revealed in doctor’s offices across the nation. In this early stage, most cases of what would develop into AIDS involved homosexual males. Attacks, both verbally and physically, began to escalate as a wave of homophobia spread across America.

By the mid-1980s, the number of cases rose from about 20,000 in 1981 to nearly 135,000. HIV had spread to every sector of the nation, homosexuals and heterosexuals alike.

Medical professionals learned that the deadly disease had three stages. The three stages of HIV infection are (1) acute HIV infection, (2) chronic HIV infection, and (3) acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Today, HIV is treatable if caught in the early stages, but there is no vaccine that can cure HIV or AIDS.

Since early May of 2022, more than 2000 monkeypox cases have been reported in more than 30 countries where the virus is not normally seen. Monkeypox is most easily spread through intercourse, and once again, most of the early cases in America are affecting homosexuals more than others.

The World Health Organization is concerned because the outbreak is occurring in areas not infected previously. Of course, they are afraid that the virus may mutate. Currently, the virus is primarily spread through the exchange of bodily fluids.

Homophobia
Courtesy of Pabak Sarkar (Flickr CCO)

A professor at the University of Texas, Dallas, took note of this fact and quickly responded. Computer science professor Timothy Farage fired off a tweet in which he expressed a desire to find a “cure” for “homosexuality, especially among men?” This little thought experiment of his was attached to a link for a story about monkeypox. “The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You.”

I never cease to be amazed at the ignorance of human beings. Without any justifiable reason, hating another man or woman is a sign of chosen ignorance and even stupidity. No one can claim to be an American and ignore what this country stands for.

A fact ignored far too often is that we are a nation of immigrants. Our heritage comes from every continent, every race, every color, and every religion. This is what a picture of any group of Americans should look like. We are a beautiful, fascinating, and complicated nation. If we were not, we would likely have failed to fulfill any of the dreams of our Founding Fathers.

Unlike some other men and women my age, I loved my last two years of high school. Venice High was close to being a perfect example of our country in the 1960s. I looked forward to every day seeing my friends and making new ones. When I was in private schools, I never had an opportunity to know young Black men and women, Asian Americans, and only a few Hispanics. A whole new world opened up to this young man thanks to a school that celebrated diversity.

During those two years, I learned about the “two Americas.” I was shocked at first, but I began to pay more attention to the newspapers and nightly news and realized that I had been living in an area where white privilege was a reality. But my education did not end with my Black friends. I noticed other prejudices which I failed to understand.

I paid attention to anti-Semitism, sexism which placed women into an inferior position to men, and meaningless hatred for homosexuals. I paid closer attention to the Pledge of Allegiance we recited every morning, now aware that “liberty and justice for all” were just words with little or no meaning for many young Americans I knew.

What bothers me in 2022 is that not much has changed. One entire political party in Washington is composed of white supremacists and bigots. This is the primary reason the United States has never been a great country.

Op-ed by James Turnage, Novelist

Sources:

Science: Why the monkeypox outbreak is mostly affecting men who have sex with men; by Kai Kupferschmidt
Daily KOS: Public university professor suggests we find a ‘cure’ for homosexuality amid monkeypox outbreaks; by Marrissa Higgins

Featured and Top Image by Mariya Georgieva Courtesy of Unsplash – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Pabak Sarkar’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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