I’ve been busy not with work but with my Finance course. I was trying (I’m still trying) to figure how to use my financial calculator. The world is divided between PC’s and Mac’s customers, Canon vs Nikon and Texas Instruments vs Sharp…why did I buy the Sharp??!! I learnt so many functions with the calculator and so many other formulas all last week and I decided to study a bit harder.
While I was taking some of my “Facebook brakes” I snicked in an old gay friend of mine. After I finished University I lost contact with them, I just wanted to work (or at least to find a job) and I left the gay world for a while. His name’s Hugo, and when I met him he was studying psychology. Now, he finished the career and published a little book. I didn’t know he had a blog, so I checked it and….his last post was a little tribute to another common friend: Freddy….he wrote something like “today it would have been 19 years of our strong friendship…but you left…” Yes, Freddy die. I didn’t know about this. Let me tell you more about being gay in the early 90’s in a South American Catholic, with terrorism and economic crisis country like Peru.
I never said this to anybody here in Canada, nobody knows about what I’m going to say. I went to the University in 1993. In a fare organized for a gay NGO on December the 1st, International day against AIDS, I went and I knew there would be gay people and I thought I could meet somebody and be able to talk about my gayness. I grabbed a card and there were workshops for gays near my place. I went one day and that house was full of gay men. I was the only lesbian there. The workshop, was supported by another Nordic NGO to fight and educate people against AIDS. Even in those days, men didn’t use condom and AIDS had a high rate. I met very good people, I made some friends even people I didn’t know there were going to the same university as I. I met Hugo and he introduced me to Freddy. They were like 2 kids, two brothers taking care of each other, they never had a loving relationship, it was pure and real friendship. Then I met other gays like Erik, Eder, Nilko, Kike, the guy who was the leader in the workshop, Pablo, and many others who worked in prevention against AIDS. With them I discovered the gay discos, bars, some places where men used to meet for having sex, also called “points”. Downtown of Lima was the epicenter of all these activities, another district more posh was Miraflores, where the discos were more selective, I mean, you had to be handsome, beautiful to go inside. There was another disco who discriminated you if you weren’t a masculine man, in this particular disco, no women were accepted, discrimination between minorities existed. And still exists.
I lived the most intensive gay days of my life in 9 months. The workshop helped me a lot. Them I realized the gay world was just disco, parties and the workshop, I got bored, and I was single too. So I took distance but I kept in touch with my friends, but since I didn’t have money and partying until 5am wasn’t my thing they stopped calling me. Months later and years later discovered things about my friends. Erik, got “married” it was more a symbolic marriage since legal gay marriage didn’t and doesn’t exist in Peru. Months later, he got divorced and became a total slut. He used to be my best friend but then, he was having sex in couple, trios, sex with young men and more audacious things. He decided to live a different life. Nilko and Kike were the most stable couple in this group but after a couple of years they broke up, Kike got AIDS, he died and months later Nilko too, they had like 26. There was a Erik’s friend who I don’t remember his name, he was HIV positive, when he discovered it, instead to take care of himself, and of course, his easy partners, he decided to be more promiscuous and had sex with men without any protection, he didn’t wanted to live, he wanted revenge as well. He died months later. “La Pío” was young guy who was a travesty and lived and made his living in downtown in Lima. He was a prostitute, he got AIDS and died fast. There were a couple who worked in the workshops, one died of a brain tumor, the other I don’t know anything about him. Pablo, the leader, was a confessed HIV positive man and worked so hard than obtained the great benefit for all HIV positives in Peru to have the right to get generic retrovirals. He’s still alive, I think he lives with AIDS more than 12 years. Another friend died too for another reasons but AIDS. Pepe and Nelson were the model of gay perfect couple. Nelson developed cancer, he died and Pepe was in mourning for a year, he never committed again with somebody, he works in Lima. I don’t remember the name of other guy but he become HIV positive, he lives in Lima too. My friend Hugo, that I’m totally sure he won’t remember me if we crossed again is doing well, his brother was gay too.
Me? Still alive, in another country. I’m facing a surgery soon. I did shopping of medication, the shot that will induce my menopause. In Walmart and Shoppers Drugmart cost 418.75$ each shot. In Loblaws, 478.26 and in Food Basics 398$. Remember, I need 3 shots. I’m glad I got insurance that will pay 80% of that. Lupron Depot 3.75 in the American market, the generic label cost 198$ for 3 shots…..there’s no generic medication in Canada…and in Peru, I’m proud HIV people can have generic pills and sometimes for free. Am I living in the First World? Of course not. Oh Canada…land of naivete, ignorance but good intentions.
I just went out of physiotherapy, my knee is doing too much better, almost no pain, the muscles are still weak, I have to workout progressively. Sometimes you take for granted your health and even life. I left the clinic and I went to second hand store besides it. I bought The Who “Who’s next”, Alphex Twin “Richard D James Album”, Crystal Method “Busy Child”, Smashing Pumpkings “Machina, the Machine of God” and Dave Matthews Band…but I didn’t pay attention, I bought a DVD not a cd…yes, it happens only to me…and again.
I was driving my way home thinking: living is a right, living with dignity is different…