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Truvada and the slut-shaming of gay men

I don’t know what’s worse, that gay men who use or support the use and development of Truvada are being slut-shamed, or that the worst of the shaming is coming from other gay men.

A few quick facts: I’m 55 years old. I’m recently married to man I’ve been with for seven and a half years, all of them monogamous. Prior to that I was single for many years and sexually active.

I turned 23 in 1981, living in Los Angles just as the AIDS plague began to spread. The death toll was staggering, culminating in the excruciating and humiliating death of my partner Jim in 1991. (The very idea of a dignified death, if such a thing really exists, is made a mockery of when a man shits his pants walking down the beach; but that’s what his last months were like.)

Fast forward to 2014 and, in addition to a host of drugs that help those with HIV survive, we now have Truvada proving to be effective in preventing HIV transmission to the uninfected. This should be great news. Instead, it is being responded to with shocking dismissal, judgment, and slut-shaming of those who want to enjoy sex without Latex.

I’m all for marriage equality. I get it that as a society we’ve moved marriage equality into a status most of us never imagined we’d see, but with it we have become mainstream in some unflattering ways as well. It’s as if we not only wanted to be equal, but to be equally harsh in our judgments of those who do not want what we have or who prefer to have vigorous sex lives with a variety of partners.

Stop the slut-shaming! To call men who take Truvada “Truvada whores” is no different from conservative reactionaries who blame women for being raped and who accuse every woman who uses the pill of being a slut.

Please let us re-think this before it goes too far, before this drug becomes so stigmatized as a “party drug” that men feel shame in taking it or, god forbid, refuse to use it and instead continue the appalling rate of new infections.

It’s 2014, not 1991 or 1984. No man who takes Truvada is a whore, and any man who calls him one is an asshole.

Welcome to the new home of KCallahanMysteries.com

Over the past year I’ve realized that the digital/social media age had resulted in a serious fragmentation of my id. I was Mark McNease. I was MadeMark and MadeMark Media. I was the Kyle Callahan Mysteries. I had multiple Twitter accounts and Facebook pages. A SoundCloud account for each project. On and on and on, and it seems reasonable to me now that it would result in my feeling very fractured, with bits of this and that always nagging at my mind. The time had come to consolidate.

So … it’s down to two locations now, with this website being the main hub. There is also MadeMark Media, for obvious business purposes (such as the burgeoning MadeMark Publishing), but there really was no reason to maintain a separate website for my mystery books. It was kind of like a gas station in the desert few people visited and no one remembered.

I’ve had the MadeMark blog for a decade, it’s just changed URLs. Why? Because someone bought MadeMark.com a long time ago. Then MadeMark.net after I moved from Blogger to Bluehost and didn’t take the time to transfer the domain. To make a long story short, markmcnease.com was about the only configuration left that I liked, and it’s my name! How convenient.

You’ll find all of me here now. I still like the moniker MadeMark, it will always be with me. But you can see everything I do here. It’s helping me focus and do a considerable amount of what we call in gardening “deadheading.” Plucking off the dead flowers to make room for new ones. Here’s a virtual toast to many new flowers in my garden.

OUT issues its 50 Most Powerful LGBT … wait, I’m falling asleep … who gives a shit

I suppose crap like this gives publications like OUT a reason to exist. It’s better to be kind than powerful, and I couldn’t give less of a shit about lists of people I’m supposed to be impressed by for reasons I’ve been told to care about. This is why I do so little online reading anymore. It’s a sea of emptiness.

Goodreads No More

About Goodreads (which I left): I read books to read them, not to talk about them. From the time I was a small child and first discovered my love of reading, it was about the experience itself. Like writing, it has always been magical for me, and I never had the desire to discuss the magic afterward. I was too excited to read the next book and see what worlds opened up to me.

I don’t much care what other people think of what they’re reading; not to diminish it, but I’m just not interested and rarely buy a book because a hundred people are talking online about it.  I’ve never been in a book club except the old kind I got books from every month (how I anticipated the new list of books each time!). In short, the only reason I was on there was to try and sell a few of my books, but the whole book-loving-community thing was never me in the first place. I don’t knock the millions of people who like it, but I just want to read a book, enjoy it, and move on to the next one. Another chattering class doesn’t attract me, so I got out of the tree. Not a bad thing, not a good thing, just my thing.

Cafe B #14 with Mark & Rick

Springtime is here! Sunny Sunday in NYC, Rick’s in from Shreveport for our big marriage celebration yesterday. Today at the Cafe we talk about gay porn habits in the South, the Mozilla dustup, Chelsea Handler possibly moving into the David Letterman slot, and Mississippi’s religious liberty law. Grab a scone, find a table and join us.

Marriage Party Photos

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I don’t really want to do a write up. I’d rather just enjoy the experience, the memories and the photos, so here are some of them!

Stamps worth framing (photo)


A Day at the Rainbow Book Fair

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Photos courtesy of Amy Mayes Photography

It proved to be a very good day at the Rainbow Book Fair, despite an endless rain outside. My husband Frank and I arrived at the set-up time of 10:30 a.m. and spent the day promoting my Kyle Callahan Mysteries, and as importantly letting people know about this website. lgbtSr was an official sponsor, and among the day’s highlights for me (along with selling half the books I brought with me) was hearing from people who knew about this site and about our weekly ‘Aged to Perfection‘ podcast.

I got some very good insight into the publishing world from a generous woman at the table next to me. I also met some terrific authors, and two of them will be coming onto the podcast as guests in the next couple months: Vinton Rafe McCabe, whose novel, Death in Venice, California, is our Featured Book. Another is the poet Michael Broder, who was there with his first book of poems, This Life Now. Both lovely men, talented, fellow authors, and undoubtedly engaging guests for the podcast.

On a candid note, I’m sometimes not sure we’re having an impact with what we’ve been doing at lgbtSr the last three years. It was a needed and welcome rebuttal to that thinking to spend the day answering questions, promoting what we do, and seeing lots of people in our target audience: those over 50 who appreciate knowing we’re here. It made the rain an inconsequential thing, and something I minded not the least stepping into when the day was done.