Monday, January 22, 2007

Hate Crime of Stupidity

Wheel of Fortune has a puzzle from time to time in which the last word of one phrase is the first word of another phrase. The show annoys me too much to watch it on my own, but I see it from time to time when at my parent’s house or while around other people who do not get so easily annoyed with people who are all too often borderline culturally literate.

For two weeks I have battled the knowledge that someone I know well, told a number of other people (I don’t know how many yet) that she worries about me because of my HIV issues. When I found out what she said, I could do nothing but stand there with my jaw agape: I never talked to her about HIV issues – whether I have them or not. Her statement violated the law, employer policy, and professional ethics: by some definitions – a hate crime.

The workplace knows me as openly gay and there has never been an issue as I work for an organization with inclusive policies. Suddenly, I found myself dealing with someone who assumed my HIV status based on my gayness (I’m not even THAT gay at work). To make such a broad assumption is nothing short of a crime of stupidity.

Some people at work actually like me. I’m afraid I’m going to have to make the rounds talking to everyone I know so they are not worrying about my health. I’m remarkably healthy for a forty-year-old man. Well, to be fully honest, after my last blood work, the doctor is concerned about my cholesterol – because I essentially did not have any. I go back to have that blood test redone in a few months: I’ll fry something in butter every day for a few days in advance so my doctor (I may have said this before, but he is so good, I would have his babies if his wife was not already doing that for him) can stop worrying about my low cholesterol.

Now I’m faced with the challenge of approaching co-workers who may or may not have heard something from the person who was so worried about me.

I could do the Troy McClure version: “Hi, I’m Roy Larson, and you know me from my roles as teacher, counselor, and specialist, but I’m here today to tell you about HIV. You may have recently heard a rumor….”

I could write a speech: “Two score and eight days ago, an authority stood before you and declared that I have HIV….” (this would require specific timing and an individual delivery to every person who has accidentally been told [and I would have to learn what a score is]).

I could (oops) send a mass email to a close friend on the employer intranet: “I can’t believe that bitch told you that….”

Or…

…I could just blog about it.
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