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History Page 2: 1996-2002

With the ever-present threat and personal risk of being arrested or banished from family and friends - it began...

August 12, 1996:  Chris Hayes oversaw the SUBCLUTURE SECTION of NEXT MAGAZINE (a free gay publication here in New York City, NY) and he approved my request to publish free sex party ads in the magazine. Those ads were for BOY TOYS - NY a private safe sex party exclusively for HIV-negative gay youth (18-24), and POZ CLUB NY a private sex party for HIV+ gay men. His fax # was 212.627.0633. Brian Gately oversaw the GETTING OFF Section of HX Magazine (another free gay publication in New York City, NY), and his fax # was 212.627.5290. Brian approved of the same two ads and as a result, HIV Status Disclosure and the HIV Prevention / Harm Reduction Strategies of Serosorting (having unsafe sex - condomless sex with your own HIV Status) and Safe Sex Serosorting (have safe sex - condoms used with your own HIV Status) went public. (PRINT PDF)

 

The social and sexual benefits of HIV Status Disclosure begin to move forward…

Thus, POZ CLUB- NY and BOY TOYS - NY were officially made public, and HIV prevention, status disclosure, awareness, education, outreach, and social and sexual choices in America changed. The internet played a key role in making the parties international, and the result is the social and sexual freedom of choice YOU enjoy today with popular hook-up sites and social groups on popular internet platforms. 

Over the following years, the two HIV-related sex parties grew in popularity thanks to the internet, and the fact that New York City, NY is a major tourist, business, and layover city. It also helped that "The City" is the largest city on the North American continent. But something was taking place behind the scenes and soon the parties were destined to change the course of history, where one HIV status would rise over the other.

Sometime in 1997, POZ CLUB – NY becomes BRANDON’S POZ PARTY – NYC (see 1999 ad) and with a growing acceptance of HIV Status Disclosure, the parties expand the boundaries of what is possible in relation to HIV Awareness and our driving desire to push the limits is realized. Brandon's POZ Socials are created (ad is from 2000.) and as the parties and socials grew in popularity, informative handouts were made available at the events to help empower those attending. The goal was to begin an in person peer-to-peer discussion ranging from but, not limited to: STD'S, (from 2004) CRYSTAL METH, the CDC (page1 and page2) and in 2002, an 8 page summary of The NATAP Retrovirus Conference. Just to name a few. It became clear at this point - what was discussed at the parties and at the socials was MORE than could be expected. For the first time since the beginning of the AIDS Crisis, HIV+ and HIV-negative MSM were WILLIFULLY disclosing their HIV Status to strangers, and discussing personal / private concerns NOT shared with HIV experts or professionals.  Peer-to-peer empowerment in a safe and comfortable environment we were all familiar with. 

Early in 1998 – The parties began on Fire Island, NY. For the start of an annual week-long event. (see newsletter FROM 2000 PDF)

Sometime in 1999, Jay Jimenez replaced Chris at NEXT, Mark Liberman replaced Brian at HX.

December 1999 - While hosting BOY TOYS - NY and while the party was IN PROGRESS, I got a knock on the door – two strangers asked to come in and talk to me in private. I was told that I would be shut down and arrested at THAT MOMENT if I did not shut down BOY TOYS - NY. They said "HIV-negative people do not exist" and that I am "creating an environment of high risk". However, this is a safe sex party, and Christian Grove at C.H.E.S.T. supplied me with shopping bags of free condoms. BOY TOYS - NY (the LAST ad) was sadly disbanded but NOT without a fight. Later that evening I sent out the last mass email to the master guest list explaining what had happened, and how we could SIDESTEP the legal issues and BYPASS the threats coming from city and state officials.

The internet picked up where the physical party ended, and today you enjoy the "online version" of the party. The city, state, and federal laws CAN NOT prohibit anyone from willfully posting their HIV status online in their profiles. Where do YOU think the D&D FREE, HIV-UB2, and "CLEANUB2" communication ideas came from?

Sometime in 2000 - While online with Bareback Jack about how the Fire Island, NY location was becoming too small and limited my ability to host a growing guest list, BareBack Jack introduced me to Bill Gardner the owner and founder of Hot Desert Knights (HDK). Soon Bill, myself, and a small group of actors and directors discussed hosting BRANDON'S POZ PARTY in Palm Springs, California at Camp Palm Springs. A location Bill used for filming a few of his earlier Bareback productions. (NOTE: Jun. 22, 2020 - BareBack Jack is no longer online at BareBackJack.com and no info is offered.)

2000 - The idea that HIV+ MSM can meet other HIV+ MSM in a social or sexual environment without the stigma gains acceptance, and the current location is becoming too small. A guest comes up to me at the party and suggests his location in Brooklyn, NY. A corner loft space with an unobstructive view of lower Manhattan between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, the next day I take a look. While there, all my hopes and fantasies about having a MEGA MSM CLUB become real, and I get to work on STUDIO 70. However, even though the events are a success and popular, I no longer feel the "intimacy"  of the old location. The staff of 5 is replaced to 10, the guests are more than 200 compared to 60-70 and I no longer feel private but more like a celebrity and always in the limelight.  After a season in the more than 3,000 sft loft, I head back to the comforts of the old location with 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, kitchenette, foyer, living room and dining room. The hotel suite is a perfect fit. 

May 15, 2000 Email is no longer efficient and the Brandon's POZ Party - NYC Yahoo Group is created.  This now takes HIV Status Disclosure, Awareness, Prevention and Outreach directly to the general public with: Messages, Chat, Members Photos, Links, Calander of Events and more. This will be the outline and prototype for the POZ4POZ.com website as well as other MSM Hookup sites two years later. 

August 2000, NYC - After a few meetings with Dr. Clatts of N.D.R.I. and our discussions of the unique opportunities the HIV+ parties have with regards to MSM sexual behavioral research, we agree that the next step is to move forward and do the research. However, note the date and location of the NDRI office. This will have a direct impact on the final publication of the study and delay it until 2003.

Oct. 2000, NYC As word spreads across NYC about Brandon's POZ Party and Boy Toys NY and how HIV Status Disclosure is empowering our community, I was invited to participate in a community discussion at The LGBTQ Center. (details) Our goal was simple: To understand the behavioral and psychological shift in HIV Awareness, Communication, Outreach and Status Disclosure acceptance within the MSM (men who have sex with men) communities.  The HIV Witch Hunts of the 1980's and early 1990's are gone.

Also in 2000, a powerful shift in our understanding and acceptance of HIV Status Disclosure goes viral, and there are no limits to our united efforts (from HIV+ and HIV-negative people) as is stated here in these newsletters from the parties: MARCH 2000 & JULY 2000.

September 11, 2001 (9/11) - The World Trade Center, NYC gets hit and the news goes global. However, one of the untold stories gets lost as well, the NDRI HIV+ MSM research data from Brandon's POZ Party. The innovative research study focused on HIV+ MSM, barebacking (unsafe sex), HIV Status Disclosure and party drugs - a first in the nation and what would become the springboard of countless studies worldwide. The research also proved beyond doubt that HIV+ MSM do not need party drugs (PnP, Party and Play) to have sex one-on-one or in a group setting. The NDRI offices moved to 23rd Street in NYC and the study moved forward - here is the PUBLISHED report (STI JOURNAL Feb. 2005). My name is on the last page under ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS. Posted in the NIH National Library of Medicine.

August 2001 - Bill Gardner pens a reply to a national XXX magazine that bans all ads mentioning Barebacking and decides to pull all his ads from the publication, I receive a copy of his post and reply my unity with his decision.  As we discuss online the issues facing our community with regards to HIV, Status Disclosure, Safe Sex and Unsafe Sex and a growing acceptance of HIV Status Disclosure nationwide, we agree to meet in person at his place in Palm Springs, California. 

Palm Springs, CA. 2002 - (March 6, 2002) While visiting Bill and a few MSM adult entertainment actors, directors, and investors at the HDK Studio, Bill introduced me to the owners of Camp Palm Springs - Casey and Ron - and soon (May 2002) BRANDON'S POZ PARTY - PALM SPRINGS was launched. (Party business card) Guests could fly into LAX, Burbank, and Palm Springs airports with ease, stay anywhere in the Palm Springs area, and attend the event at Camp Palm Springs at will. Guests included (but were not limited to) the MSM public, Adult Entertainment actors, directors, investors, local and regional individuals from HIV/LGBTQ agencies and organizations, and the like. There was no way of knowing what laid ahead for HIV+ and HIV- MSM because of this event - multiple: airports, hotels, ground transportation services, invited guests, friends of invited guests, investors, HIV related agencies, organizations, experts or professionals - but the event would be the springboard for the Gay Circuit Party experience within a year.

 

Bill and I begin a long friendship and meet annually exchanging ideas, concerns, and legal matters about HIV Prevention related to the American gay porn industry, our First Amendment rights, and the Adult Industry Healthcare system. We discuss the legal issues of HIV status disclosure for the porn industry and on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008, Bill makes a public announcement: Hot Desert Knights Will Require Models to Test for HIV/STDs  EDGE MEDIA /  

APRIL 22 2002 - (personal note) While my concept of sex parties based on HIV status was still new to the general public, a guy who was "following" my progress online contacted me. He was a Circuit Party organizer/promoter and wanted me to add my sex party concept to the Circuit Party experience. As a result, in 2002 HIV status disclosure became accepted internationally. While everyone in NYC thought my sex parties were just for "getting our rocks off", the social and sexual HIV Prevention Strategy called Serosorting touched every race, generation, and geographical location. And not once did I profit or use this notoriety to take advantage for my own personal gain. 

ALSO IN 2002 - POZ4POZ.com comes online / BPPNYC party business card

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