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the 
parties

1996 New York City, NY. 

 

You're a sexually active HIV+ gay man living in New York City and the current political and social climate means that you are not allowed to have sex. The only time you are allowed to have sex is only if you have safe sex (use condoms) or if you bottom. But what if you're HIV+, bare back and a top? That's where "the parties" come in.

 

Brandon's POZ Party - NYC was a MSM gathering designed to empower the HIV+ gay and Bisexual communities to just be themselves, and to keep their identities confidential across the board. The parties were set up in a way that they took place at the same date / time, at the same location, and the guests could plan their personal schedules around it at their convenience. No need for constant emails or phone calls. 

 

While attending, each guest was given a number for clothes check with their initials. There were no identifying indicators, meaning they could use only their initials, whatever they chose at that time on that night. Nothing else was exchanged: their real name, their occupation, their home address, their email address, their phone number - nothing. No personal information of any kind was needed, required, or kept. Everything was confidential, and years later, the Health Care providers would call this a Psychological Safety Strategy. 

 

As a result of that level of confidentiality and safety, the flood gates opened, unleashing more than a decade of fear, stigma and silence. The local LGBTQ publications get word of this and articles in POZ, HIVPlus, OUT, noiZe Magazine (number 51, Spring 2007, p.92, "When Barebacking Is Noble", by Chris Murry) and others would be published. HIV Status Disclosure goes public and becomes accepted. 

At this time, the HIV+ Community living in or visiting NYC now have an option, an unofficial sexual support group; and in exchange, the population of NYC have a new HIV Prevention / Harm Reduction Strategy called Freedom Of Choice thereby making social and sexual behavior safer. 

 

Later, the experts would call this Harm Reduction and countless HIV Researchers would write their Grant Funding Proposals and call this Serosorting. (2004, UCSF, Gladstone Study, Dr. Robert Grant)

In 2013 after more than a decade of hosting the parties, I authored a guide booklet in hopes of establishing a national discussion and starting point regarding MSM, PnP and communication online and in MSM venues. (BOOKLET PDF)

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