Last Tuesday night, I went to a screening of the documentary Positively Naked, about Spencer Tunick's installation of 85 HIV+ people for the 10th anniversary issue of POZ magazine. It's a lovely film, honest and funny, and touching and affecting--what all good movies should be.
It premieres tonight on Cinemax at 7:00pm, in honor of World AIDS Day. It's only about 40 minutes long, and you know how I love anything under an hour. But seriously. And it's also an opportunity to see how Tunick works--you've seen his stuff before, these huge-scale portraits of a hundred, three hundred naked people laying about in some landscape or setting. His work is so perfect for dealing with the issues surrounding HIV and AIDS: body image, public vs. private, vulnerability vs. strength.
The New York Times Review, which appears today, seems to think that "the only truly disturbing note in “Positively Naked” is one man’s revelation that he still goes to sex clubs and does not reveal his H.I.V. status unless asked." I have an issue with this argument. What the review does not say is that in the film the man explains that "people don't go to sex clubs to hear about people's status." He's right.
To disclose, or not to disclose? Well, it's not the other person's responsibility. It's yours. If you want to know, ask.
Whenever this conversation comes up, inevitably someone asks "Well, wouldn't you want to know if the person you were sleeping with was positive?" My answer always is: Depending on what sexual behaviors I planned to engage in with that person. Because--duh--the topic of STDs is a definite mood-killer. And so why not go into the room with a set of I wills and I wonts already established?
Perhaps the most disturbing thing about World AIDS Day, and the film, is that we are still writing, making movies about, talking (and, of course, not talking) about safe sex. Because "uninhibited"--which appears so frequently in personal ads and sex ads--now means "I fuck without condoms" and not "free-spirited." Because testosterone is a fuckin' powerful thing and we all know what it can do to you in times of lust. Because gay men--and lesbians, and straights, and trannies, and bisexuals, and all the rest of the People Who Fuck (my new all-encompasing term) still need to hear about it.