We’ve touched on the topic of how media coverage of something like HeForShe, celebrity feminism, and popular, spreadable events in social justice movements (FCKH8, anyone?) can obscure the deeper, harder, “real work” involved in effecting widespread societal change and addressing tough issues. Elton John, in this NY Times op-ed, points to how this is happening in the gay rights movement–specifically, how coverage and celebration of marriage equality shouldn’t lead us to forget that AIDS/HIV is still a huge problem to address for the gay community.
In short, as the gay community celebrates the march of marriage, we are failing to maintain the kind of basic awareness and education that is needed to save lives.
Of course, the continued prevalence of H.I.V. should shake the conscience of all Americans — not just those in the gay community. For example, today AIDS is among the leading causes of death for African-American men.
In the South, new infections are at rates rivaling the 1980s, fueled by a toxic mix of homophobia, poverty and poor choices by policy makers, like the refusal of many Southern governors to expand Medicaid.