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January 23rd, 2015

About That GLAAD Media Award Nomination

 

For twenty-five years I have been writing about living openly as a gay man living with HIV. Along the way I have spilled secrets, opened up about sex and relationships, highlighted the work of those who inspire me, come clean about my history of addiction and recovery, focused my video camera on international conferences and the lives of HIV negative gay men, and have found myself in some hot water once or twice.

Crown Roses PicLiving out, loud and proud is an enormous privilege I don’t take lightly. There are countless people who don’t have supportive families or understanding workplaces or even friends to whom they can rely. And it is those people who are most often on my mind as I write this blog. Your comments and emails inspire and humble me, and that includes the criticism of my admittedly strong opinions. You make me think twice, very often after the fact, and you can be assured that you teach me.

So my nomination for Outstanding Blog as part of the national GLAAD Media Awards has me excited, flummoxed and feeling reflective. I wouldn’t be a good recovering addict if somewhere in my mind I didn’t feel unworthy. Like many of us living with a shame that never truly washes away, there is a part of me that feels like a fraud.

If you only knew me, it whispers, you wouldn’t accept me. You wouldn’t give me an award. Maybe you wouldn’t love me. It is the sad reverberation of growing up gay, of feeling socially damaged by HIV, of the guilt of having once turned to drugs to block my doubts and fears.

Today, I will not be bowed by misgivings and undeserved shame. I will even indulge my dangerous ego and admit that I’m terribly proud and feel like one of the Oscar nominees I track with religious verve. And that is the simple, elegant value of efforts like the GLAAD awards. They remind us that we’re okay, celebrated even, and it chips away at the internal homophobia we carry with us in quiet places.

The fact that the highly visible GLAAD Awards focus most notably on film and television depictions of LGBT people makes this situation all the more unreal. The glamour of it all appeals to every gay bone in my body.

Will there be a red carpet? Can I lose enough weight to walk it? Can I convince openly HIV positive fashion designer Mondo Guerra to lend me a jacket (I’m working on it)? Can I make a statement about how those of us living with HIV are crafting lives of joy and engagement and responsibility?

It might be more productive to shift the focus away from myself and share with you the other nominees in my category. They surely deserve that. GLAAD does us all a great service by bringing art and resources to our attention that may be unfamiliar to us. I’ve been stalking the other nominated blogs below and the inspiration to be found there has transformed a common platitude into a sincere fact: it is, without a doubt, an honor just to be nominated.

The Art of Transliness
The triumph of visible trans advocates like Laverne Cox makes headlines, but this blog provides insight on the ongoing, day-to-day challenges of the trans community.

AutoStraddle
My favorite blog name ever. This site devoted to queer women, or “girl-on-girl culture” as they describe it, is a hip blog mixing pop stories and stigma-bashing commentary.

Box Turtle Bulletin
Anti-gay rhetoric doesn’t stand a chance in the face of this site providing news, analysis, and fact-checking.

Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters
Lies in the name of God are still lies. This site analyzes and refutes the LGBT inaccuracies of religious conservative organizations.

Thank you, my friends. I have said that finding my voice through this blog has saved my life, and those words ring especially true today. And in case I don’t have the opportunity for an acceptance speech, allow me to thank the most important person now.

Michael, I love you. Being engaged to a man like you is the biggest reward of them all.

Mark

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7 Responses to “About That GLAAD Media Award Nomination”

  1. Jeff Coulter Says:

    January 23rd, 2015 at 10:45 am

    Wow…that is an impressive line up of nominees. I have read work on several of them. Congratulations on being among such esteemed authors. You most certainly deserve to be there.

    The magic you bring to your work is a fearless ability to ask tough (or uncomfortale) questions, complete authenticity, and humor that falls into two categories. Flawless wit and time-bomb. Time-bomb humor occurs when I read your article and 30 minutes later look up from whatever I am doing and think, “Oh no she did not!” Congratulations!

  2. Anne (Mom) Says:

    January 23rd, 2015 at 10:46 am

    Wow! What an honor “just to be nominated.” You deserve the recognition in company with the others whose accomplishments you share. And I can hardly wait to hear your humble but heartfelt acceptance speech. This from the one who knew and loved you first.
    Mom

    (I love you! My mother, everybody. My first fan. You can see her in my holiday video special, or in an intimate video interview about loving two gay sons and facing an AIDS loss in the family. — Mark)

  3. Sue Says:

    January 23rd, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    More than deserved–I know no one who has your insight into living with HIV. You have helped so many of us gain understanding. And of course I love you, and want you to win!!! I want to hear that acceptance speech.

  4. Dan Says:

    January 23rd, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    Congrats & well deserved! As a fellow pozzer in recovery, I always look forward to reading your posts.

    And if you need a bow tie or tie to go with that jacket, give me a holler – VaVaNeckwear.com

  5. Robert Darrow Says:

    January 23rd, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    Thanks for making a “positive” difference in my life, Mark. Love you and your pro-active work!

  6. Michael Says:

    January 23rd, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    Last week, I wondered out loud how my life could possibly be more full than it was just then. Well, the answer was born on a tweet with news that my fiance was to be recognized by the most respected LGBTQ organization in the US.

    I keep thinking my world will go back to what it was before I met you, but the thing is, it will never be the same. As your love has changed me, so have your words changed the lives of countless men and women living with HIV disease and AIDS.

    How does one reconcile a past of trials with a present of such blessing? I don’t know. I never knew a life so full of promise until I met you. Congratulations, Mark, this recognition is well-deserved and I could be no happier or more proud of you than I am right now.

    Love, Michael

  7. Charles Says:

    January 26th, 2015 at 7:35 am

    I hope your busy schedule won’t allow you to be present when you win Outstanding Blog, and that Anita Mann is there in your stead, crying, makeup running, tripping on the stairs on her way to the podium a la Jennifer Lawrence, just a big ol’ mess!

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