November 30th, 2006
Diversity and AIDS
By Leo Laurence
December first is World AIDS Day.
It will be a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate diversity in your newsroom.
My ex-lover of 13-years, Robert Zelmer, Jr. of San Diego, is a long-term survivor of AIDS. He was first diagnosed nearly 20 years ago. He’s at (619) 284-6475
What kind of life does he have now? He is constantly in pain. Even his eyelids hurt. AIDS specialists recently told him that the virus in his body had mutated to the degree that none of the medications currently on my market can help much.
To control the constant pain, he meditates for 1-1/2 hours every day. Sometimes he cries and wishes he would die to end the constant pain. But, fortunately, he’s a survivor and I still love him.
He’s the kind of person that the news media ought to interview on World AIDS Day on December first, not local Gay or Lesbian “leaders” who will only push their local programs for AIDS patients.
Also, are reporters and photojournalists with AIDS welcomed on your staff? No, you can’t get AIDS by touching someone. It’s only transferred by the intimate transmission of bodily fluids, as in anal sex or exchanging needed in drug use. Kissing doesn’t do it, either.
If crude “jokes” about AIDS are made in your newsroom, does the editor jump on it and explain that such jokes are discriminatory and against everything that SPJ diversity teaches.
December first will be a great time for News Directors and news editors to review their newsroom policies on AIDS.