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From Esquire I was 13 when I had my first sexual experience with another guy. The symptoms were ordinary-a few coughs, a runny nose-but that didn’t stop me from working myself into a panic.
I was convinced I had contracted HIV/AIDS, and would soon be dead.
I just assumed it was a disease for white gay men, because no one that I knew who looked like me had it. Later, after the tests came back positive, I was unresponsive. Now, my main focus is helping young queer black boys go to school and receive higher education-whatever that looks like for them-but also being a sort of intermediary agent for them to connect them to resources that they need.
Screenings, all of those things their moms don’t necessarily know about because they’re not black queer men.
I remember some of my classmates asking really basic questions about what was happening with their bodies and the instructors were just like, “Well, you don’t need to worry about that.” It made everyone even more confused than they were before, because suddenly it was bad to talk about it.
By that time, there was nothing you could necessarily tell me about my body and sex that I didn’t already know.
The assumption of heterosexuality caused me to tune out, because I thought: .
As a result, I didn’t learn much about sexual health and education and stuff like that until I was older and became a sexual assault advocate.
I grew up in a town called Victorville, California, which is about an hour and fifteen minutes outside of Los Angeles.
My parents were very, very adamant about my sister and I being in church.
I grew up in Detroit, and my mom was a single mother raising two Black boys.