One thing I definitely have learned from Jaz, is we cannot control what love looks like or what package it comes in. I have also learned that her positive status doesn’t have to get in the way of us enjoying each other. There is so much I have learned about her journey into womanhood and I have been able to teach her the same about my path into my manhood. Before Jaz, I thought I knew what it was to be trans, but I have learned we all have much different journeys from person to person.
No more did I concentrate on men who only wanted me in the shadows and in the midnight hour. Luckie was teaching me that as a HIV+ trans woman of color I deserve to be love and treated with respect. We have been very successful with PrEP In our lives, it’s helped us maintain Luckie’s HIV- status. I hope by sharing our different love paths to each other, we can inform the community that love has no fear when it’s love leading the way.
I’m not stopping pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) because my skin turned blue. That was an embarrassing mistake I made in the first few days of trying it. Don’t tell anyone, though, or they’ll find out that I’m the kind of guy who buys a black flannel shirt and wears it for a few days without washing it, not realizing it’s going to seep dye onto exposed areas, causing me to make panicky calls to bemused, sympathetic friends and globally noted HIV researchers alike.
For the past five years, I’ve been known as the ‘HIV positive heterosexual male go-to-guy’, a seemingly non-existent, rare voice within the HIV community. That all changed a couple of weeks ago when I finally came to terms and acceptance with a very personal topic I’ve grappled with for quite some time, the realization of my bisexual identity.
We were gathered together and again, your Umi knows I am living with HIV. The ceremony was simple. We prayed, spoke affirmations for your life, and then I raised you up, and spoke your name Amenhotep Kazembe Ture Abif.
It was great to feel like I didn’t have to limit myself in certain ways when escorting, and it made me feel truly empowered to be taking the reins of my own destiny. I’ve been PrEPpy for over a year now, and, though stigma is still there, I still take it upon myself to talk about the benefits of taking PrEP while in the Sex Work field, and take the stigma out of both.