Bob Katz (I'm From San Francisco, CA) - True Gay Stories

Uploaded by ImFromDriftwood on 05.06.2011

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\f0\fs24 \cf0 I'm Bob Katz, I'm from San Francisco. New York native. I was eighteen in 1969. Stonewall
riots happened a month after my eighteenth birthday and I didn't even know I was gay
back then, but it was one of those things that caught my interest, but I suppose I went
through life with a certain amount of internalized homophobia. 1980 I moved to D.C., started
losing friends to AIDS and later on and found out in '85 I was positive. I mean, I didn't
tell my family or coworkers but all of my friends - I think my friends found out within
a day of getting my results. it was just one of those you know,"Oh my god!" kind of things.
In a way I wasn't surprised, but it was still a shock. The test was literally had been available
for weeks back then. And there was no process for finding out your results and counseling
and things like that. My doctor said, "We'll call you when your results come back." He
called me up, "Oh yeah, you tested positive. Bye, talk to you later." I had a couple friends
who did the AIDS ride early on and I finally signed up in 1998 and I'd kind of been sort
of hush hush about my status but as soon as I joined I became positive to others. And
second year I rode in 2000, they asked for volunteers to talk to the media in Lompoc,
so I found myself on television and the great thing about it was that whatever remaining
concerns I had about being open about being HIV positive - that was kind of it. When you
go on television and say you're HIV positive, it so incredibly empowering to be able to
not have to feel like having HIV is a secret that you need to keep. You discover over and
over again the more you open about who you are, that people really do care about you.
The best thing you can do about your life is be open about who you are and not live
in secrecy, and shame and hiding. }