Jess – My Story

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Loren – My Story
June 6, 2024
Carmen – My Story
June 18, 2024

Jess – My Story

My name is Jess. This is my story.

When I was 14, I came home from school, sat on the living room sofa, and began to cry. My mother saw me and asked me 3 questions:

“Did something happen to you at school?” <<soft sobbing>>
“Did your father or I do something to upset you?” <<more soft sobbing>>
“Jess, do you think you’re gay?” <<loud uncontrollable ugly crying>>

It only took her 3 questions. Mothers and fathers always know.

I was lucky – both of my parents were loving and supportive, which wasn’t the case with many of my friends in 1976 in North Carolina. My folks’ only worry for me was that my life “would be more difficult than most”. Little did they know.

When I was 26, I was diagnosed with HIV. I know that I was infected no later than 1985 or 1986. Since I’m 62 now that means I’ve been infected with the virus for about 40 years.

I know how lucky I am – to have parents who didn’t kick me out of the house – to have lived through the Plague while almost all of my friends died – and to be healthy, mostly happy, and most importantly: standing upright.

I am standing, still. But never standing still.

We want to hear from YOU, our community members. What’s YOUR story? CLICK HERE (opens a new window) to learn how to share yours! #PrideMonth #DotGay #PersonalStories