Sunday, 7 August 2011

The Barebacking Apprentice

I should begin with a warning that the links in this post will be of an adult nature, so please don't click through if you're of a sensitive disposition!

So, there's yet another new bareback blog that's caught my attention. This one is entitled 'Raw Lad London 1984' and is written by a twenty-seven year old Londoner and reveals via his various profile links that he is HIV positive. His blog celebrates slutdom, semen and bareback sex and he states that 'The Guy I’m Aiming To Be Like!' is Josh (Confessions of a Bareback Sauna Slut) who I've previously blogged about.

However, whilst Josh has been unusual in revealing his life - and face - on the Internet, providing a visual context to his barebacking, he remains (perhaps surprisingly) HIV negative. In contrast, RLW84 or 'Jay' sets out his positive status but choosing to define himself by a raw barebacker identity rather than as 'positive'. These labels are defined separately, although they clearly overlap. He writes:
'1. Yes, Im HIV Positive. I am open about it and its not a problem, not on meds, and still healthy. I do not want to discuss my HIV status here tho and I do not see it having a place in this blog. You’re status is not important to me, but it’s important for you to know that I’m Poz'
There will be many upset at someone openly HIV positive continuing to engage in unsafe sex but his positions trikes me as a fundamentally honest one. It is a very clear caveat emptor philosophy that arguably enables Jay to navigate the English criminal law in this area and the focus upon 'recklessness' (see more here).

Jay's blog is also interesting in that it situates itself against the earlier established blog written by Josh. For those who fear that these blogs might encourage other people to act, there is perhaps something of the 'performance' that is encouraged. Jay is posting photographs and will - as his blog develops - no doubt recount his experiences. However, I suspect many of these would have happened anyway. What is perhaps different is the way that these actions are constructed by the self, and their contribution to the formation of a queer community that challenges the normative approach of society.

For those wanting to understand the beating heart of today's queer radicalism, a radicalism that directly challenges current socio-legal norms, they need to read this blog and others like it.

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Elly said...

I haven't read the blog yet.

But are you imposing a 'queer radicalism' on someone who may not feel he is radically queer? I understand how it goes against socio-legal norms. But radicalism and 'community' involve some self-definition, surely.

Anonymous said...

For those who fear that these blog's might encourage

No apostrophe in 'blogs'

Chris Ashford said...

Oh the shame anon! Corrected! Elly - I don't think I'm imposing it on anyone (but I see where you're coming from). All I can ever write, is how I see things, and how I interpret things.

By community, I mean the social networks -twitter, barebackrt and so on, as well as blogs, that contribute to connections between individuals on the basis of a barebacker identity.

Elly said...

yes I see what you mean. I am not sure if it is a community though. As an 'identity' it is obviously disruptive of social norms. I see that.

Chris Ashford said...

I think this is a really interesting point Elly. What are your reasons for not believing it's a community? (I'm open to persuasion!)

S B said...

There are a few phrases that really annoy me one being "Role Model" and the other is "Gay Community "( remove or substitute another word in place of gay).I don't see how folk that use Twitter or Facebook ( or Gaydar)or simply happen to be gay can be described as any sort of community .It should be kept for people living in a small area like a village etc which is probably it's original meaning .

Elly said...

Well I tend to think of 'communities' as developing around shared attributes - e.g. 'gay community' or 'Afro-Carribean community'. Or activities, needs, ideals- the 'sex workers community' or some people refer to the 'sex positive community'.

But 'barebacking' is simply having sex without a condom. That to me just doesn't sound like enough to base a 'community' around. I have done a lot of 'barebacking' in my time, for example, but I don't feel part of a community!

S B said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
S B said...

To me the use of the term for almost every situation is just a nonsense can't have a "community" when hardly anyone in it knows anyone else . It's just one of those terms that has grown to be misused and one that I hate intensely .

Chris Ashford said...

I agree that 'community' is an over used term and I should clarify why I used the term. When I use 'bareback community', I am referring to those who self-identify as barebackers and who use virtual and 'real-world' networks to communicate with one another on the basis of their bareback behaviour and to express a barebacker identity. This is distinct from an individual who merely engages in bareback sex.

I accept the application of 'community' in this context is controversial (and is one reviewers have expressed to me) but I think it is appropriate. It is nonetheless, an interesting point of debate/discussion.

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