“Open letter to DaBaby” from national LGBTQ and HIV / AIDS organizations

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Eleven national LGBTQ and HIV / AIDS organizations on Wednesday issued an open letter to rapper DaBaby following his recent homophobic statements and clumsy apology attempts, calling for a private meeting to discuss the facts about HIV and how it is is a preventable and treatable disease. , and discuss a long-term opportunity for him to pass the education on to his large fan base.

The organizations are: Arianna’s Center, Black AIDS Institute, GLAAD, The Normal Anomaly Initiative, Prevention Access Campaign, Relationship Unleashed, The 6:52 Project Foundation, and leaders of the Gilead COMPASS Initiative including Southern AIDS Coalition, Emory University, University of Houston and Wake Forest University.

The letter appears in full below, but its substance is in this paragraph: “We have heard your inaccurate and damaging Rolling Loud comments and have read your Instagram apologies. However, at a time when HIV continues to disproportionately impact black Americans and queer and transgender people of color, dialogue is essential. We need to address the poor education about HIV, expressed in your comments, and the impact it has on various communities. DaBaby’s comments resulted in the cancellation of several of the rapper’s concerts.

The open letter was written and signed by organizations providing HIV education, capacity building and direct services to those most affected by HIV / AIDS, especially black LGBTQ communities in the southern United States, which account for the majority of new HIV cases. Organizations that signed the letter include the Gilead COMPASS Initiative Focal Centers at Emory University, University of Houston, Southern AIDS Coalition, and Wake Forest University. The Gilead COMPASS initiative is a 10-year, $ 100 million commitment to end HIV in the southern United States by collaborating with more than 180 community organizations and other stakeholders in several areas of intervention, including efforts fight against stigma.

An open letter to DaBaby

We, the undersigned, represent organizations leading the fight to prevent HIV and provide care and treatment for people living with HIV, especially black LGBTQ people in the southern United States.

We’ve heard your inaccurate and damaging Rolling Loud comments and read your apologies on Instagram. However, at a time when HIV continues to disproportionately impact black Americans and queer and transgender people of color, dialogue is essential. We need to address the poor education about HIV, expressed in your comments, and the impact it has on various communities.

2021 marks the 40th year of the HIV / AIDS epidemic and the biggest obstacles in our work to end HIV are the aggravated stigmas attached to anti-dark, living with HIV, misogyny and attitudes and stereotypes anti-LGBTQ, all of which are fueled by misinformation. It is fear and stigma that keep people, especially black Americans, from more easily accessing HIV prevention or care that white Americans still have and continue to access more easily. We believe that now you have the opportunity not only to overcome this unfortunate incident, but to use your platform and your fame to heal, not to harm.

We believe that anyone can be an HIV advocate by amplifying: how there are drugs (PrEP) that can prevent people from getting HIV from one pill a day, how routine treatment prevents transmission of the virus from people living with HIV, how people receiving HIV care can survive and thrive while living with it, and how open and empathetic conversations break down stigma. You can be a powerful and influential voice, especially in your home base in the South, where the needs of the Black community are noticeably under-represented in all public areas. We encourage you to share this information with your fans and followers, and become an agent of truth and change.

Musical artists have historically led the way in improving understanding of HIV and accelerating acceptance of LGBTQ people. Several artists and platforms have spoken out against you. While we appreciate their position, we also invite them to take action and do their part to end HIV by supporting organizations like ours that serve black, LGBTQ and / or people living with HIV.

As mentioned in your last apology, education is important. We agree. GLAAD and Gilead Science’s 2020 State of HIV Stigma Study found that 90% of Americans believe “there is a stigma around HIV”, that “people quickly judge people with HIV” and “people do. assumptions when a person is tested for HIV ”. There was a significant number of people (40%) who did not know that HIV can be treated. Almost 60% mistakenly believe that it is “important to take care of people living with HIV to avoid catching it”.

Here are the facts:

  • People living with HIV today, when on effective treatment, lead long, healthy lives and cannot transmit HIV through sex. Treatment can remove the virus to a point where it is no longer detected in a person’s body. When it is not detected, it is non-transferable, key message of the U = U campaign.
  • In the United States, approximately 1.2 million people are HIV positive. 13% of them do not know it, which reinforces the need for HIV testing and ends the stigma surrounding HIV testing.
  • Those most vulnerable to HIV are those who have limited access to transport, housing, health care and social support. We should focus on advocating for resources in our community rather than stigmatizing women and LGBTQ people.
  • Black Americans account for more HIV diagnoses (43%), people living with HIV (42%), and the most deaths among people living with HIV (44%) than any other racial and ethnic group in the United States. United
  • The CDC says the southern United States has the highest rates of HIV and lags behind in providing quality HIV prevention care and services. According to AIDSVu, a program at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University and the Center for AIDS Research at Emory University, 31,864 people are living with HIV in North Carolina, where you grew up.
  • Medicines like PrEP protect people who do not have HIV from getting it. The CDC says that PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99% when taken as prescribed.

As leaders of organizations directly serving Black, LGBTQ and HIV + communities, we invite you to a private and confidential virtual discussion with us. You said that you now understand how and why your comments were damaging. Open conversation has the potential for you to now create significant impact by moving from an opponent to a defender.

Truly,

Dr. Samira Ali, Director, SUSTAIN Center at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work

Dr Davin D. Clemons, Co-Founder and CFO, Relationship Unleashed

Gwendolyn D. Clemons, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Relationship Unleashed

Kia Colbert, Program Director, EnCORE, Emory Centers for Public Health Training and Technical Assistance

Raniyah Copeland, President and CEO, Black AIDS Institute

Ian L. Haddock, Founder and Executive Director, The Normal Anomaly Initiative

Arianna Inurritegui-Lin, Founder of the Arianna Center

Rev. Dr. Shonda Jones, Wake Forest Faith Coordinating Center

Dr Allison Mathews, Wake Forest University Faith Coordinating Center

Warren A. O’Meara-Dates, Founder / CEO, The 6:52 Project Foundation, Inc.

Deondre B. Moore, Head of Partnerships and Community Engagement in the United States, Access to Prevention Campaign

Neena Smith-Bankhead, Center Director, EnCORE, Emory Centers for Public Health Training and Technical Assistance

Bec Sokha Keo (they / them), Public Impact Scholar, SUSTAIN Center at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work

DaShawn Usher, Associate Director, Communities of Color, GLAAD

Dafina Ward, Executive Director, Southern AIDS Coalition

Organizations signing the letter include:

  • Arianna’s Center, an organization serving the transgender community in South Florida that focuses on trans people living with HIV.
  • Black AIDS Institute, the only think and do tank in the country dedicated exclusively to ending the HIV epidemic in black America
  • Emory Centers for Public Health Training and Technical Assistance Center EnCORE in Atlanta, GA.
  • GLAAD, a national LGBTQ media advocacy organization.
  • The Normal Anomaly Initiative, a Houston-based organization that works to change the narrative of the black queer community, particularly at the intersection of health and racial disparities.
  • Access to Prevention Campaign, a health equity initiative to end the dual epidemic of HIV and HIV-related stigma by giving people living with HIV and vulnerable to HIV accurate and meaningful information about their social and sexual health and reproductive.
  • Relationship Unleashed, a Memphis-based organization that creates social, cultural, and professional equity for members of Tennessee’s black LGBTQ community.
  • Southern AIDS Coalition, a diverse community working across political, religious and geographic boundaries to end the HIV epidemic in the South.
  • The 6:52 Project Foundation, which helps individuals and organizations interested in research, education and / or prevention and spread of HIV.
  • SUSTAIN Center at the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Houston
  • Wake Forest University Faith Coordination Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.



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