Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2016-08-31
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


  WINDY CITY TIMES

AIDS: My Fabulous Disease: A blog in four movements from Mark S. King
by Joe Franco
2011-11-30

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


Mark S. King was diagnosed with HIV in 1985, only shortly after any viable test for the virus was made available. "I call my blog My Fabulous Disease because I refused to be defined by a disease. Now I am defining the disease. I refused to be defined by illness or suffering," he said, adding that he started his video and written blog because he liked the "instant gratification" he got and that he enjoyed the repartee with his audience.

King began his career as an actor in Los Angeles appearing in commercials and even winning a car on the Price Is Right. (You can read and watch this on his blog. According to him, it was a highlight of his life.)

During the early '80s, King worked as a phone sex operator: "You know how actors have their cliché summer acting jobs? Well, I had a non-cliché summer phone sex operator job." That job eventually led to King's own phone sex company "Telerotic—Where our guys know you like the palm of your hand." Eventually, as AIDS emerged as a national health crisis, King sold Telerotic.

"Prior to AIDS I was a shallow gay guy, working out and getting laid. I did my part to spread the gay around," said King. "HIV was my awakening about things that I was doing that were not so important. Before that, my life was the antithesis of what we're all called to do." King expressed his extreme gratitude to still be here after more than 27 years of being HIV positive. "I survived the '80s alone, and a serious drug addiction. Now I have more friends and a better sense of community. It's that kind of community that we should want more of," he said.

When asked what he thought about the new gay generation's possible waning of interest in the AIDS epidemic, King had some poignant advice: "Give them a break! Cut them some slack! People say that 'No one sees this [AIDS] as a crisis anymore'. Thank. God. Isn't that what we've been working towards all of these years? People aren't as afraid anymore. This is not to say that they should be doing nothing. Being involved in the community gives a sense of belonging and meaning. This leads to a greater sense of self-esteem and the taking of fewer unhealthy risks in their lives."

King's blog is candid. Not in a scripted "Real Housewives of New York" way but in a manner that allows a reader and viewer of the blog to understand and relate to King on a deeply personal level. He admitted to a more than 10-year struggle with crystal meth. "Crystal meth, in particular, is an epidemic," he said. "Friends of mine were there one day then just 'poof' gone the next, either from seeking the drug or from an overdose."

In the mid-'90s protease inhibitor-type drugs were made available to those with HIV and suddenly fewer men were dying. "We were happy and relieved. We just wanted to reclaim our sexuality," said King. "As gay men we grew up feeling 'less than' and not feeling a part of any community. We were wiling to go, even to drugs, as a way to change the way we felt. We still do this with alcohol to some extent."

"I quit my job. How could the director of an AIDS agency be caught in a sex club, high on god knows what, and having unprotected sex? I was suffering from some sort of post-traumatic stress," he said. "Mind you, I was not the only one who this happened to. There were names bigger and more important than mine doing the same thing."

King's most recent blog posts involve his recent break-up with his partner. Some blogs might gloss over those parts of the blogger's life that are unsavory or unpleasant, but in his own way, King's blog demonstrates for us that life is neither all a bed of roses or a crown of thorns. "I need to regroup. I will be moving back to Atlanta. I'm sure the blog will chronicle whatever transitions await me," King said, adding that he, like many other gay men, seem to need to always be with a man. "I was already thinking about the next man and that is so unhealthy. I was afraid. I was afraid of being alone and unlovable. But I have faith that everything is going to be okay. I really just need to take the time to examine what has happened."

King also dabbled in drag. Drag is either something gay men do because, as Noxezma Jackson from To Wong Foo put it "they have WAY too much fashion sense for one gender." But drag is also something that some gay men fall into and thus King's alter-ego "Anita Mann" was born.

"I became a multi-media drag queen," said King. "Before Anita, I had never even put on a dress. This was raising money and awareness for AIDS. I actually had some problems putting on the dress. I never went out in drag and almost immediately after doing a show, was back in a t-shirt and jeans." Like many aspects of King's life, during his struggles with meth, Anita became a hindrance to his drug use. But after being clean now for more than four years, Anita is back with a vengeance. "Anita only performs for events that raise money and awareness for AIDS or for those people in recovery."

While King's blog seems like full-time work, for him it is a hobby, but one that brings him considerable joy. " I love writing. This is my voice. I gotta tell you though, I cry at least once a week," he said. "I get an e-mail at least once a week from someone who thought that their life was over. But they read something that makes them laugh and somehow, that makes them feel comforted."

King's blog may be unorthodox and provocative, but it is also riotously funny. It is just not mere babble about one's man's life living with HIV like the Lone Ranger and Tonto. We get the unusual treat of interacting with what it means to be a community. We learn what "belonging" means.

You can read and watch My Fabulous Disease at marksking.com/


facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Visibility: Art AIDS America exhibit converts Chicago bank into gallery 2016-08-24
AIDS History: 35th Anniversary of Gathering in Larry Kramer's Living Room 2016-08-11
Experts: 'Negligible risk' of HIV transmission if person is virally undetectable 2016-08-10
National: Hillary's HIV/AIDS platform, Pulse Nightclub, Cleveland Pride 2016-08-09
Band together, Illinois: AIDS Run & Walk Chicago to unite the HIV community Oct. 1 2016-08-05
Clinton builds on her commitment to end AIDS as an epidemic 2016-08-02
HIV-positive activist speaks at DNC 2016-07-28
Quigley Statement on FDA Request for Comment Period on Blood Donor Deferral Policy 2016-07-27
HIV positive speaker at the Democratic National Convention after 12 year hiatus 2016-07-27
New blood-donation rules for gay men slowly take effect 2016-07-20
Chicago House unveils new leaders 2016-07-20
AIDS Healthcare Foundation holds pre-RNC concert 2016-07-18
Report: No new transmissions between HIV-negative partners and people on HIV treatment 2016-07-15
'Art AIDS America' coming Dec. 1 2016-07-14
Ride for AIDS culminates with emotional festival 2016-07-13
Chicago House announces new board members 2016-07-07
Ride for AIDS Chicago: Fighting HIV/AIDS mile after mile 2016-06-29
Nat'l HIV Testing Day June 27 2016-06-22
Panel examines challenges of HIV prevention 2016-06-21
Rep. Quigley, 114 Bipartisan House Members Push FDA to End Gay, Bi Blood Ban 2016-06-21
AIDS @ 35: Gaylord discusses a life in "creative" activism 2016-06-19
AMA Urges Physician Education on Use of Once-A-Day HIV Prevention 2016-06-18
Newest edition of Red Ribbon Cash ticket unveiled 2016-06-13
AIDS @ 35: Sean Strub speaks about the HIV/AIDS crisis 2016-06-08
CDPH receives $3 million grant for HIV prevention and care 2016-06-08
Obama statement on 35th anniversary of HIV/AIDS in America 2016-06-05
CNN's "The Eighties: The Fight Against AIDS" episode airs June 2 2016-06-01
Chicagoan among pharmacists' group's newest officers 2016-06-01
Longtime AIDS activist focuses on criminal-justice system 2016-06-01
Report: Southern MSM most at risk for HIV 2016-05-25
UN blocks orgs that rep trans people from AIDS meeting 2016-05-22
Incoming Chicago House CEO looks ahead 2016-05-15
Clinton meets with HIV/AIDS activists 2016-05-15
Hillary Clinton meets with HIV/AIDS activists 2016-05-12
National roundup: GLAAD PSA, Alabama ordinance, AIDS memorial 2016-05-04
Atripla removed from preferred

drug list 2016-05-04

HIV/AIDS PSA launched by GLAAD and Taylor Foundation 2016-04-27
Quigley Directs FDA to Remove Blood Donor Biased Question 2016-04-20
HIV-to-HIV organ transplants performed 2016-04-20
National roundup: Task Force's call, N.C. law, Hillary and AIDS activists 2016-04-19
 



Copyright © 2016 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.

www.windycitymediagroup.com
[email protected]  •  [email protected]  •  [email protected]

Website Powered by LoveYourWebsite.com