*note: this is not transcribed word for word*
Hey mom, hey dad, hey future mother of my children, hey parents of the future mother of my children, hey children, hey brother, hey great aunt, hey next door neighbor, hey boss, hey ex lover, hey old professor, hey tiger
I have an STI. It’s been breaking my heart and confidence for almost two months now. I don’t know how I got it, I don’t know when it is going away. I have felt hopeless, scared, disgusting, and worried since I was diagnosed with Molluscum Contagiousum in June. How could I bring up a sexually transmitted infection when I hardly even talk about sex. I don’t think I ever have on my channel. I too am part of the problem!
So yes, I do have sex, it is always consensual and with people I trust or love. Our choice to have or to not have sex should be easier to talk about, but currently, it simply is not. Thus, STIs are left silenced and either spread or cause emotional and physical isolation.
Anyway, look, it’s so hard. I’ve looked online, in media, everywhere for some form of optimism or support. but among all of these, I’ve seen the same hesitation to talk about it. The shame. The horrible things people have assumed about others bodies and lives and choices. It is debilitating, it is what kept me away from the internet and youtube for the past 6 weeks. Through reaching out to you all on facebook, I knew that I could be vulnerable about this. I knew I could I could announce this to the world, because I knew that I had at the support of hundreds of people who wouldn’t judge me or make me feel bad in my skin. Not everyone has this – now that I feel comfortable with it, I want to share with you my thoughts on the stigmas involved with STIs.
Did I get this because I had a lot of unprotected sex? I have had four different sexual partners in four years. I can count the people I’ve been sexually intimate with on two hands. I have never gotten drunk and had sex with someone I wasn’t already dating. I have had many steamy make out sesh’s in my life but only one “hook-up” that ended in sex, and that was with someone I had known for several years and trusted. In general, I’m a monogamist. I’ve loved having communicative sexual relationships, and I will continue to do so after this heals. I get tested regularly.
So it hit me like a surprise. DANG. Let’s start the blame game - How did I get this thing? From who?! Did they infect me on purpose?! I contacted an old partner who I still maintain a healthy relationship with – only because I was worried she gave it to me and maybe didn’t even know she had it. She doesn’t. I can guess where it came from, but it doesn’t matter. It is mine now, and my responsibility to take care of.
This leads me to the main point that I realized when I got this dang thing. I am sick. This is an infection, a virus, and I’m sick. And here’s what it comes down to: society is all messed up on thinking about STIs. It’s because we’re messed up when thinking about sex. If we could all accept that as of a certain age, we all experience sexual desire or we don’t – perhaps we could create a world where communication about sex is simple. For example: my friend comes home with a terrible cold. She rode the train to work that day and says “some guy kept coughing, but I didn’t think anything of it – maybe that’s where I got it from!” and most people will react with a “oh no! i’m so sorry you got sick. Do you want me to make you some soup?” or something nice and supportive. When I came home with an STI, society said “well that’s YOUR fault for having SEX with someone who wasn’t CLEAN and now you’re contagious and GROSS and stay the heck away from me EWWWW i don’t want to catch it.” Both people are sick – my friend with the cold and me with the virus. How ridiculous would it sound if when my friend came home sick, I said to her “well, that’s YOUR fault because you decided to take the TRAIN and that man was coughing so you should have covered your mouth or left IMMEDIATELY so deal with it.” If society could see that we all either have sex or we don’t, just like some of us take the train to work and some of us don’t, then it would be a simple transition. “Oh no, Sky, I’m so sorry. I imagine you saw their papers before you had sex and they were clean? Wait… you mean this one isn’t able to be tested in an STI screen? Ugh that is so frustrating! What sort of treatments are there for it for you to get better?”
I have met so many people over the past six weeks who have had this or another STI and I feel so much less alone. So know – you are not alone. Everything I read online felt so lonely, so soaked in shame and fear. I want you to see me here, with an STI of all things, to know it is okay to be angry, upset, sad. It is also okay to laugh at it, to feel confident about moving toward health, to feel empowered over your body. If you have any stories yourself, please feel free to share below. I know this world can’t always be a safe place to talk about these things, but I feel so much better just letting this out there, thank you so much. Check out this other video I made if you want to hear more specifically about my STI and the intersections of it with my transgender identity.