I typically try to shy away from anything too serious or political on my blog but this is news that's pretty big in the Leather Community.
Below is a letter from Chuck Renslow of IML. Take a read and feel free to leave your comments. Mine is below.
**UPDATE** An update to this post can be read HERE.
On behalf of International Mr. Leather, Inc., I would like to thank you for your past support and in particular for your participation as a vendor in our annual Leather Market. We are writing you today to inform you of a policy change affecting next year (2010) and all future markets.
Though we are now three decades into the HIV/AIDS epidemic, no cure has been found. The CDC and local health officials inform us that new infections are on the rise. And, while we have had some success developing medications that might make infection more manageable, that accomplishment comes at a price. Not having experienced the deaths - the loss of loved ones -- which preceded these medications, we have an entire generation who may not fully appreciate or comprehend the severity of the situation.
Too many in our community believe HIV/AIDS is curable or manageable. Too few understand that HIV/AIDS infections dominate life. We believe that it is our duty to inform and educate. Several years ago when “Meth” was the scourge of our community, IMLdrew a line in the sand and raised awareness and used all our influence to try and stop this addictive madness. As is the case with HIV/AIDS, we believe it is our further obligation to do everything in our power to prevent future infections.
To that end, after considerable discussion, the Executive Committee of International Mr. Leather has decided that it will no longer allow participation in the IML Leather Market by any entity which promotes barebacking or distributes/sells any merchandise tending to promote or advocate barebacking. This restriction will also apply to distribution of gifts, post cards or any other information via our facilities. This policy takes effect immediately.
Chuck Renslow, President
International Mr. Leather
So, let me be a huge jerk for a moment and have an Opinion. That's allowed, right?
*looks up at the Blog Title*
Why, yes, yes it is!
I remember back when IML had a press release (and posters at IML) that read something along the lines of "Don't Bring Meth or Drugs to IML. If you do, we'll call the cops on you. No, really, we will". That was a big deal back then because Meth was the drug of choice. It made a difference. It educated and gave a lot of people a bitchslap of reality.
Now, I'm not comparing HIV/AIDS to Meth, but I am very happy to hear about this "change" because of a similar change it could potentially bring.
Why? From my experience, there are so many younger people that think that they don't have to ask a person's status before sex... not anymore. Most know that medicine has changed and has made living with HIV/AIDS more managable. And many think, "eh, if he'd tell me if he was, so I don't have to tell him either". STUPID. Both thoughts are STUPID.
I agree with others (blogs, conversing) that this decision helps set an example for the younger generation. Maybe it'll help wake the kids up (a little?). Maybe this will cause a re-boot of education and responsibility?
And if you disagree, the world has not ended, you can still order your Barebacking porn online.
Now, if we can just get rid of the guy in that dark corner of the IML Vendor Market that sells Beastiality videos. *raised eyebrow at IML*
That's my 2 cents.