Wednesday, July 22, 2015

'Free Michael Johnson' Signs for Black HIV+ Gay on SF Streets

A grave injustice against a black gay HIV positive young man, Michael Johnson, who was recently sentenced to 30-years in prison for non-disclosure of his sero-status with sex partners who claim he infected them, needs more community attention and is getting some on the streets of San Francisco.

Johnson is 23-years-old, and was charged and found guilty of HIV transmission in Missouri under draconian laws passed in 1988, the plague years, and he was wrongfully demonized across social media. A few hookups were with men who were fully aware of his poz status and continued sexual relations with him after learning he was living with HIV.

He and I are exchanging snail-mail letters, and I'm committed to regularly writing him and remain a link to the outside world that has not forgotten about the miscarriage of justice he's suffering through. It's amazing how upbeat Johnson's letters are, considering all the legal and medical woes he's experiencing. His letters are private and I will keep them confidential.

Here in San Francisco, it looks as though Gay Shame has taken up Johnson case and created posters reading, "Free Michael Johnson. Decriminalize HIV. Celebrate Black Queerness".

I took pictures of two locations with heavy pedestrian and bicycle traffic, where the posters are wheat-pasted at eye-level and hard to miss. No group's name appears on the posters. I couldn't agree more with the messages of the signs and will Johnson aware of them in my next letter to him.

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