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4. Ashamed - I thought I'd let down the community: But I hadn't

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Monkeypox - when I was super sick, in pain and feeling really under the weather - that wasn't even the worst part. It was telling people. I couldn't put my finger on why, though.

I knew in my rational brain that I had done nothing wrong. But I couldn't shake this feeling. For the longest time - Ā I couldn't figure it out. And then it hit me.

I grew up in the 90s, in the shadow of HIV hearing all the awful things the newspapers and people had to say about the virus, and gay sex. The shame I was feeling wasn't because I'd done that affected me, but that I'd let down others. That I'd given ammo to every homophobe about the stereotypes around LGBTQIA+ people - specifically gay men.

When I started to produce this series, I was nervous. Not because I was talking about myself, or the condition or even that I would be discussing sex. But because of the shame Iā€™d internalised from the world around me because of the stigma placed upon us.

Internalised queer shame is something so many of us have picked up, and Monkeypox is just another reminder - so join us as we find out just what the pox we can do about it. This week's guests are:

  • Matthew Todd - Author of Straight Jacket, former Attitude editor
  • Conor Macis - PHD student and Uni of Bristol teacher who shares his monkeypox journey
  • Liam Beattie - Trades Union campaigner, former Terrance Higgins Trust staffer
  • Marc Thompson - Co-founder of Prepster

Listen to understand:

  • Why the shame and stigma with HIV, feels so familiar to monkeypox - and what we can do about it
  • How we internalise shame from the stigma put on us by the world - plus how we can combat it
  • Why the norms of a heterosexual world, doesn't have to be what we strive for as we carve out a queer way to live

What The Pox supporters and QueerAF members can listen ad free - find out more about how you can help me end the silence on Monkeypox and get early access to future episodes.

Credits: Hosted and produced by Martin Joseph. Directed and executive produced by Jamie Wareham. A QueerAF Production. With thanks to all of our guests valuable time.

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