I know that Freedom Of Expression is a very valuable and catchpenny commodity in modern society, something the press and media hold dear and social media trolls revel in. And this post wouldn’t exist if that was all I had to talk about, because Kito Diaries has proven to be the home of everyone freely expressing their opinions, bandying them about and sometimes attempting to shove them down other people’s throats. All that I don’t mind. Oftentimes, these opinions have been marinated in cusswords and distasteful language. It’s a struggle, but I have made my peace with that too. It is something I’m after all guilty of.
But there is a line I want to draw.
Kito Diaries may be a hot bed of controversy, but it is what it is today because of the willingness of KDians to tell their stories and share them for the readership, delight, commiseration and admonishment of others. People who pen down write-ups, whether fiction, nonfiction or opinion pieces, know to expect either overwhelming support and pathos from the readers, or intense backlash for having something unpopular to say. And those who go ahead to write, in spite of the Big Bad Wolf known as KD commenters, are commendable. I know of some people who are still mining courage from within themselves to tell their stories, unsure what reaction to expect.
And indeed, all reaction is acceptable; freedom of expression is after all everyone’s precious toy to play with, right?
HIV/AIDS is an issue I take very seriously, and people, who are living with or suffering from it, survive when they are encouraged to go about their lives as normal, without having their ailment thrown in their face, either out of pity or derision. Discrimination against those living with HIV comes in different shades, and while pity is understandable, derision is inexcusable.
One of yesterday’s posts was proof of how diverse the opinions of any given people can be, and how fiercely and determined this people can be in the protection of their opinions. A lot of words were said, conflicts were fostered, and tempers were heated. Yet, somewhere through all that, there is a thread of humour everyone could find. I stopped laughing when a commenter’s HIV status became a ‘compromised immune system affecting your eyesight now’. That is exactly the kind of comment that discourages readers of KD living with HIV from sharing their stories here; when you realize that telling this particular LGBT community about your struggles with this ailment means that when you are having a disagreement with someone in the comments section, your status can be clapped back in your face.
This is not the first time this is happening, and perhaps, because I did not draw this line, it seemed okay for it to happen again.
Well here it is then: You may say what you want to say, or be who you want to be on KD. But you MAY NOT, under any guise, discriminate against anyone whose HIV status is positive and known to this community. THAT I will not tolerate. THAT is the line I am drawing.
And in other news, the interest shown on the KD Support System has been overwhelming, especially from those interested in counseling those struggling with HIV, depression or the after effects of Kito episodes. It has been a struggle attending to the mails, but it’s not something the system hasn’t been able to handle. Unfortunately, there has been a lack of response from those needing this proffered help. Not a lot of people going through these personal demons have indicated interest in needing help. In my opinion, this isn’t because these people do not exist. It simply is a factor of TRUST. That is understandable. But this support system is as much a genuine effort as the struggle is real.
And so, if You are battling any of these problems, and have no one to guide You through them, do find a place within You to pick up the courage to ask for HELP. Send a mail. And the KD Support System would do its best to get You through it all. These demons are very often not something anyone should endure alone. The mail is email@example.com. There’s someone who’s a click away from being the listening ear and reassuring voice You need.