Simon quit the job where we worked together. I didn’t hear about him for a long time. The next time I heard about him was when people at work started whispering about how he’d contracted HIV. A friend of a friend of a friend heard, and they made a point to tell everyone.
I was sad to hear that Simon had contracted HIV. I was even more sad to hear that a lot of people at work were worried that because of this I might have HIV too.
Simon was gay and I am gay. We worked at the same job.
We never had sex. We never dated. We never hung out as friends except for one or two large group settings. I would have hung out with him one-on-one. He was a nice person. But we never had sex. And we definitely never had unprotected sex.
And the moral of the story is that my co-workers were simple enough people to assume that because two gay men were within a mile of each other they were fucking — and doing so without a condom.
I considered contacting the corporate office and filing a complaint. My co-workers’ gossip and ignorance was a disrespect to me, a disrespect to Simon, and a disrespect to gay people in general. I had trouble sleeping for a week.
I wasn’t worried about my health. It didn’t bother me if my dumb ass co-workers thought I had HIV. It bothered me that there are people who have trouble grasping the fact that two gay men can just be friends with each other.
I hope Simon is doing okay. I don’t miss my co-workers at all.