Bare Friends!

Gravatar: Jay and Roger!

Prologue:

My regular publishing schedule for ReNude Pride is Monday and Friday. Since my back-to-back publication here for “Bottoms-Up! End of December, 2022!” and “Nude New Year, 2023!” I decided to post entry this today, January 3, rather than yesterday.

Background:

January 3, 2009, the day that I first met Jay, who has become a fast and loyal friend of mine! Barack Obama had just been elected as “president-to-be” in November, 2008. This country was desperate for and seriously needed a change in direction, a change in leadership and the promise of hope – and a chance of a future!

On this date, Mr. Obama was just a few brief weeks away from officially assuming his presidency. Everywhere in the Washington, D.C. area, there was an atmosphere of excitement, of fulfillment and a sense of hope, joy and promise. Of kindness and respect. Of decency, honesty and renewal. Those “weapons of mass destruction” were proven false, nonexistent and evaporated into complete fabrication.

Truth!

Jay:

This was the tone of the atmosphere that existed the day we first met and began our friendship. At that time, there was a local bar (tavern) in downtown Washington, D.C., that on two Saturday afternoons every month (the first and the third) was rented to a local gay men’s social nudity club for “naked happy hour” from 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. (also referred to as “naked cocktails”). There exists a very “seedy and sleazy” inference on the choice of “cocktail!” Great minds, descend into the gutter and get to work!

The crowd at the social nude event on that day was wall-to-wall. Before the first hour had passed the doors were locked and the only admittance was only if someone on the inside left. The District of Columbia Fire Marshall had posted an officer at the entrance to physically monitor the situation and the compliance.

Jay was already seated at a table for two, alone, when I saw him from across the lobby. There was an empty chair beside him. I headed in that direction through the mob. When we made eye-contact, I pointed to the chair with a questioning expression on my face. Jay smiled, pulled out the chair and patted the seat with his hands. I nodded, pointed to my right ear and shook my head in a negative manner, conveying to him that I am Deaf. He laughed and using his hands made the fingerspelling for “okay.” We had just given birth to a friendship!

We were both completely naked when we met. We had stripped out of our clothes in different restrooms when we arrived at the bar.

Good advice!

From Then Until Now:

From this date in 2009 onward, Jay and I have forged together a friendship that we both treasure and trust, even after he moved away from the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region. He witnessed first-hand the beginning of my live-in relationship with my spouse, Aaron, in 2010 and our marriage, five years later. I have watched the growth of his relationship with his partner, Raheem. Last year, he and Raheem were guest authors here on ReNude Pride on a post entry entitled “BRAT!”

Avatar for my friend, Rohan, The Nubian-Ikigai!

This past year, On September 8, 2022, I received a comment here from The Nubian-Ikigai regarding the posted announcement of Her Late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, Canada, Jamaica and the Head of the Commonwealth. That comment led to email correspondence between Rohan, the Nubian-Ikigai and myself that continues today.

My friendship with Rohan resulted in an interview with him published this past November, 2022, and then with Rohan appearing as a guest author here on World AIDS Day, December 1, 2022! He is now publishing his own blog here and I invite all of you to join me in following his site:

Crossing the Styx

Bare practitioners do indeed make a beneficial and rewarding brotherhood of friends! Discard all your clothes and discover who you can meet today!

Read his lips…

“Thank you, Jay, Raheem and Rohan, the Nubian-Ikigai!”

Thank you Jay, Raheem and Rohan, the Nudian-Ikigai, for the exceptional and the extraordinary gift of friendship without the baggage of clothing!

Naked hugs!

Roger Poladopoulos/ReNude Pride

Author’s Note: The next post entry for here is planned for Friday, January 6, 2023, and the proposed topic is: “Reciprocity!”

Great Breaking News!

NubianIkigai

Rohan, the Nubian-Ikigai, featured here in and interview on November 25, 2022, and a guest author here on December 1, 2022: World AIDS Day has officially opened and is now publishing his blog: Crossing the Styx! The site features an About Me page and his initial post entry.

To access his site, please click the link below:

Crossing the Styx

Naked hugs!

Roger Poladopoulos/ReNude Pride

Author’s Note: The next post planned for here is Friday, December 16, 2022, and the proposed topic is: “Goodbye, Boxers!”

World AIDS Day, 2022!

The Red Ribbon symbolizes World AIDS Day and HIV/AIDS awareness!

Proudly show that you are aware and that you care. Wear your red ribbon!

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Basic Facts About HIV/AIDS:

HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.

AIDS is a result of being infected with HIV.

HIV is not spread through everyday, casual contact.

A physician is needed to diagnose AIDS.

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Red ribbon = HIV/AIDS awareness and concern!

“It’s not who we are, but rather what we do that determines the risk factor of HIV infection.” ~ Red Cross HIV/AIDS prevention education ~

Follow protocols for reducing HIV infections:

Do not share needles, syringes or drug use tools.

Avoid contact with body fluids.

Treat everyone with care and respect.

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Since the first World AIDS Day observance on December 1, 1988. The date was first conceived in August, 1987, by James Bunn and Thomas Netter, two public information officers for the Global Programme on AIDS at the World Health Organisation in Geneva, Switzerland.

Each year, Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis have released messages for both patients and health care providers on World AIDS Day. They have also publicly offered prayers for a world living with HIV.

In the USA, the White House (presidential home) began observing World AIDS Day under the administration of President Clinton and the iconic display of a 28-foot massive Red AIDS Awareness Ribbon on the North Portico of the building. It was the first banner to prominently hang from the White House since the presidency of Abraham Lincoln.

Get tested! Know your HIV status!
Remember: a latex condom every time!

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A Red Ribbon on World AIDS Day!

Public Testimonial

by Rohan, the Nubian-Ikigai

It was in the late autumn of 1978 that I came into this world. My mom would always tell me that I was an overdue birth; as it I didn’t want to leave the womb. I see it like being cuddled up in bed. Who’d want to leave such a comfy spot? To this very day, that has still remained my all-time favourite activity.

So being born in 1978 meant that I grew up in the 80’s. Wow! What a decade! Madonna, Punk fashions, Hurricane Gilbert and skyrocketing food prices – if you’re Jamaican – and…AIDS!

Being an island didn’t mean that we were isolated from world issues, especially when your island is renowned for its culture, its beaches, its sunshine and sex. I saw all the AIDS prevention ads on TV: “AIDS kills,” “stick to one steady partner,” “use a condom,” and “you can’t tell by looking.” I grew up scared! I grew up being scared of actually growing up!

Throughout high school, we teens would laugh about stuff pertaining to sex and sexuality, there was little or no sex education in school and what we learned came from porn, the dancehall music or the local pastor. The radio broadcast the death of Freddie Mercury. I remember that so well because I was wearing a Queen t-shirt at that very moment! I heard of Arthur Ashe; in school we talked and laughed about the death of Rock Hudson – I didn’t know who he was at that time. But the dearest tragedy for me was when I learned that Olympic diver Greg Louganis was diagnosed HIV+. I was personally touched because I knew who he was. He was my hero, a gay Olympic champion! And, of course, during the 80’s and 90’s, they constantly reminded us of the growing numbers of new cases.

Greg Louganis, Olympic gold medal winner!

So as I fast forward a bit to young adult, HIV/AIDS was less and less stranger. It was now a reality. It had faces! And faces that I knew!

I made friends with people working in the local AIDS support association and the church I attended did volunteering and outreach. Being scared didn’t shield me from the harsh realities of my life. I wasn’t going to be spared. AIDS was not going to have pity. Not on this little island boy. No sir!… Familiar faces kept vanishing, boys I fell in love with kept getting sick: Julian, Everton, Fred, Frank. A church member was dying. I saw their faces. I saw their bodies lying on the hospital beds. I saw them agonizing. I saw them dying…I loved them. I loved them as hard as I could. I held them in my heart; it’s all I could have done.

There was only love, that’s what they needed, not pity or shame, but Love. I understood that. I had that gift.

Allisson was my elder. She and I were friends, we weren’t that close. She was the first child my dad got from his first relationship, so, we were as close as two half-siblings who were ten years apart could be. She had her life and her family: boyfriend, son and daughter. I checked in with her as often as I could. I still thank God for that last moment I spent with her. It was in the local store where she worked. Allisson was standing there behind the counter. She looked so thin, so pale, so not all together there. Nothing could have prepared me for that grim phone call I’d received a few years later…AIDS took my beloved sister.

Princess Diana: first person of prominence to casually greet a person living with AIDS.

To be honest I did my best to play it safe, but I also took my fair share of risks. I even slept with the enemy. Why I didn’t remember all those faces, all those bodies I saw, covered in sores, laying on those hospital beds? Why didn’t I remember the agony? I should have ran! But I didn’t…I wanted cuddles instead. It only takes one encounter. I slept with this guy twice in the Summer of 2005 I was diagnosed in the Fall of that very same year. Painful urine and a creamy white substance leaking from my penis made me go to the doctor real quick.

I was alone when I went to the doctor’s, I was alone when the doctor broke the news, I was alone when I went to the hospital to have his diagnosis confirmed. I was alone to face the stark reality that I was not going to be living a normal life. Oddly though, the news that I was HIV positive wasn’t as earth shattering. It didn’t have that devastating effect as I had imagined. I didn’t scream, or cry, or ask God why? Maybe it’s my way of dealing with trauma: in silence.

My explanation is that, growing up gay prepared me for days like these. If I could handle growing up gay in a homophobic society such as mine, anything else would be a piece of cake. I kind of figured that, somehow it’s kind of logical, sad way to think. I agree it’s a bit fatalistic: being gay isn’t a death sentence! But for me it was. So I imagine I was accepting my fate. My mom was right. A gay life is one of damnation and hellfire. And this was exactly what I deserved.

Since then, I’ve celebrated seventeen birthdays, visited six countries and changed two jobs. I have met my beautiful niece who is also living with the disease as she was contaminated at birth and I am currently in a stable long-term relationship. I am disciplined regarding my meds and my combat still rages more than ever. I can’t say that I have had to face discrimination regarding AIDS as not that many people know. I do my best to stay healthy, “Sound Mind, Sound Body.” I workout regularly and I combat negativity. I have grown to love myself, understand and own who I am and cultivate self-worth. I was young but now I am mature, I have seen my friends fallen by the wayside but I am still here. I had to learn gratitude.

Living with HIV is a daily reminder that I need to turn fear and trauma into triumph. I have had a new beginning, renewed hope. A fighting chance. I have to believe, not only in myself but in whatever higher power there may be. I need to believe that somewhere out there and also within, there is a greater power…love! Doesn’t love conquer all?

Rohan, the Nubian-Ikigai, our guest author!

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I am very appreciative of Rohan, the Nubian-Ikigai for sharing his personal testimonial with all of us here on ReNude Pride on the occasion of World AIDS Day, 2022. His courage and honesty is a remarkable and significant accomplishment that indeed reflects his dedication to dispelling myths and misinformation about being same gender loving (gay) as well as about living with HIV. He is a commendable guest author and I sincerely invite him to contribute whenever possible!

Naked hugs!

Roger Poladopoulos/ReNude Pride

Author’s Note: The next post entry for here is planned for tomorrow, Friday, December 2, 2022, and the proposed topic is: “Seasonal Signs!”