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Magic Johnson or Cabestany?
(Blogmensgo, November 25, 2011) On Saturday, November 12, 2011, an unknown Mayor (John Vila) from a small town (Cabestany in the Oriental Pyrenees) symbolically married two strangers of the same sex (Patrick and William). Twenty years ago, November 7, 1991, a world-famous basketball player (Magic Johnson) announced his HIV status. Both events have created a buzz. But their long-term effects are not the same because they are two very different types of buzz from each other.
The marriage of the two lovers has been celebrated as symbolic, since France has not legalized gay marriage. This was mainly to advocate gay marriage and tease the presidential candidates and also the French public on this issue.
The revelation of his HIV status by Magic Johnson stemmed from a completely different context. We must go back twenty years to understand who Earvin Johnson Jr., aka Magic Johnson was: One of the greatest basketball players of all time, as popular in those days as what was later Michael Jordan. For those who do not understand the sport, say that Magic Johnson was the basketball equivalent of Ayrton Senna in motor racing, Andre Agassi in tennis and football Michel Platini: almost a living god.
But the buzz with Magic Johnson was very different from that created by Rock Hudson who announced on July 25, 1985, that he had AIDS. The buzz is very different because the career of Hudson was vegetating while Johnson was at the height of his glory. Buzz still in that Rock Hudson was still a living symbol of the hero and heartthrob, The buzz was also very different because of the revelation of homosexuality and AIDS, where Rock Hudson destroyed a myth, while the disclosure of HIV status of Michael Johnson reinforced a myth.
In other words, the public lost interest quickly when Rock Hudson made his announcement as he could label it as homosexual (AIDS was generally considered a "gay disease" So as a patent of infamy), while the extraordinary popularity enjoyed by Magic Johnson aroused the interest of the general public for this disease which, six years after the death of Rock Hudson lost his seal of infamy as it touched people "from all sides" and personalities such as Hervé Guibert known about in the media.
So the hetero Magic Johnson aroused much more consciousness alone that most homosexuals alone can do. So, it is clear that the double work of advocacy and awareness raising is needed, it comes from the LGBT community or heterosexual community, and that is for the LGBT community or the heterosexual community. It will be remembered even about Magic Johnson in twenty years, but it's not because everyone will have forgotten the two lovebirds Cabestany that their initiative was not somewhere equally necessary than the actions of Magic Johnson.
This is precisely where I was going. Community action has value and impact if it is not running in a closed circuit, as well as initiatives outside the community should not be neglected just because they are alien.
Going back to our Magic basketball player, I note that for twenty years campaigning for better control and for better information on HIV / AIDS, especially through the foundation that bears his name. His main regret is that people believe, seeing him in good health after twenty years of HIV infection, it is pointless to protect themselves. Big mistake. Stay alive as much, claim to Russian roulette without removing all the balls of the barrel ...
This article has been translated and adapted from the original article on our French blog. To view the original, please click here.