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I wear a red ribbon.

And I am really angry.  

Angered by a horde of reactionary, women-hating, chastity obsessed (except in their own lives) right-wingers who huddled and spewed venom this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), spouting pseudo-pious obscenities bewailing “contraception” as if it is a communist plot against America.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), CPAC speaker and VP hopeful, introduced legislation under the guise of religious freedom and the first amendment to block contraception services, with 26 co-sponsors and there is mirror legislation in the House.

Cries of outrage still resound around Susan G. Komen’s right-wing sellout of Planned Parenthood.

As all this takes place I get even angrier.

Let me make something very clear.

Young people in America are having sex. Yes—sex. For those who wail against (gasp) abortion, well, you all make me see red. Less chance for abortion if unplanned pregnancies are reduced. But that isn’t what is driving me over the edge.  

Birth control isn’t the only reason one might want to see their son or daughter have access to a simple latex item called a condom.  

Rubbers, raincoats, tubos—don’t care what they are dubbed. Put one on a penis and it is the first line of defense against HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. National Condom Week will be celebrated during the week of Valentine's Day from Feb. 14 to Feb. 21, with many events being sponsored on campuses across the nation, and by local Planned Parenthood groups.

Last week, Feb. 7, was National Black AIDS Awareness Day. We had World AIDS day back on Dec. 1, and coming up are other HIV/AIDS awareness days—for Latinos, Native Americans, Asian and Asian Pacific Islanders, gay men, women and girls.

Days of awareness are important. But let me tell you—HIV/AIDS is not about a “day.” It’s for life.  

Bigoted, smarmy hypocrites want to take down the first line of defense in many communities—Planned Parenthood, where young people can get free condoms, HIV testing and information and some sane words of advice and counsel.  

What is it that Republicans and conservatives don’t get about the “planned” in PP? It indicates thoughtfulness, deliberation, awareness and intelligence.  

Planned Parenthood is staffed by a group of people who care about protecting our young people. Not by preaching at them, but partnering with them in the journey navigating through the perils in their lives. Thankfully, young people have access to the internet and those whose parents may not be open about protection can find information on YouTube directing them to Planned Parenthood. PP’s website provides important links for people to get tested and update their status.

Keep reading below the fold.

I wear a red ribbon.  

Not just in memory of those near and dear to me who died of AIDS, or those who are living each day wondering about the future as they cope with being HIV positive. My ribbon is a red flag to wave in the face of the bull-headed people who are risking lives.  

I want to push my ribbon in their faces.  

Make them look at it and see the danger we face.

Right now, one of the fastest growing groups of people who are at risk for HIV are young. Many are black or latino. Many are gay or transgender. Most of the young women are heterosexual. Lots of these young folks are Catholic, Baptist or evangelical. The bible does not stop HIV infection. Access to health care and scientific information does. Many of these young people are unemployed, underemployed and uninsured. Which is why we need places like Planned Parenthood.

I pin my red ribbon over my breast—the breast they don’t care about being at risk for cancer, and it isn’t pink 'cause it is infused with rage.  

It is the red of the blood sweat and tears shed by those who work selflessly day in and day out to stop what is now a global pandemic. It is scarlet like the outmoded puritanical branding of anyone with human desires to have intercourse. Yes—it is about fucking, hormones, love or just plain sex.  

We live in a world where almost every music video, every teen idol, every soap opera or novela, every fashion ad or teen magazine oozes sex and desire.  

Deal with it. Unprotected sex has consequences. If you don’t you are in denial and it ain’t a river in Egypt.

While CPAC proffers keynote speaker Sarah Palin, a mom whose daughter got pregnant via at-risk behavior, I celebrate women and men who may just stop my grand niece or nephew or godkids from facing a life of endless pill taking with dizzy side-effects and opportunistic infections.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), featured in this month's POZ magazine, spoke out in the House proudly wearing her ribbon.

I want to shout "screw you" at CPAC attendees and politicians and priests who are promoting death. But not really—'cause they are people infected with a disease called hate. I don’t want to contract hate—I want to make it abate.

I wouldn’t touch them or their politics with a 10-foot pole.

I am not about to be infected by them. I get a daily inoculation against haters each time I pin my ribbon on and proudly proclaim myself as a member of the army of sanity—waging the battle against ignorance and hypocrisy.  

They don’t want teachers to teach sex education. They don’t want doctors to dispense medicine. They want to deny access to free health coverage to the poor. They don’t want social workers to proffer advice and assistance. They don’t want parents to protect their kids.

They are despicable.

Many of them sprinkle their speeches with God and Jesus and “faith, hope and charity.”  

Well, if their Jesus comes back to earth he will be wearing a red ribbon—bright red like the drops of blood depicted on his hands. Those of us who practice charity and don’t just preach it, volunteer or give needed funds to do work that is profoundly spiritual.

Saving lives.

Helping people stay healthy to build a better tomorrow.

We are wearing red ribbons. For those of you who once wore them and have lost them, or put them in a drawer forgotten—take them out. Dust em off. Pin them on proudly.

Young people who visit my home get these as gifts:

I celebrate the winter holiday season with a condom-decorated Christmas tree. For Valentine's Day what better gift could you give a lover?  Chocolate flavored. Wrap them up with a red ribbon.

The red ribbon symbol was created in 1991 by a group of artists who formed the Visual AIDS Artists' Caucus, who created the "The Ribbon Project," known today as Red Ribbon.

Got a pink ribbon? Dye it a deeper hue. Bright red. I've lost family members and friends from breast cancer too. My red ribbon covers it all.

Then make a donation to Planned Parenthood.

Fight back. Fight ignorance.

Silence = Death.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Feb 12, 2012 at 08:00 AM PST.

Also republished by HIV AIDS Action and House of LIGHTS.

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