This article examines the issue of MRSA (antibiotic-resistant staph infection), and how the media reported it -- as a new menace to the gay community. I can still remember first hearing about it from a veteran of the leather scene, her silver-haired, wrinkled face knotting in worry. "It's a skin infection," she said. "You can get it anywhere. We scrape and abrade skin, it's how we play. If it comes here, we're all doomed. That could kill us all."
I don't know when she got into leather, how many years she's been around. But I could see ghosts in her eyes, and I knew exactly whose they were.
I remember going home, terror gnawing at me. All my life I've had the suspicion, deep in the kernel of my soul, that maybe the fundies are right. Maybe VD is "recompense for our iniquity," growing in our skin.
When someone I knew developed a rash I lost it. I was convinced doomsday was upon us all. I called my doctor, half-panicked. MRSA. Is it coming?
I looked it up online. I found more references to gyms and sports teams than to swingers, sadomasochists, or evilly promiscuous queers. Huh, I thought.
I got the call back from my doctor. No, no way. That's people in hospitals, mainly, he said. Some people in the community get it, but not many. If he had a doctor look already, I wouldn't worry much.
And I just sat there shaking and wondering. Why are these plagues always supposed to be about us and for us? The queers, the swingers, the leatherfolk, the people who are too easy and "deserve" it? Why do we make the news? Why do we take cover before anyone even knows what's going on?