My tact runneth thin

On March 9, I posted this about the death of gay actor John Inman whose character, Mr. Humphries, was a mainstay on the British TV comedy Are You Being Served?

The post brought this comment:

wilbur grant (16:00:57) :hi,i m a lil pissed off as the way as john was portrayed on your site as having aids….in my mind i always thought as having hep A different then having aids.if he died of aids they d have said he died of aids not hep A ….please do ur homework and fire that dumbass that said that or send them to medical school……..john inman was the best in canada tooo

To which I replied:

Kenn Chaplin (19:54:44) :

Mr. Grant, there is nothing in the above post which claims, or even suggests, anything other than hep-A as the cause of John Inman’s death.

To which Mr. Grant has since replied:

wilbur grant (20:42:00) :

maybe i m mistaken but puting him on a page where it says my journy with aids is basically saying ,everyone who makes it to this page has aids

To which I have just replied:

Kenn Chaplin (23:08:07) :

The ‘Journey with AIDS’ in the blog’s title refers to me, Kenn Chaplin. I, Kenn Chaplin, have AIDS. It has been the case for going on eighteen years. If a gay guy with AIDS (me) cannot pay tribute to a gay actor who has died, without raising suspicions as to how he died, then clearly the world has much still to do to rid itself of HIV/AIDS-related stigma.

OK, Kenn, b r e a t h e

That I was saddened to hear of the death of John Inman is factually correct, though difficult to prove. I presented, as evidence, my appreciation for his comedic portrayal of a gay department store clerk in the British television series Are You Being Served?. With that appreciation it stands to reason I might be sad to learn of his death. It was, as I reported from media sources, death due to complications from hepatitis-A.

I accepted that explanation then, and I have no reason not to do so now.

A glance around this blog will show that I have mentioned many different people over the years, some gay, some not, some living with AIDS, some not.

Everyone who makes it to this page‘, as you put it Mr. Grant, does not have AIDS. I reject the suggestion.

What lies beneath the suggestion, though, is what I would like to explore. It seems to me there is a not-so-subtle stigma being perpetrated.

When I die, whatever the final cause, I hope that it will be said that I lived, and lived well, with HIV/AIDS. I have lived trying to work through the layers of guilt, shame and stigma which surround this sexually-transmitted disease (as it is in most cases). Some of this has been personal work – very necessary work, too – while some of it has been my attempt to make living with HIV/AIDS a little more bearable for others who have been infected and affected by it.

It is unfortunate if, by reporting that a gay man has died in 2007, the conclusion is drawn that I am suggesting it might have been due to AIDS.

It is sadder still, however, that such a suggestion – notwithstanding that it was not made in this case – should raise questions that would seem to equate AIDS with scandal or some sort of muck-raking such as suspecting a failure to disclose the truth.


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3 thoughts on “My tact runneth thin

  1. Honestly, I’d comment a little longer but I might catch AIDS.

    if he died of aids they d have said he died of aids not hep A

    Yup… but he doesn’t care because he’s DEAD dumbfuck.

    Again, this post would be more insightful and long but I’m afraid of viruses.

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