Initially, volunteering to ride in the Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS seemed innocent enough — you know, after DV Publisher and LSR Team Captain Robert Moore coaxed me into participating by going for the hard sell and all but holding any sign of a future raise over my head.
Also, I was confused and didn’t realize the actual length of the ride (162 miles), or that being on a crew was a perfectly viable option. I ended up rationalizing the training and the ride as a perfect way for me to get swimsuit ready, with summer quickly approaching and with the pool softly whispering my name. I mean let’s be real, I’d packed on a few extra pounds this winter, and "Dallitude" is rampant at most all pools in the 75219 area. So if I had any intention of laying out this summer and not rockin’ an ankles-to-wrist caftan number, I figured I’d better get on board for training and ultimately riding both days.
All joking aside, though, when the mention of the ride was first brought up as a way of commemorating Dallas Voice’s 25th Anniversary, Robert made a promise to all of staff members who rode that he would donate what I consider to be an incredibly generous amount to each person’s fundraising goal. My thought was that if an individual is willing to give such a generous amount to such a great cause, then the least that I can do is to get off my lazy ass and do the training and complete the ride.
In addition to Robert, I have found that so many of my friends and family are genuinely interested and willing to donate to the Lone Star Ride, simply because they know the person that is willing to put forth the effort/time to train and ride.
This leads me to the real reason why I am participating in the Lone Star Ride. I feel that especially my generation, the 20-somethings, tend to be ambivalent toward most things, especially causes. Not that they don’t care, and there are exceptions, but many people my age are simply unwilling to put forth an effort, if it takes away from their personal freedoms and especially when they think that something doesn’t affect them.
I feel extremely lucky to have been reared in a time and place where knowledge about HIV/AIDS and the prevention are plentiful. Sure, there isn’t a cure yet, and numbers in some populations may be on the rise, but as we get closer and closer, if me getting off my ass and hopping on a glorified Huffy and schlepping it 160-something miles is going to get us one step closer, then that is the very least that I can do, and I urge each and everyone of you to do the same.
For me, knowing where one comes from is incredibly important. If you don’t know your history and the history of your people, then how can you forge ahead? HIV/AIDS has been a huge part of the gay experience, and if we don’t band together and help one another, then how can we ever be successful in any of our ventures?
Like the recent Kenneth Cole campaign says, "We All Have AIDS." So I urge every one of you to participate in the Lone Star Ride, whether it’s as a rider, a crewmember or a contributor. We can all do something. What’s the worst that could happen? You get us one step closer to the cure?
For more information on the Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS, go to LoneStarRide.org. Team Dallas Voice is recruiting new members and accepting donations.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 19, 2009.