Cassie weighs in on sero-discordant relationships in the age of PrEP


Photo courtesy Krisofer Reynolds

Well, Donald Trump will probably be the Republican “chosen one” to run for president. That is all the proof I need — it is the end of days. If you listen closely, you can hear the hooved symphony of the four horsemen ushering in the apocalypse.
Yes, I’m being a little dramatic but I think about the end of the world and the fall of society all the time. I am obsessed with apocalyptic fiction and often fantasize about how I would fare in a post apocalypse world. Of course I’m assuming I somehow survive the Captain Trips plague, or haven’t been eaten by zombies or somehow I was immune to radiation poisoning after the bombs get dropped. I’m a total optimist.

Yes, I know it would be horrible, with all the death and destruction, but could you imagine how nice and quiet it would be. How cool it would be to see our planet bounce back from all the horrible things we’ve done to it. But on the other hand, I’m not very physical or handy or self-reliant. Crap, I’d be screwed. I like to think I could Tim Gunn the shit out of survival and “make it work.” but I’d probably electrocute myself from trying to hook up a generator or solar panels just so I could have air-conditioning.

If I had to kill animals myself so I could eat, I would probably be a vegetarian… or a pescatarian, because I am a good fisherman. On the other hand, I’m sure I could find a cow that is being a dick — the ol’ she-had-it-coming excuse for eating meat. That heifer was being a total bitch, so we ate her. Guilt averted!

The thought of no more movies, books or new music ever coming out horrifies me. What would I talk about with my friends? Oh yeah, er’body dead. I guess I would have to eventually go in search of other survivors, but what if they were homophobes or worse… Trump supporters? Would I be selfish with my seed or would I give it to the women I met and let them turkey baste themselves? Cuz honey, mankind would definitely end with us if I had to do the deed with a chick. I don’t know, maybe if it was really dark and she wore a fake mustache or something.

OK, now that I really think about it, being the last drag queen on earth would be horrible. But it would be cool if there was an abandoned city or town with lots of land and houses you could explore and see if you could survive with no help. There would have to be an emergency button for when you’ve had too much alone time and you could go back to society. I could handle about four or five days before I lost what little of my mind I have left. They could call it ApocaLand! Or One Man’s Land. Or Balch Springs.

So until the world officially ends I have a job to do…

Dear Cassie, I have a few friends who are HIV-positive and on PrEP. Many of them have unprotected sex, claiming that a nondeductible viral load along with the PrEP make bareback as safe as using a condom. Well, I was a teenager in the ’80s. I was aware of it when it was “gay cancer.” I’ve spent my whole life afraid of becoming poz (because I’m kind of a whore).

Here’s my problem. It’s two parts. The first is kind of easy because I think I already know I’m not going to do it. There’s this guy who is built like a god that wants to have sex with me. Bare. Never in a million years will I get another chance to have sex with someone who looks like him. He’s poz and only has unprotected sex. He says he has “a zero load” and PrEP will keep me safe. What are your thoughts on that?

And now the real dilemma. There’s another poz guy that I want to have sex with before the opportunity passes. We’ve actually discussed condoms and such, and if it comes down to it, using it won’t be an issue. But my problem is my mind. I so, so, so want to give oral to this guy, but I don’t do that with condoms. There’s no pleasure in it for me because it tastes like
I’m chewing a balloon. I’m so afraid that his pre-ejaculate (look at me not using the dirty words!) will infect some unknown mouth sore and I’ll contract the virus. I know it’s silly, but my mind won’t let go of the idea. I know that logically and most healthy would be to just not do it or to make sure he has a condom on when I do the deed, but I also know I don’t always have the greatest will power when it comes to these things. Help? Signed, Positively Negative.

Dear P.N., First, let me say this: Yes, PrEP does greatly decrease the chances of you getting HIV and studies have shown that it is very effective. But it does not prevent gonorrhea, syphilis, genital warts or any other STIs out there. Why take a chance? Being HIV-positive is not the death sentence it once was, but there still is no cure. If you become positive, you will have to take very expensive meds for the rest of your life.

Growing up in the ’80s and ’90s solidified a real fear in me of all STIs, especially HIV. I have lost a lot of friends over the years. That’s why it horrifies me to hear about barebacking. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I could get out of my head enough to enjoy unprotected sex with someone I barely know, impulsive or not. No matter how hot a guy is, your health should come before he does. And if you are going suck as much dick as you apparently do, maybe you should think about being on PrEP as well. I still think you should wrap it before you tap it! Safe sex can still be hot sex. Try to find a hot partner that understands that. Good luck, Cassie.

Hey Cassie, I hope you are having a great week!!! So my question for you is this, did you see yourself running/hosting your own show when you first started drag? And if not where did you see yourself? Thanks, Jeffery.

Yo Jeff, When I first started drag, I don’t think I thought about the future too much. I tended to only really plan for my next show. Then as I got booked more and more, I had an arsenal of songs and costumes to rely on. I remember I was always working on wigs. Back then there were not as many styles of wigs for sale as we have now. If you wanted a certain color combination of hair, you had to take basic color wigs apart and sew the pieces together. Lace front wigs cost thousands of dollars and were hard to find, so we had to base-tease the hell out of some hair to make a good wig line. Hell, I remember having to dye a platinum-white wig with RID dye because I wanted pink hair.

I always wanted to emcee, but it took a while before the bosses would let me touch the mic. I worked hard at being a good M.C. and getting comfortable enough to have fun and not over think things. When I was young I knew I wanted to entertain.
I got lucky that things happened for me the way they did. I was not planned but I followed what made me happy. I hope your path leads you to happiness.

Remember to always love more, bitch less and be fabulous! XOXO, Cassie Nova.

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This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 13, 2016.