Mr Gay Belgium Candidate Gerrit Noerens Fights HIV+ Stigma
Author: Ninette Murk
Friday 31st of March 2017 07:58:18 PM

Hello all of you. My name is Gerrit Noerens, I’m 38 years old and I’m living in Welle, part of the Eastern Flemish town of Denderleeuw. 

Not that long ago I became a Lifestyle Coach and I hope to inspire others to find new sources of energy and to find a way to feel better. 

 

 

At the end of 2015, inner acceptance of HIV was a major step in my life. My husband and myself are together for 12 years now, of which 10 happily married.

Respect, honesty, trust and communication were always the foundation in our lives as a couple. Each relationship encounters its routine, daily grind and frustration, as did ours. Love was too important to acknowledge a separation, so after 6 years of being together we decided to choose for an open relationship. This was a rational and therefore safe decision. Between 2012 and 2015 we’ve had to go through a tough period on a business level, which lead to an emotional breakdown on both sides. Emotions should be expressed and ventilated and each one of us has its own way to do so. Some will eat or drink to calm down their emotions, some grab drugs and personally I’ve found my outlet in a sexual way. When you’re deep down you tend to do stupid things and to act thoughtless. However, even if I stopped protecting myself, I continued asking my sex partners if they were safe and not HIV+.

Letting others decide on your destiny is obviously the thing NOT to do and you’re responsible for the outcome, not the ‘other one’! Sooner or later this kind of story ends up wrong and unfortunately I did not get much time until I found out I had been infected with the HIV virus.

While you're aware of what you’re doing, of course it doesn’t mean you’ve asked for it… and you don't have to make a big drama out of it either. So I decided not to shed a tear on it, however an emotional person I might be. I’ve learned to accept the consequences of my acts and to accept my diagnosis. Only this way my future looks bright -and rest assured, it still has a lot more to offer! 

In the end I'm not a bad guy (for this reason) and I remain who I am!

In a word, well, I’ve noticed that the way you deal with your issues yourself is determining the perception of how others think about it. Lots of fellow sufferers had and still have a rough time coping with being seropositive. Moreover they fear to loose family, friends and their job.

All of this made me decide to participate in the Mister Gay Belgium 2017 election, precisely because each candidate has to spread a message which is of enough importance to campaign with it.

I chose my theme to smash the taboo and the stigma of seropositivity. I want to help break through barriers and will accomplish everything I can to be a good example. On the one hand I want to be an inspiration for partners in misfortune and on the other hand I want to advise them and point out how to make others respect you the way you deserve to be respected. There’s a lot of work to be done on different levels.

During my campaign I would like to raise awareness, to support people and to undertake effective actions: providing lectures in colleges, organise a hug day, start a blog and make the necessary preparations to draw a charter for businesses and employers to give a clear signal that nobody should fear to lose his or her job anymore because they are HIV+

Together with you I want to move forward to a POSITIVE story!

 

Gerrit NOERENS

Practical information about Mister Gay Belgium:

Saturday May 27th  the Grand Final Show of Mister Gay Belgium 2017 takes place in Theaterzaal Elckerlyc in Antwerp.

At the end of this evening we’ll know who will be Mister Gay Belgium 2017.

Through our Facebook page 'Mr Gay Belgium' you can follow us day by day.

If you want to support me through my campaign, please vote for free via www.out.tv or through my Facebook account.

The more votes, the larger the scope of my story and my message! 

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