My name is Jonathan Barnett, but most people know me as Jon. I’ve been opinionated and outspoken much of my adult life, though I was really quite insecure and shy as a youth. The last few years I find myself less certain of what I think and believe because so much of what I was taught has proven to be untrue. I am now much more likely to question what I’m told. My need to speak out about what I’ve learned and experienced is growing stronger daily.
Hence, this blog.
I started this blog in January 2009 as a forum for expressing myself, but hope others may find it interesting, helpful and maybe even irritating. I have spent the past two years recovering from poor health made much worse by the practice of allopathic medicine and the excessive use of pharmaceutical drugs. You can read more about that in surviving “AIDS” without drugs.
According to Mom, my life began during the middle of wheat harvest in Colby, Kansas in 1956. I was raised on a wheat farm with five other siblings–four brothers and one sister. Hopefully I’ll get around to posting some reminisces about that part of my life.
My parents gave up farming and bought a business in town when I was 14 or so, legal driving age then for farm kids. The Blakesley Hotel became my new eye on the world. Even though it was small and off the main highways, we had customers from around the world to help me broaden the extremely limited exposure most people there were afforded. I recall a rug distributor from Iraq as a most unusual human specimen, as well as a retired couple from Australia who were stranded there for weeks due to the husband’s heart attack.
While on the farm, we could only get one television station clearly, plus a couple more stations that were more “snow” (what we called interference) than picture. Television was where I first saw black people because there were no people of any color other than white living in Thomas County. My earliest exposure to people different than myself and family were news reports of the “race riots” that took place in the 1960s. Imperfect images of the angry and violent protesters in Kansas City were impressed onto my young brain as the only representation of African Americans I had available.
Later, I reached a point in my own life where it was no longer possible to deny that I too was different from those around me. I was always more attracted to the boys than the girls. First I tried to change, then deny and finally hide who I was, but when a girlfriend told me I needed to find another boy, the wall started to collapse.
That’s not to say coming out of the closet was easy for me. It wasn’t. As part of that process I experienced addictions to religion and drugs and even one or two half-hearted suicide attempts as a means of finding acceptance. Thankfully, when I did take those first steps out, I had the advantage of a gay brother and lesbian sister to help me find some solid ground in my quagmire. I could have used their help sooner, but in hindsight, I probably wouldn’t have been ready for any intervention from them earlier than what I found and the risk for them of being accused of “influencing” me was high.
I’ve spent time in Brazil as a teen missionary, visited Mexico and Canada briefly, and have lived in Sedona, Arizona and Denver, Colorado in addition to Colby. The last thirty years or so I’ve lived in Kansas City, Missouri. During my 20s and 30s I was a social change activist and community organizer. I founded the AIDS activist group ACT UP/KC to demonstrate for faster access to drugs and employment rights for people with AIDS. I co-founded the Human Rights Project (HRP) to lobby for and pass a gay rights ordinance. I helped organize the first statewide conference for gays and lesbians in Missouri and was the regional editor of the News-Telegraph, a gay newspaper based in Saint Louis. I ran for an at-large (citywide) seat on the city council in 1992 and came in third with 12% of the vote in a six-person primary.
One of the strangest notions I had since youth was that I would never live to be older than 40. I think it may have something to do with the Cold War mentality I was raised in. We were kept in constant fear that the commie Russians would nuke us all into oblivion. I guess those in power have known how to wield fear for their purpose for awhile. It is not a new strategy for control.
When I did turn 40, I realized I needed to make up for lost time if I was to create a nest egg for what then was looking like inevitable old age. My partner since 1981, Michael, had been the loyal worker bee, but his pension and 401(k) could not be expected to support two. With only a high school diploma, I had picked up computer skills and was a quick learner. I found work through a temp agency and ultimately ended up with a job offer as database specialist for the local HMO in the marketing department. That experience gave me a first hand look at a side of what is generically referred to as “health care” in the United States. I definitely have some material to blog about what I observed there!
My life was suddenly disrupted in 1998 with a diagnosis of “HIV-positive” and I’m only now beginning to recover from that death sentence ten years later. I’m pissed off again at what I see as a massive disinformation campaign that benefits a few at an unacceptable cost to the rest of us. No doubt there are real villains in this story, but mostly there are simply well-intentioned people who have been misled.
Although I have no college degrees to brag about, I am considered intelligent by some. My IQ score on the Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence (WASI) is considered “Superior” at 120, according to a recent test. As smart as I am supposed to be, I’m not really sure what that means.
What I think I do know is that I have a story to tell… actually several stories, and I am obliged to communicate them if I can. I expect this blog will be a bit disjointed as I jump around telling, but I don’t dare wait until I have it all organized in my head. If I don’t get around to it, maybe someone else can help put things in a more sensible order. In the meantime I just need to dump and this is where I hope to do it.
Please feel free to comment, or contact me me.