Kristopher Sharp: UHD Student Targeted for Spreading AIDS, Promoting "Homosexual Agenda" on Campus
Late last week, Kristopher Sharp, a third-year social work major at the University of Houston-Downtown, was called into Dean of Students Tommy Thomason's office. The dean handed Sharp a flyer printed on both sides. It had been been scattered along the university's stairwells and tacked to the assorted bulletin boards dotting campus. It was the first time Sharp had seen it.
As SCOTUS listens to oral arguments on gay marriage, UHD struggles from another bout of gay-bashing.
The front featured a photo of Sharp, hair draped over his shoulders, bow tie cinched. A giant X sliced across the photo. "WANT AIDS?" blared the top of the flyer. Just beneath the photo: "DON'T SUPPORT THE Isaac and Kris HOMOSEXUAL AGENDA."
Flipping it over, Sharp saw the flyer continued on the back. In lieu of the hyperbolic, histrionic caps, though, there was text even more inflicting: Sharp's medical records, confirming his status as an HIV-positive student.
"I was initially really devastated that this could happen," Sharp, who has taken a week to digest the message, told Hair Balls. "What was going through my head was, 'How quickly can I transfer?'"
Found around the UHD campus.
Sharp, who'd recently spoken openly about both his sexuality and HIV status, had heard that the flyers were floating around. He'd heard mention that someone was handing them out to passersby, but doesn't know whether anyone's yet laid eyes on the individual, or individuals, who spread these papers through campus. He only knows that he wasn't expecting something this despicable, this horrific, when he initially announced an interest in running for student body president next month.
Yes, there are fringe elements within UHD; as a university that prides itself on lifting Houston's diversity, it's only natural that the more loathsome strains would also find their way onto campus. And, yes, Sharp's both seen and been on the receiving end of the calls of "faggot!" percolating through classrooms and study lounges on campus. But this? Medical records and homosexual agendas? All of the AIDS-based fear-mongering that helped stigmatize an entire generation of gay men across the nation?
"I've never seen anything like this -- this is the very first time anything like this has occurred [on campus]," says Sharp. "There's a culture at UHD that is somewhat less accepting of LGBT youth, but something of this magnitude is completely mind-blowing. I knew, going into the election, that I could possibly be targeted because of my sexuality -- but I had no idea that it would go to this level."