Got AIDS? Next stop: Cancun

Randy Boyd, AIDS

“For the first time, I felt the reality of AIDS invade my body, my mind, my soul. It was here. It was real. I could no longer deny the terror I felt. ‘I’m too young,’ I cried. ‘I wanna live. I wanna live. I wanna live,’ I repeated over and over and over. I had a notebook with me; I wrote it down dozens of times, big, shaky scribbles.” —from Bridge Across the Ocean

In 1988, I officially tested positive for HIV/AIDS. My reality was: you’re 26 years old, you have a fatal disease, the entire world fears you and all you have to look forward to is a slow, agonizing death.

My next move? I took off for Cancun, Mexico. What happened next was an adventure that served as inspiration for my second novel.

Bridge Across the Ocean tells the story of a young black man who tests positive for HIV, then escapes to a resort in the Yucatan peninsula. While there, he meets two white teenage brothers and their single mom. Derek, the black man, is attracted to Rob, the oldest brother, who reminds Derek of the golden jock gods of his youth. It’s a summer vacation that changes all of their lives forever.

Back in ’88, neither Derek nor his creator dreamed of being alive in the 21st century. But miracles happen. Yes, people can live long productive lives with HIV/AIDS. Yes, I can be one of them. Stay tuned for more about those miracles in a blog post celebrating Cancun: Twenty Years Later. Coming next week at Randy Boyd’s Blocks.

Critical praise for Bridge Across the Ocean:

bridge“A delicious ode to summer boyhood adventures.” Stonewall News Northwest

“A funny, sexy and very poignant summertime novel.” Gay & Lesbian Times

“Sincere and suspenseful, Bridge Across the Ocean is a great escape and a very important piece of writing.” XY Magazine

“The sexual attraction and the conflict it poses are beautifully handled.” Lambda Book Report

“Not your typical gay fiction fare. The subject matter is fresh and seriously stimulating. Boyd has a knack for the controversial.” Between The Lines

“Racism, homophobia, attraction to younger men, dealing with HIV are all handled without preaching and without excess moralizing.” Gay and Lesbian Review

”Reading Bridge Across the Ocean was, on some level, a growth experience. This is an incredible piece of work that tears down stereotypes.” Friends and Family Magazine

“Groundbreaking … Boyd not only crosses race, social and gender boundaries, but touches on the much-needed-to-be-openly-discussed subject of men mentoring boys in all ways in society and the world.” Wisconsin IN Step

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