Remove Dan Wootton as patron of Switchboard LGBT Helpine

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Remove Dan Wootton as patron of Switchboard LGBT Helpine

This petition had 263 supporters

Tom Knight started this petition to Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline

Dan Wootton has reported on a Hollywood ‘superstar’ having HIV, and the way he's gone about it resembles something from the 80s.
The article reads: “Hollywood was gripped with fear last night after a womanising actor was diagnosed with HIV.”

Reporting this as a huge scandal not only spreads fear around HIV, it feeds stigma. They should be ashamed of themselves. The paper say they “choose” not to name the person in question, but then list off his high-profile exes by profession – without names.

It seems The Sun have convinced themselves the way they reported this was acceptable and professional. Well I’ve got news for you – it was none of those things.

Deborah Gold, Chief Executive of National AIDS Trust, said: “It will be a mark of how much we have come on in terms of HIV stigma when stories like this no longer make the national news. The panic mongering, sensationalising and moral pearl-clutching the story embodies is reminiscent of the tabloid headlines of the past, outing celebrities and politicians as being gay. Being gay isn’t anything to be ashamed of, just like having HIV isn’t anything to be ashamed. Can we all please just move on.”

What these reporters are failing to see is that ‘shaming’ someone because of their status is never OK. And because this person is a ‘superstar’, it will make people think it’s OK to talk about HIV positive people this way. It also actively discourages the estimated 26,000 people undiagnosed in the UK, from getting tested.

Internalised stigma and shame are two of the biggest causes stopping people from testing for HIV. If people see a supposed ‘A lister’ being treated like this, God knows how they think they might be treated.
Shaun Griffin, Executive Director of External Affairs at Terrence Higgins Trust said yesterday: ““Stigma is a dangerous construct and we’ve seen that it has a damaging effect on individuals and on public health. It can deter people from accessing testing or treatment, and can isolate a person living with HIV causing anxiety or depression.”

We, as a community, know this fight all too well. We’ve been fighting HIV, stigma and shaming for years. We may have come a long way, but there’s a very long way to go. The LGBT community is facing a major increase in newly diagnosed cases in the UK. Seventeen people a day are told they have HIV, with five of them alone being in London. So this kind of fodder in mainstream press is not needed.

I call for Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline to terminate Dan Wootton as a patron. His article and attitude spread stigma, discriminate and undo efforts of HIV prevention.

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This petition had 263 supporters