A Love Letter to Community Healthcare Workers

On this Valentine’s day, I want to talk about my fear to love, and say thank you to a very specific group of people that helped me on my journey.

I’ve never been as scared as I was the morning I walked into the San Francisco AIDS Foundation's Magnet Clinic.

More scared than when I moved away from home.

More scared than when I played football in front of 100,000 people.

More scared than when I was lying in a hospital bed after falling out of a bus and cracking my head open.

All I knew was that I was having sex with men, that men who have sex with men get AIDS, and that I was in trouble because it burned when I peed. I'd spent my whole life building a wall between who I was and who I thought I was supposed to be. In that moment, I was too scared to see who I could be.

My life changed forever the day I walked into the Magnet Clinic.

That was the day somebody taught me that my sexual health was nothing to be ashamed of, that all parts of me deserved love. Somebody who saw dozens of patients that day made me feel safe and special and gave me the permission I needed to take down those walls and start loving myself.

The mission of Kalamos has always been about saying thank you to the people at Magnet and those across the country working to build healthier communities. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without their work.

Today I’m trying something new; I’m saying thank you explicitly. Thank you to the nurses and social workers and event organizers and everyone who works at our local community centers. In sickness and in health, you continue to show love to whoever walks through your doors in ways us patients can never truly express thanks for.

Today, I’m also reopening Kalamos as a store for pleasure products and donating the proceeds to community centers helping people like me get the care and support they so desperately need.

If you’d like to read more about what we’re doing with the new website, you can read more here.