How An SGL Church Boy Turned Pain Into Purpose While Receiving Applause From Beyoncé
Picture it. Atlanta. June 23, 2006. A Black church boy sits in a room awaiting the results of a rapid HIV test. The seconds feel like hours and the hours feel like days. The clock strikes 3 p.m., he is now fifteen minutes away from embodying the stereotype of Black gay men living with HIV as an inevitability. His greatest fear is confirmed. He is HIV-positive. He is also given 90 days to live. But for Morris Singletary, 43, Founder and CEO of Pozitive2Positive, there are no tears, only the beginning of an awakening that would lead him to fight for his life and the lives of other Black same gender loving church boys living with HIV.
“The very first thing I ever heard about HIV is my mom saying, “this is the punishment that gays get from God for being gay.” I heard that when I was six years old,” said Singletary.
“When the church comes across a young man that’s LGBTQ, you can be a sinner, you can be a drug dealer, that’s ok — but to be a same-gender-loving man or woman, then your sin is the worst. I’m like, “my God is too good for me to believe that story.” I had to be the example of God-loving a Black queer man with HIV,” he said.
Unbeknownst to Singletary, his diagnosis would move him towards his purpose. Tap your neighbor and say, what the devil meant for bad, God turned it around and used it for good.
But for every testimony, there has to be a test. And Singletary says his HIV diagnosis was just the beginning of his health challenges, which took a backseat to the more fatal diagnosis that threatened to end his life within 90 days.
“I also had cryptosporidium,” he said. “It’s a bacteria that eats you up from the inside. And so what happens is, when I would eat—it would eat the food that I put in my body. It would eat the food and then eat me. Food was coming out of every hole on my body, to the point where, I said, ‘I’m just gonna stop eating.’ Well, then it started to eat me more because it had nothing to eat off of.”
Singletary tells The Reckoning that the disorder caused a dramatic weight loss that provided fodder for the rumor mill.
“At that point, I was not eating and one of my friends called me and said, ‘Morris, I don’t know what’s going on but the kids say you’re disappearing right in front of their face.”
Singletary recalls this period as one of the toughest in his life, but a period that also served as a turning point.
Continue reading here.