What is this all about?
The Real Story Safe Sex Project is a new way to encourage safe sex among gay and bi male teenagers and twentysomethings.
HIV/AIDS is still a really serious disease, and gay and bi guys are at a very high (and rising) risk of catching it. But a lot of people don’t seem interested in talking about it anymore.
So the Real Story Safe Sex Project takes a new, hopefully more entertaining approach: remind people about HIV and safe sex using entertainment and popular culture, especially projects involving your favorite fictional gay and bi characters.
I’m launching the project with my story Two Thousand Pounds Per Square Inch, using a character from my own Russel Middlebrook Series. You can download it for free by clicking on the book jacket (warning: it’s sexually explicit!).
Lots of other writers, artists, and filmmakers are currently participating in the project too, following the guidelines I’ve outlined here.
What exactly are you trying to do here?
A bunch of different things. First, validate bi and gay guys who choose to have safe sex — and celebrate and eroticize that sex. I also hope we can educate people who might have questions about safe sex, HIV, and AIDS.
But mostly, I think I just want to restart the conversation about safe sex that seems to have lagged lately among a lot of young gay and bi guys.
Who is the Real Story Safe Sex Project?
Well, it’s me, Brent Hartinger, and anyone else who wants to participate!
I’m the author of the Russel Middlebrook Series, a popular series of four books (so far) that recount the story of a gay teenager. There’s now a movie version of the first book in the series, Geography Club, co-starring Scott Bakula and Ana Gasteyer.
But I’ve also worked as an AIDS educator, and I helped found one of the world’s first LGBT teen support groups, in my home town of Tacoma, Washington, back in 1990. I also co-founded the gay entertainment website AfterElton.com, which was sold to MTV/Logo in 2006.
So far, some of the other very helpful volunteers have been Ty Nolan, Allison Cassatta, Mary Brooks, Emilie Rose, Cam Kennedy, and Philip Malaczewski.
How can I help?
A bunch of ways.
(1) Help spread the word. Tell people what the Project is all about. It’s as easy as using the social media links below. Also, follow the Real Story Safe Sex Project on Twitter or Facebook to see the latest contributions to the effort. If you’re a journalist or a blogger, consider writing about us.
(2) Volunteer. This entire project depends on people’s willingness to help out. So are you a graphic designer? A proof-reader? Do you have some other skill you think might help the project? Contact me!
(3) Create a Real Story safe sex story. This is the heart of the project — the reason it exists in the first place. So if you’re an author or a filmmaker (even an unpublished or unproduced one), consider creating something on the subject of safe sex. You can use entirely new characters, or existing characters from a book, TV show, or movie you created (and/or control the rights to).
Then upload your short story or video to your favorite media platforms, and tell your fans about it! Tell me too, and if I agree that it follows the mission of the Real Story Safe Sex Project, I’ll also do what I can to help spread the word.
My own contribution to the project includes some facts about HIV/AIDS and safe sex, but that isn’t a requirement of this project (at all!). On the contrary, I hope the other stories will be about all aspects of safe sex. I’d love to see stories or videos about the emotional side of things, or funny stories, or maybe even just outright erotica!
The only requirements I have are that (1) the project be available in as many platforms as possible for free; (2) that it promote safe sex, preferably among gay and bi teens and twentysomethings; and (3) that you mention “The Real Story Safe Sex Project,” on the cover if it’s an e-story, and include a link to this page in the body of the work. If I think your content meets our mission statement (and isn’t going to get me attacked and/or sued!), I’ll help distribute your work too.
Don’t know how or where to upload your e-story or video? Need a designer for your book jacket, or a proof-reader? I have volunteers lined up, so contact me, and I’ll do my best to help!
Where is safe sex? How can I find out more about it?
Here are some links:
Where are the stories?
Here are the first ones. Click on each jacket for download information. And check back to this page for more stories!