“I Am a Chameleon; I Adapt to Whatever You Throw Me Into”
Jesse describes himself as a chameleon—able to adapt to change—from childhood to mid-life. He is a 56-year-old black man who has been living with HIV since 1986. Early in his life, he and his brother were very much on their own, because their mother would leave early and return late at night. Then, Jesse moved in with his father and stepmother and lived with them until he went to college. He would go on to get married to a woman and have a daughter. He feels loved by his now-grown daughter. In 1995, Jesse’s male partner of 15 years died of AIDS. These days he lives alone, but spends his time with his lover of 6 years and a small group of black gay friends. They get together at their homes to eat, drink, and chat. He also takes care of his father.
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