New York based drag artist Sherry Vine released an unapologetic ‘no holes barred’ musical parody about PrEP and boy did she split opinions!
Her opening lines are
Hey all of you gays.
Dont be so be depressed, missed out on the days when they had bareback sex.
You want to experience au-naturel anal play?
Well now you can throw all of those condoms away.
Just take a Truvada.
Here is her video. And we brought her some of your questions…
We got in touch with the Tinkerbell of Truvada and asked her to spill the beans…
What are your personal views on PrEP?
I want to begin this discussion by saying we are neither condoning nor condemning but merely starting a conversation as refracted through our specific brand of (whacky) humor.
You have certainly split opinions within the PrEP community. Was that your intention?
We had no intention of doing something simply for shock value… and believe it or not I wanted to do something that wasn’t about sucking cock or poop and had a little more substance than the majority of the videos I have done.
A few people have commented on the video’s apparent lack of diversity and representation of people from minority groups can you discuss?
Well, those people should go back and look again. Other than me (a middle-aged Jewish man in a dress) the rest of the cast is actually diverse. 50% of the guys in the video are people of color. And to that point, this video was made on a shoe-string budget in a small corner of the world and cannot under any circumstances be all things to all people regarding this very massive issue of HIV/AIDS & PrEP.
How did you construct this piece? Was there a lot of medical research involved?
Yes. I researched PrEP on the internet (and if it was on the internet it must be true, right?!) But in all seriousness, I sit on the Board of Directors of The Research Foundation to Cure AIDS (RFTCA) and this has been part of our on-going discussion.
Beyond laughter, what was your goal in producing the video and in hindsight do you feel you accomplished it?
I felt passionate about the topic and as I stated above, I wanted to start a conversation and I guess, since you are asking me these questions, it has.
Do you think this piece glorifies or promotes bareback sex?
Oh my God, I hope not.
Have you come up against much backlash?
I actually expected more. The majority of the comments and feedback have been overwhelmingly positive and many people have actually thanked us for doing it.
What were your reasons for doing it?
Again, as I said above I wanted to do a piece about something that was important and being of a certain age and watching my friends die of AIDS this is clearly a very important topic not just to me, but to all of us. The queens need to be aware that this is a multi-faceted issue. If there is any hint of skepticism (which we did not intentionally infuse into the video) it comes from my own personal question around anything that seems like a ‘magic bullet.’
Who are your inspirations?
It literally changes daily. Constants are any/all the ladies of rock… Debbie Harry, Siouxsie Sioux, Pat Benetar and of course my biggest influence, Carol Burnett.
What are your thoughts on the changing face of the gay scene since the explosion of hook up apps?
Go for it. If I were 20 years younger I would be on them too. The only aspect I don’t appreciate is when they are sitting in the front row of my show on Grindr and Scruff. Lol.
Do you see yourself as a role model, and if so what would you like people to take from your work?
No, I do not see myself as role model. And all I want is for people to laugh. Take a break from life and laugh… and sometimes (like with this video) think a bit.
Some of our buddies who are quite visible within the PrEP community think it’s brilliantly funny, cheeky and very well put together. A few have commented that the great thing about the video is it’s all true and perhaps that’s why people criticize it. Except for the organ failure – which isn’t a thing. They’d like to know why did you include that when the rest is so clever and factual?
First of all, I am a drag queen not a physician.
However, it is listed as a possible side effect.
Are you a natural blonde?
There is absolutely nothing natural about Sherry Vine.
Would you say you identify more with Madonna or Courtney Love?
Sherry identifies with both!
How will you contribute to world peace?
The ICSPM… the International Cock Sucking Peacekeeping Mission
What’s your message to Vladimir Putin?
Putin Girl, relax.
Donald Trump’s hair! And go….
Mr. Trump, please take a trip to Wigs Plus on 14th street and tell them Sherry sent you.
Do you think your video will trivialise the serious conversations around PReP which are hitting headlines at the moment?
Nope. It shouldn’t effect anything. It should (or rather could be) used as a catalyst for further conversation, discussion and education. The video does not say to take it or not to take it… It’s looking at all angles.
From a purely musical perspective this may seem a good way to challenge prejudices but do you think in some quarters this will only enhance stereotypes of gay men who bareback and further divide the community?
I don’t think of LGBT or MSM as one single all encompassing community. It is a large population of people and as such (although the video deals specifically with gay men) like HIV/AIDS, the access to, use of and education around PrEP is a global issue.
Do you think major HIV/AIDS organisations will agree with messages about throwing away condoms in favor of PrEP?
That is not the message! Part of the tone and sense of humor is satirical and ironic. I, personally, am in no way saying to throw away condoms. In fact, my understanding is that the safest most effective way to reduce chance of transmission is the combo of condoms and PrEP.
So there you have it folks! Miss Sherry Vine laid bare. Her objective was to raise awareness and encourage dialogue. On those fronts I think she certainly succeeded!
Follow Sherry on Twitter @MissSherryVine