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Biden really said “I think we need a raging queer leather daddy doctor to run the country’s monkeypox response” and he was RIGHT

yeah this is based

Oh fuck that is a good call: that’s a gentleman whose career started while AIDS was in full swing within his community, who has championed harm reduction approaches to infectious disease, and who is pointed in his insistence on destigmatizing high risk communities rather than setting himself apart from them. This is someone who understands harm reduction and meeting people where they are without judgement, which is precisely the attitude you want to have when you grapple with a stigmatized epidemic.

Here’s an article about his appointment to director of HIV/AIDS prevention from February 2021. Look at his career: he’s been working in HIV/AIDS nearly his entire adult life and career. He’s been working on increasing public health within stigmatized populations by focusing on harm reduction that entire time. Hell, this is someone with the institutional memory to remember Anthony Fauci’s piss poor treatment of HIV during the Reagan administration and carry a grudge because the man didn’t go far enough.

By the way, this is absolutely an example of harm reduction in terms of exercising your right to vote: there is zero chance that an advocate like Daskalakis would have been appointed under a Trump administration, but the incoming Biden administration installed him in the previous director position (which he still holds, as he adds monkeypox to his case load) as early as late 2020, before Biden was even properly inaugurated. That doesn’t mean this administration is perfect or that we can’t continue to agitate for better change, but it does mean that things are better and fewer people are going to die. That’s basic harm reduction in action: you focus on survival for the most people as your metric, you take the route that results in the best outcome for the situation you have, and you do not ever let the imaginary perfect become the enemy of the tangible better.

Fuck, this is delightful good news. Well done Dr. Daskalakis, and all the best of luck to you and yours!

Here is the White House’s statement on his appointment to the post.  An excerpt summarizing his qualifications:

Demetre Daskalakis, a leading public health expert, is currently Director of the CDC Division of HIV Prevention. Widely known as a national expert on health issues affecting the LGBGQIA+ communities, his clinical practice has focused on providing care for the underserved LGBTQIA+ communities. He previously oversaw management of infectious diseases for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, one of the largest departments in the nation – including in serving as incident commander for the City’s COVID-19 response.

Here’s how he looks when he’s in Workplace Mode:

And here is an OUT magazine article praising the appointment, that includes more pictures, both professional-mode and I-am-looking-respectfully.  Example of one where he’s fully-clothed but looks cool:

Uh, damn, America.


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