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Terry “Angel” Mason Is Blessed, Not Broken
World AIDS Day will bring remembrances all across the globe. People will take time to reflect on both those living with and who have died from HIV/AIDS. It’s a national day of reflection and awareness we all wish were over. Terry Angel Mason, a faith leader living with AIDS, activist and author talked to healthyblackmen.org about his calling, health, and lessons for black men.
“There are times when I wonder if I will make it to be 80 years or 90. That runs through my mind. I‘ve had medical complications from being HIV positive. At times I battle depression, not often but I have had to battle it. You know one battle has been trying to get myself to focus on life and not death.”
Terry Mason or Angel to his friends, started his ministry in 1995 and according to him it was difficult because he never was in a closet as a minister. He says his first ministry in San Diego- Imani Worship Center, was a ministry for all people. He recalled that it was difficult not to begin the ministry but to be accepted by the religious community in that city because it was well known that he was openly gay.
“I ministered to gay, straight, bisexual and transgender people. The religious community wasn’t as open minded as today. Still I pressed on and we became successful adding multiple components like HIV and prison ministry, homeless ministry. It was right when I was opening up my second church that I was diagnosed with full blown AIDS.”
Talking to Angel, he shares how his brother was an inspiration. “My brother Darryl was a promoter for Geffen records and Warner Brother records. He passed away with AIDS so that’s how I got into the AIDs ministry. But that has not come without challenges. Angel says [generally] the black church struggles with the gay “lifestyle” and they equate HIV with it. “I battle that demon of ignorance.” Angels says, “Until they grasp and accept the fact that people who are gay did not decide to be, but that’s who they are born to be and that they’re not a mistake. Until they stop embracing that ideology and embrace people who are gay as their natural orientation, then they can more effectively deal with HIV.”
Prior to the pulpit, Angel was in the ministry of music and wasn’t safe all the time, and apparently on one of those occasions contracted the virus without knowing. He says strongly, “I know for a fact that no one infected me purposely.” He says he dated the person who infected him and believe he didn’t know he was infected. “But it was my responsibility to wear a condom. I never make an excuse for that when someone tells me oh so and so, you have a responsibility to protect yourself because others don’t always know they are infected.”
Angel, a prolific writer of several books including They Say That I Am Broken and Love Won’t Let Me Be Silent has indeed lived a lot of life and according to him still has much to do. He has some distinct lessons for black men.
Lessons for Black men can learn from your story
- First I’d say adopt a mindset that anyone can have HIV/AIDS and protect yourself.
- Surviving both cancer and AIDS, even when you face a life-threatening illness, you must develop a mindset and believe that you are going to live. Live. Live. Live. Thoughts feed actions. Believe in yourself, your good health.
- The last lesson from my life is that miracles can and will happen when you least expect it. Stop waiting to be discovered and discover yourself. No matter how unsuccessful you may have been in your past or how it looks like it may never happen, it can happen and will happen don’t give up!
This article was edited by Walker Tisdale III.