If you look at all the modern movements in history, from the women’s rights movement to civil rights* (all still continuing to this day, no doubt), they stand for a fundamental truth that all people deserve to be treated with respect, dignity and equality. Even with society's stigma around herpes, the herpes shamelessness movement seems to be more an internal struggle, a needless internal war, if you will, to recognize that we are oppressing ourselves and that we deserve to treat ourselves better.
*Please know that I am in no way implying that my experience as a white man with herpes is the same as what all women and people of color have gone through in history; all of these is due to oppressing and shaming people as different and therefore less than or dangerous.
Imagine in the not-so-distant future just bringing up the fact that you’re having a herpes outbreak just as swiftly as someone admits to having diabetes, allergies, or any other common malady. The point is, herpes is not a special case scenario that needs to be hidden under the wet blanket of shame. It’s just something that we deal with in our lives; it’s something that, depending on how we respond to it, can either make us a weaker or stronger.
After all, the world is naturally moving to more and more radical transparency in business and our personal lives. (And yes, there are certainly plenty of examples going in the opposite direction, but the truth will out.) This movement toward more authenticity is partly thanks to the accessibility of the internet giving us access to many different viewpoints and ways of living, but also the natural human desire to open up and be real … and ultimately connect with others as we are.
So how do we make this happen? It happens when enough of us choose to live from our own truths instead of allowing society to dictate how we should think about ourselves. It happens when one by one, we wake up to our own power. Our power to see ourselves for who we know ourselves to be. And that is a radical act.