A Day In The Life: Kevin Sitter
Where did you grow up?
My elementary years were in Pittsfield, Massachusetts; for junior and senior high, I “did time” in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and my adult life has been in Minnesota with a 17-year stint going back and forth to California.
Where do you live?
In a wonderfully diverse neighborhood in Brooklyn Center.
Who do you live with?
My partner of 39 years.
What is your occupation?
Semi-Retired HIV advocate. My most recent job was as the Ending the Epidemics Project Manger at the California Department of Public Health, Office of AIDS. We designed a plan to focus on the syndemic of HIV, STIs, and HCV, recognizing the need to address social determinants of health that drive these epidemics.
When did you come out?
A little after midnight on June 6, 1979 at age 19. I stole the books on homosexuality from the college library (I returned them, but didn’t want my name on the circulation cards) and read by flashlight. It was Don Clark’s book, “Loving Someone Gay” that brought it all together for me.
How’d that go?
On a whole, good. I found a supportive group of mostly gay men through Dignity in the Twin Cities, and left the Catholic College I was at after my second year as being gay there was not a good fit. I laugh when I think about my mom’s response: “Don’t tell your father.” A week later she called and stated she told my dad. He got on the phone and told me he wanted to say three things. 1. I love you. 2. I will pay for therapy if you want…not to change but if you find it difficult. 3. Don’t make any big changes until you know yourself better. I was lucky.
When do you wake up?
8-ish now that I am retired. I have never thought sunrise was spiritual or awesome, prefer sunsets.
Phone alarm or old school alarm?
No alarm unless I must be sure to wake at a specific time, then it’s the phone, with trepidation. Still skittish with the latest and greatest technologies.
What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
Pee….and then coffee! LOL
A bowl of fresh fruit, and sometimes yogurt, sometimes toast.
Decaf…I am naturally caffeinated!
Cream or no?
Black, the stronger the better.
How do you spend your commute?
Commute? Oh wait, yeah that thing done pre-covid and pre-retirement. NPR is my go-to in the car.
What do you nerd out for (gaming, music, history, etc.)?
House floor plans. I sketch them, I buy house plan magazines, I scan and modify them into mega-mansions on steroids.
What music have you been digging lately?
I am never contemporary in the music scene. In my car I am listening to the British Got talent group, Collaboro. Something about their blended voices and the song arrangements they record is soothing.
Is your work space tidy or a hot mess?
Hot mess, but as long as no one moves anything, I know where everything is.
What’s been your favorite job?
My whole career has been rewarding, but I think being able to be present with people when they test HIV positive. I have never given bad news, for in knowing one’s status, one gets to pursue health and ensure the virus does not significantly change their lives. I was there in the “old days,” and love that today, because of effective medications, Undetectable Equals Untransmittable. Undetectable sustains our health. And if you test HIV negative, you have the option of PrEP.
Favorite weeknight meal: Go out, take out, or cook in?
I am lucky that my partner chooses to do all the cooking since his food tastes are more limited than mine. My cooking usually has a meat or fish as main course, his are non-meat meals.
On a usual weeknight, you are doing what?
Some reading, some time on-line, some TV. Sometimes all at once.
10 to 10:30 unless I fall into the YouTube rabbit hole.
Favorite weekend activity?
I love all the bike trails. I can ride on dedicated bikeways to the Mississippi River,and parks, the Chain of Lakes, Downtown. Also, I enjoy my spiritual community on Sunday mornings. It’s a small community but has provided a needed element in my life.
What are you most proud of, and why?
My advocacy for sexual health, wanting sex to be joyful, playful, political, intimate and working to prevent heterosexist politics and politicians from disrupting that.
Words of wisdom to share:
It’s a journey: gently face the demons, heal the traumas, and proudly know we each make a difference.