Thursday, March 19, 2015

Q & A With Robert Petersen


Robert Petersen lives in Bakersfield. He is the Vice President of PFLAG Bakersfield. He's an advocate for making PrEP (HIV prevention with medication) more accessible to all populations. 

How long have you lived in the Central Valley?

I was born here. My family moved overseas when I was 5 and we returned my sophomore year of high school. So, most of my adult life. 

Married/Single/Relationship Status?

Happily SINGLE, but available. 

When did you come out as LGBT, or as a straight ally?

18 to myself, 19 to my siblings and 21 to my parents and extended family. 

Something you like about yourself?

I like the fact that I accept people and circumstances for who and what they are. I may not understand it, but I try to be as accepting as possible. 

Something you dislike about yourself?

I hate being a procrastinator, that's why it's taken me so long to finish this survey. 

Character trait in others that you most admire?

I admire people who are organized.

Character trait in others that you most dislike?


What is your biggest regret?

Not getting a college degree.

What are you most passionate about?

PrEP (Pre-Exposure Profylaxis) Science has given us, and our government agencies, have authorized a medication (TRUVADA) that prevents HIV and too few people know about it.  We have a medication that prevents one of the world's most deadly virus, and hardly anybody knows about it. And, for some reason there's a huge controversy about it.  

Favorite thing to do in your free time?

Watching Bakersfield Condors hockey.

What aggravates you the most?

LGBT Republicans. They makes as much sense as an African American Klansman. 

What makes you the happiest?

Road trips. Getting away.

What are you, quite frankly, over?

Prop 8. I'm tired of looking back. I'm tired of trying to remember who my enemies are. I'm tired of what it did to families. I'm tired of the pain it caused.

What is your biggest challenge?

Not punching Jehovah Witnesses when they wake me up... 

What was your favorite decade so far?

I don't really have one. 

Who is your favorite person to talk to?

My cousin Carolyn. 

Name a person you know personally who has had the biggest impact on you?

My mother. Just because. She was shaped by events of her generation, yet she believed all people deserved equality.  

Name a person you don’t know who has had the biggest impact on you?

Without a doubt, Harvey Milk. I was 21 years-old (1987) when I first watched “The Times Of Harvey Milk”, and I couldn't believe I had never heard of him. I've consumed everything related to the man since then. 

The most important lesson you’ve learned so far?

Resentments are not helpful. 

Besides a phone, what piece of technology can you not live without?


What superpower would you most like to have?

I'd love to be able to fly. 

Who would you like to play you in a movie about your life?

Samuel L. Jackson. Wouldn't that be a kick-a black guy playing a guy who was white in real life. And he could get away with actually saying “f*ck” as much as I'd like to say it. 

What is the best part of your day?

Night. I'm a night owl. 

What is your proudest moment?

Not exactly a moment, but something I very proud of is being a part of PFLAG Bakersfield and helping make it what it is today. 

Who did you overlook in your past?

I hope nobody. 

What have you overcome?

My parents were OLD when I was born. For some reason I was ashamed of that. It wasn't until I was an adult that I appreciated having older parents. I didn't recognize the benefits come with having old parents. 

Where your ideal place to live?

If I didn't have to work and I had an endless bank account, San Diego. Perfect weather ALL year. 

What words do you live by?

If nobody's dying, it's not an emergency.

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