There is a new documentary about HIV and the AIDS epidemic that surfaced in the 1980′s called “How To Survive A Plague“. Andrew Sullivan contracted the virus in the mid 80, and writes of some of his experiences; the fear of dying, watching your friends die, and getting up, protesting, and actually making a difference. The demonstrations led by gay activists, many of whom were fighting for their lives, eventually led to changes in FDA policies which allowed some drugs to be brought to market in a more timely fashion than was permitted at the time. Here is Andrew’s post. It’s a great read, and a reminder of what the gay population faced in the not too distant past, and why some are fighting so diligently to achieve marriage equality.
Being that I came to terms with being gay in the AIDS era, I too have a story to tell. It’s not as compelling as Mr Sullivans, but it is none-the-less a perspective of someone who had contact with that point in time. Being gay during this almost 15 year period was equated by many as being an AIDS faggot! And because you were gay, and had sex, you deserved to die! (even if you didn’t have sex… well… you deserved to die anyway). That wasn’t just what people thought behind closed doors, some openly said it, and still do. I’ll see if I can crank out my perspective today or tomorrow if time permits.