In The Face Of Death – Pt 1

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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.

2 Comments to “In The Face Of Death – Pt 1”

  1. By John Waggy, June 21, 2012 @ 2:09 am

    You stated several times that that people were saying that you deserved to die or wished that you would die. I never during the whole time hear anyone express those remarks. I had one guy with aids renting from me. My wife and I told him and his mother if fiances become a problem the rent would be free.

    Also my neighbor boy had the horrible AIDS. He did not have a VCR. I took mine over and left it with him until he need it no more.

    You might say, Yes. But you and your wife were different”. No we weren’t. All my neighbors and friends would have done the same thing.

  2. By Sonicfrog, June 21, 2012 @ 2:47 pm

    Westboro Family Church is but one modern example. Just a couple of week ago there was the preacher who thought it would be a great idea to gather up all the homosexuals. put them in a large holding area, separate them by sex so they wouldn’t breed, and that way they would die off. Ta-Da! No more homosexuals.

    When I was getting my student teaching out of the way, one student, a non-religious one, said that if he ever found out his brother or any of his friends were gay, he would kick their asses. And no, he was joking for shock value… He very much meant it. BTW, I didn’t tell my classes I was gay, but one student eventually figured it out. A blog I visit and comment on has one commenter who frequently exclaims that gays who have sex get what they deserve, and he doesn’t want his tax dollars spent on any medications that will keep the HIV virus in check.

    Those are current examples, in an era where it’s frowned upon to say such things. 30-ish years ago, there was no consequence against those who aired that POV. I’m certainly not saying that it was the majority view of the general public, but it was very much out there..

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