Thursday, December 1, 2011

World AIDS Day • Read My Lips

AIDS ribbon

I remember reading the New York Native when I first moved to New York City, and they were discussing the "gay plague" that was hitting the community in America. Soon it would have a name, of sorts. AIDS. And it would start taking friends of mine. Derry. Terry. Roseanne. Kevin. Such beautiful, vivacious, and joyous souls. All taken from me, from the world, far too soon. The 1980s passed by us, and soon we were angry. President Ronald Reagan had gone through two terms in office and never addressed or even mentioned the term AIDS. So many more died. Groups like ACT UP started meeting, bringing discussions about AIDS to the forefront with in-your-face tactics, demonstrations and graphics. Keith Haring, and brilliant artist who was HIV+, created an iconic work.

silence = death

By 1989, we were singing with Jimmy Somerville that indeed, we had had enough of inaction. The health and welfare of myself, my friends, and loved one's was being ignored for long enough. The year after President George H. W. Bush said it about taxes, Somerville reclaimed the phrase when explaining the LGBT community was mad as hell, and not gonna take it anymore. Read My Lips.

Hard to believe that was over 20 years ago. And that today we still are fighting this pandemic in the world. But I did know I would be missing those friends and so many others.

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