Wednesday, December 01, 2010

30 Voices From The Past 30 Years, Part One

The Advocate marked the fourth decade of the AIDS crisis by revisiting some of the people who have been there since day one:

"We are seeing the beginning of a major epidemic of cancer. The disease happens to be occurring in the gay community, but what is really relevant is whatever conditions are causing Kaposi's [sarcoma]. We are very concerned to head off a panic."
Alvin Friedman-Kien, MD, of the NYU Medical Center, August 20, 1981

"So far, no one knows with certainty what causes the fatal new diseases. Homosexuals, one person in a monogamous relationship and not the other, even infants have succumbed. Yet many cases are centered in the gay men';s community, especially in New York City. Most of us who know a lot of gay men also know one or more who have died. Living with this situation feels a bit like it must have felt to be alive when the plague was decimating the population of Europe."
David Goodstein, president of Liberation Publications, publisher of The Advocate, in a letter to readers. January 20, 1983.

"Two and a half years ago, my friends wondered why I was doing this."
Lynn Paleo, who worked with the San Francisco AIDS Foundations, in a feature about lesbians' involvement in AIDS activism. October 14, 1986.

"AIDS is a sex-related disease, and we in the religious community have not gotten our act together on sexuality."
The Reverend Carl Flemister, executive minister of the American Baptist Churches of Metropolitan New York, discussing the spread of HIV. April 2, 1985.

"My volunteer life at this point is limit4ed exclusively to health education against contracting AIDS. We've been deluged with threats and the worst possible hype--media hype--about the dangers of AIDS. Yet there have been very few sound voices coming through saying, 'Yes, times are tough, and they may get worse, but we can do something about it.' That's what I'm trying to do."
Actress Zelda Rubenstein on her involvement in an early AIDS awareness ad campaign. June, 10, 1986.

"When confronted with our own mortality, it has become common in our community to have our bodies cremated and our ashes thrown to the four winds. But with the wind goes an important part of our history. And also an important part of our future. I ask you to consider the ramifications of this action on tomorrow's generation of lesbians and gays as they search for self-esteem. As a person with AIDS, I have thought about this a great deal. I believe that we must be the same activists in our deaths that we were in our lives. I urge those of you who are facing death to find a method of leaving a lasting record of our accomplishments--including the acknowledgement that you were lesbian or gay."
Activist and former Air Force sergeant Leonard Matlovich. June 23, 1987.


froggy said...

I remember the 'gay men only' phase - that was a huge mistake.

R.J. said...

I remember how the lamestream media and others called it the Gay Plague in that era. And then NASCAR's Tim Richmond got it heterosexually in the mid-80's, if not earlier.

madtexter (corey james) said...

We should NEVER forget. I never thought the day would come when I would personally know people with HIV/AIDS. I do now...quite a few.

Although the drugs today are far superior to those of late, we must still teach the younger generation to protect themselves. Sex is no joke, and not something to be taken lightly.

I got the message at an early age - if it ain't wrapped in rubber, it ain't goin' in me.