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AIDS at 30: A Time Capsule - Page 2

post #16 of 34
yeah, i lost a lot of friends. it was a really horrible time. and a lot of bad behavior ... on all sides. i remember randy shilts was a pariah in the gay community because he recommended closing down the bathhouses. we helped a guy who was our closest family friend through the end and it was just horrible. brain cancers, kaposis, thrush, the whole thing. oddest thing: his partner tested positive but never developed symptoms. there really was a sense of a plague that struck like lightning.
post #17 of 34
At the library today I noticed one of the big weekly mag's cover stories this week is on the potential cure of AIDS. It might be TIME, but it seems the scientific community is much more optimistic about getting it controlled than they ever believed they could be. Anybody notice it?
post #18 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by foodguy View Post
yeah, i lost a lot of friends. it was a really horrible time. and a lot of bad behavior ... on all sides. i remember randy shilts was a pariah in the gay community because he recommended closing down the bathhouses. we helped a guy who was our closest family friend through the end and it was just horrible. brain cancers, kaposis, thrush, the whole thing. oddest thing: his partner tested positive but never developed symptoms. there really was a sense of a plague that struck like lightning.
Yeah, the bath house issue was hard. I think there was a sense that closing them would give back the hard fought gains to legitimize their sexuality over the previous decade, but the decision to keep them open for any extra time was absolutely a disaster. For the record, I'm not saying that there wasn't fear, hatred and bigotry, but the GRID name wasn't really part of that, it was just a rational description of the early cases. It isn't like doctors were calling it GRFKS, or God's Righteous Fag Killing Sword. In some ways I think that despite all the missteps, it was handled rather well, if not by the leaders in politics and the various groups, then by society as a whole, at least eventually. Maybe I am too pollyanna, though.
post #19 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by iammatt View Post
Yeah, the bath house issue was hard. I think there was a sense that closing them would give back the hard fought gains to legitimize their sexuality over the previous decade, but the decision to keep them open for any extra time was absolutely a disaster. For the record, I'm not saying that there wasn't fear, hatred and bigotry, but the GRID name wasn't really part of that, it was just a rational description of the early cases. It isn't like doctors were calling it GRFKS, or God's Righteous Fag Killing Sword. In some ways I think that despite all the missteps, it was handled rather well, if not by the leaders in politics and the various groups, then by society as a whole, at least eventually. Maybe I am too pollyanna, though.

Eventually. Mostly. Here.
post #20 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by iammatt View Post
Yeah, the bath house issue was hard. I think there was a sense that closing them would give back the hard fought gains to legitimize their sexuality over the previous decade, but the decision to keep them open for any extra time was absolutely a disaster. For the record, I'm not saying that there wasn't fear, hatred and bigotry, but the GRID name wasn't really part of that, it was just a rational description of the early cases. It isn't like doctors were calling it GRFKS, or God's Righteous Fag Killing Sword. In some ways I think that despite all the missteps, it was handled rather well, if not by the leaders in politics and the various groups, then by society as a whole, at least eventually. Maybe I am too pollyanna, though.

yes, it was a real hard case of the immediate consequences of political actions ... no more theory kids, what's going to keep people alive? there was also a sense then that bathhouses were somehow intrinsic to the gay experience and that closing them was shoving people back into the closet.
Reading these comments it strikes me as unbelievable (and unbelievably lucky) that there are people today who don't know what it is to live with that horror.
post #21 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by iammatt View Post
Jon, go away.

Why, because you disagree?
post #22 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by foodguy View Post
yes, it was a real hard case of the immediate consequences of political actions ... no more theory kids, what's going to keep people alive? there was also a sense then that bathhouses were somehow intrinsic to the gay experience and that closing them was shoving people back into the closet.
Reading these comments it strikes me as unbelievable (and unbelievably lucky) that there are people today who don't know what it is to live with that horror.
Yeah, that's exactly what I meant. It was like trial by fire for a group that had just experienced its first political and social victories. Almost too much to ask. In a lot of ways, and I feel terrible saying this, the gay community is much stronger now because of AIDS. I think it eventually gave a bonding agent that sexuality and discrimination could not have. Of course, it was also the worst thing I've ever seen.
post #23 of 34
we lived on the border of west hollywood and our best family friends were a VERY a-gay couple (dinner parties with david hockney and timothy leary, etc). these were just incredibly bright, creative, active people. there was a group of about 8 of us that used to celebrate christmas together and you can see in holiday pictures the group get thinner and fewer. it really was like a science fiction story. also hard to believe that was 20 years ago.
post #24 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by imageWIS View Post
Why, because you disagree?

I think he already explained himself in the above posts...
post #25 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by imageWIS View Post
Because its a vital part of history that the hysteria over AIDS was essentially an attack on homosexuals, and no story about AIDS in its early stages should ever forget to mention such unacceptable and disgusting hate. And the Band Played On is an exceptional book on the subject and anyone interested in it should definitely read it.
What is wrong with you?
post #26 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mordecai View Post
My mother was involved in an NYC theater group during the 80s. She talks about hers and all of the associated groups just being decimated. Everyone sort of expecting certain people to go, and then they would be gone.
The theater industry (particularly in NYC) was devastated by AIDS. There was a tremendous amount of knowledge, history, etc. lost. Some of the "golden age" musicals were filmed, usually in color, by amateur videographers (most notably a young kid with a high-tech camera his mother gave him, I forget the name). On several theater forums some of the "old codgers" have said that during the 70s and 80s, you could easily find a friend to give you copies of their videos. But as those theater fans disappeared, so did those videos. Some are probably lost forever or hidden away, forgotten.
post #27 of 34
I'd never really given any thought to how many people have died in the US of AIDS. I'm a bit shocked by how high it is.
post #28 of 34
You guys speak about AIDS like it was an episode of Family Matters...it's still a very terrible scourge in much of Africa.
post #29 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by iammatt View Post
Yeah, that's exactly what I meant. It was like trial by fire for a group that had just experienced its first political and social victories. Almost too much to ask. In a lot of ways, and I feel terrible saying this, the gay community is much stronger now because of AIDS. I think it eventually gave a bonding agent that sexuality and discrimination could not have. Of course, it was also the worst thing I've ever seen.

It really did, we both live in major gay cities and you can pretty much guess what I remember from the 80s when it comes to that stuff (i.e. same as you).
post #30 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by imatlas View Post
Absolutely. Of course we're lucky here, in sub-Saharan Africa and much of Asia AIDS is still a death sentence.
Actually programs like PEPFAR (by the much maligned Bush) mean some people in these regions do get treatment. Some countries have 40% infection rate and the situation is tragic but AIDS doesn't go entirely non-treated post-diagnosis. Of course the program is not beyond reproach but it is going much better than what you'd think reading some fuckers from Huffington post who have never even read a credible study or been on the ground.
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