Monday, June 12, 2006

Unhappy Anniversary

Last week, we marked the 25th anniversary of the discovery of AIDS. Yes, I know, this is a lesbian-only site. As a lesbian, I can never forget watching my brothers fall like ripe wheat before the scythe of a virus nobody understood.

I remember watching friends stitch quilt squares. I remember watching news segment after news segment filled with emaciated, dying men.

I remember people being kicked out of their houses, and being ostracized from their communities because of a prejudice against something unseen by the naked eye.

I remember Ryan White, exiled from his school, because nobody believed “the AIDS” couldn’t be caught from a toilet seat, a sneeze, a hug.

I remember watching John get sick, stop dancing, get better, dance again, get sick again, and on and on it went. I remember him raging against his eventual fate, when he still had the energy to rage.

I remember the day I heard the police scanner report a vehicle over the embankment on Kingsbury Grade. I didn’t know till I got home, that it was John’s way of telling the world he couldn’t stand it anymore.

I remember people wondering if Tom Hanks had flushed his career, by daring to star in “Philadelphia”.

Yes, I remember the 80’s all too well. It’s been twenty-five years, and the pain and anguish lurks, barely beneath the surface.

Today, the bodies are brown, many are African, and we see them irregularly. National Geographic does an AIDS story once or twice a year, ditto other publications. But I can’t forget that Africa is going through that awful bottleneck like we did. In many ways, theirs is worse. They are losing the prime of their population to AIDS; not just the gay men, hemophiliacs and drug abusers, but a huge proportion of the current wage-earning work force.

Additionally, AIDS is on the rise among the poor in America, specifically blacks, Latinos, and women. I worry about that, because without dying “stars” like Rock Hudson, who is going to care?

I listened to the radio remembrances of AIDS today, shortly followed by the minutes of silence for the troops killed. I guess that until we learn better, we will invite death on many fronts.

May those who have gone before us rest in peace. It is truly the least we can do.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If AIDS was rampaging through the lesbian commmunity instead of the mens community, the only thing we'd hear from most gay men is bitching when they tripped over a lesbian's dead body.

When's the last time you heard a gay man say he'd contributed money to fight breast cancer? Or brought meals to a lesbian on chemo?

C'mon, boys. AIDS isn't the only queer issue.

12:51 AM  

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