BIG PHOTOSETS FOREVER FOR THEY ARE MUCH HARDER TO IGNORE / a lot of these don’t have hi-res versions available, but i still want to post them
This was not an exaggeration. The government ignored the issue of HIV/AIDS for years before anything was done. Gay and Queer communities had to form their own clinics because no government agencies cared for them. Back then, being diagnosed was equivalent to a death sentence or extreme debt and poor quality of life/a significantly shortened lifespan.
Things got so desperate that people literally had “Die-Ins”— in contemporary usage this refers to masses of people simulating death in order to protest something (like the War in Iraq). In this case, however, fatally sick people would literally lie down in public places and protest with what little energy they had left until they died. There is some footage of a church Die-In in the documentary Beyond Stonewall. The middle image here of that person’s jacket is not an extreme political statement; it’s what people had to do because they had no other options.
queer politics aren’t all hrc t-shirts and shiny lobbying. So many people have already forgotten this extremely recent history.
never forget that AIDS actually was originally called “GRID” as in “Gay-Related Immune Deficiency” and it took straight ppl dying from blood transfusions for people to actually consider this a crisis worth fixing.
If you’re of the generation (like mine) that wasn’t taught about any of this because there was no who cared, or no one left to care, read, as a bare starting minimum, And The Band Played On. There are a lot of stories starting to be told about this era. Pay attention.
For all of you who were too young (or not born yet) to remember what is going to shown in The Normal Heart, it really did happen. It was horrible, awful, frustrating, anger-inducing. The government denied and ignored HIV/AIDS. Then, when it was acknowledged, there was always an implicit message that it didn’t matter because only gay men were affected. People truly believed you couldn’t get HIV/AIDS if you weren’t gay and that the disease reflected an apt punishment — but certainly not something that the general public need concern themselves with.
HIV/AIDS suffers became quarantined by people’s fears. So many healthcare providers wouldn’t help — would literally not touch those ill.
It was devastating. Utterly and completely devastating, and horribly heart-wrenching.
There are *SO* many things that Reagan did that were horrible and awful (and whose consequences we are still dealing with today). Denying, ignoring, and believing that gay men’s deaths were justified is of the more egregious.
As for Ed Koch — I have my own theories about him.