Most civil rights struggles are on a fairly uphill slope when you look at their timeline. There are of course some hills and valleys, but overall, they aim north. If you look at the LGBT struggle for civil rights, you’ll notice a hard stop to the upward motion of the movement that lasted 10-15 years. From the early 80’s to well-into the 90’s, we stopped fighting for our rights and began fighting for our lives. During that time, we lost an entire generation of LGBT people.
this community and our rich history of standing up for one another as a community. During the AIDS crisis, waiters wouldn’t serve us food, dry cleaners wouldn’t do our laundry, nurses wouldn’t walk in the same room and parents dismissed their children as dead at the first sign of HIV. So we created a community. We built neighborhoods where WE would serve the food, we would do the laundry, we would change the tubes and needles in our friends and lovers hospital beds and we would hold the children whose parents had abandoned them. We were a community.
Today, on the eve of World AIDS Day, thousands of us are still dying. Young people in our community are knowingly-risking their lives as if contracting HIV is a rite of passage. There is still a major problem of people with HIV/AIDS being treated like lepers within and outside the LGBT community. We see our friends and loved ones living for decades now with HIV, taking medications daily to maintain the virus. And while yes, some people can live a very long time with proper treatment, the fact is that as many as 77% of those infected don’t know they are carrying the virus and passing it along to their unknowing partners. What we also don’t see are the side effects from the required medications – while some treatments have very few side effects, others are known to cause everything from 24/7 nausea, vomiting and diarrhea to cancer. HIV+ people are more than 7-times more likely to die from AIDS-related cancer than those not taking the sometimes-brutal regimen of medications. Where is our community now? Do we need to begin dying by the thousands for us to realize that our community is our strength?
7000 new infections each day. 33.4 million living with HIV/AIDS. 25 million have died.
Get educated. Get Tested. Talk About HIV/AIDS.