I’m reading about AIDS for gender and sexuality this week, and fuck, it’s depressing. You’ve got to wonder how gay liberation would have worked out differently if it weren’t for AIDS—and you’ve also got to mourn the dead, and all the homophobia that AIDS generated.
We’re reading this play called The Normal Heart, by Larry Kramer, about the beginnings of the AIDS crisis in New York. The quote of the day is from the play, on a flyer distributed by a group of AIDS awareness activists, and it is this:
It’s 1982 now, guys, when are you going to come out? By 1984 you could be dead.
I had to stop reading to write that down. I’ve been thinking so much about this politics-of-the-closet stuff, and here I am having come of age so long after AIDS broke, so long even after Will and Grace and Ellen. Here I am in the age of same-sex marriage. What do I know of the problems the gay community faced, back then?
But I think we can all learn still from the sentences I quoted. European intellectuals back in the day used to make Catholic confessions on their deathbeds—just to be on the safe side. (God, how I rant incoherently.) I wish that no one should have to die in the closet.