thegaygardener

Changing The World One Pansy At A Time!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Red Ribbon Day


Today, December 1st is WORLD AIDS DAY. Tens of thousands of people have died from the disease & more than 40 million people worldwide are infected with the virus
After escaping the dark & decimated New York of the late 1980s TheGayGardener landed in sunny California. Upon arrival, I was having dinner at one of my favorite places, ORSO, & overheard a woman at the next table say: “I am so sick of giving money to the gays for AIDS, they get so much already…I’m going to start raising funds for breast cancer!” Ugh! Thank God this kind of ignorance has lessened, but my generation of post-baby-boomers has lived with this terrible scourge our entire adult lives now and you know what? We’re used to it. “Sure, Doc!” “Run the HIV test while you’re at it.” we say at our yearly physicals. Or we make a special trip to the clinic after a drunken, hazy encounter. No big deal. There is that cocktail of drugs now. It’s not the death sentence it was. But it IS! With these numbers & the consistent rate of transmission, entire generations, not to mention the whole of Africa, are still threatened! But we have that war in Iraq to fund & fight, & we need additional state & federal monies to oppose gay marriage in the courts & at the ballot box, so we’re quite busy & over-extended.

I moved to Los Angeles in December of 1991. December 7th to be exact; a “day that will live in infamy!” to quote FDR. I came here with my then partner, the actor, Michael Jeter. He was fresh off a TONY AWARD winning stint on Broadway & starring in a sit-com for CBS.
He was diagnosed with HIV the year after we seperated in 1996. He died on March 30, 2003. He was 50 years old. Although the official cause of death was not HIV/AIDS, I do feel his life was, in many ways shortened, diminished, by the disease. He was “Sam”’s other daddy.
We miss him still.

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