12.1.16 Editor’s Desk

By : Billy Manes
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Billy Manes

We have a lot to live up to. Thirty-five years ago, a snowball of desperation mixed with activism – with more than a dash of medical data and personal tragedy – drove the LGBTQ community down the mythic mountain of seemingly inevitable, plague-like demise; in 1988, the first World AIDS Day was held. This week, we still memorialize the disease which has taken so many of our friends and our family.

After decades of a growing sexual revolution, of which the gay community was at least a tangential part, the “gay cancer,” or “GRID,” or “HIV/AIDS” rose out of the headlines, into our faces, and, eventually permeated our culture and the bodies that populate it. Did we sit down and shut up? No. We marched in streets, arms locked, and shut down businesses, trying to learn what even doctors didn’t yet know: How to Survive a Plague. The book of that name by David France – which follows in the wake of the award-winning documentary and was just released in hardcover – dives even deeper into the unthinkable depths of what would come to define a generation of driven LGBTQ individuals.

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Accidental Advocates

By : Steve Blanchard
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Notorious pastor Fred Phelps Sr. died on March 18, sparking mixed reactions from LGBTs and the community at large. His Westboro Baptist Church and his so-called congregation made national news often with its protest of the funerals of AIDS patients, Matthew Shepard and fallen U.S. soldiers.

Phelps and his Topeka-based church had the same message at each appearance: The country was doomed because of its tolerance of homosexuality.

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