Category Archives: GLBT

lesbians-aids-crisis

How Lesbians Cared For And Fought For Gay Men During the AIDS Crisis

From a powerful Reddit thread conveying what is was like to live as a gay man during the AIDS crisis of the 1980s-90s:

“Lesbians who came to the aid of gay men at that time would be acknowledged as every bit as heroic as soldiers on the front lines of any war. … I can tell you now is that these women walked directly into the fire and through it, and they did not have to. And that they did it even as some of the gay men they took care of treated them with bitchiness, scorn, and contempt. …

When the AIDS crisis struck, it would be many of these same women who would go straight from their jobs during the day to acting as caregivers at night. …

These women walked directly into the fire. They came to the aid of gay men even when it was unclear how easily the virus could be transmitted. Transmission via needlestick was still a concern, so they often wore two or three layers of latex gloves to protect themselves, but more than once I saw them, in their haste and frustration, dispense with the gloves so that they could check for fevers, or hold a hand that hung listlessly from the edge of a bed whose sheets they had just laundered.

They provided aid, comfort, and medical care to men withering away in hospices, men who’d already lost their lovers and friends to the disease and spent their last months in agony. They’d been abandoned by their own families, and were it not for lesbians – many if not most of them volunteers – they would have suffered alone. And when there was nothing more medicine could do for them and their lungs began to fill with fluid, it was often these same women who’d be left to administer enough morphine to release them, given to them by the doctor who had left the room and would return fifteen minutes later to sign the certificate (a common practice at the time).

I knew a woman around that time who’d had at one point been making bank in construction. But at the outset of the AIDS crisis she had abandoned her career to pursue nursing instead, and was close to her degree when we were hanging out. She was a big, hearty drinker, and fortunately so was I. We’d been utterly thrashed at a bar once when someone whispered a fairly benign but nonetheless unwelcoming comment about her. Middle fingers were exchanged, and afterwards, furious and indignant, I asked her, Why do you do it? Why did you abandon a career to take care of these assholes who still won’t pay you any respect?

She cut me a surprisingly severe look, held it and said, “Honey, because no one else is going to do it.” 

During that time, I did what I could. But nothing I did then or have ever been called to do in my life puts me anywhere near the example set by the lesbians I knew in the 80s and 90s. I’ve felt obligated to remember what they did, and to make sure other people remember it too. So, thanks to the OP – this is as good a place to start as any.”

Full discussion on Reddit.

Image from the amazing documentary We Were Here.

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Folsom Street Fair 2008

Alrighty it is time to write a blog post. I’ve been particularly negligent of my writing since we moved to San Francisco but have been trying to not guilt myself too much about that. But eventually you feel the anti-creative plaque hardening in my writing arteries and know that you have to gobble some mental oatmeal to get it all cleaned out.

We went to the 25th Annual Folsom Street Fair. I was surprised it is only for one day, it is on a Sunday and only lasts 7 hours. There were thousands of people though. One highlight included seeing a guy pop his load out of a second story window. He had on a hood and a jackstrap and was jerking his cock slowly as the crowd cheered, transfixed. He started to gush and the thonged throng went apeshit and then the big moneyshot – presumably sprayed on the eager mouths below – and much cheering and clapping.

We had seen a similar second-story load-popper during the Dore Alley festival. Ron would later deduce:

We’ve only been in San Francisco for 6 months and we’ve seen two guys pop their loads out a window. That’s an average of every three months.

We’ll have to be more alert come December.

Folsom was fun. I got to see pony-play for the first time live and some furries. Some slaves pulling rickshaws. Several bondage and whipping demonstrations.

I guess this stuff doesn’t seem that subversive to me anymore. On the way out we saw a guy blowing another guy and I thought: ‘Yeah, you’re so rebellious. You’re doing this against the Corona truck.’

Later in the evening booths of porn stars could be seeing plugging away.

It seems the women at Folsom are much more creative than the men.

Leather daddy usually boils down to chaps and straps but many of the women were decked out in all manner of corsets and finery.

One group was in their best Merchant-Ivory period wear with linen suits, dresses and parasols and called themselves the Prim & Proper Queer Tea Party:

All with a potpurri of pot smoke, sweaty leather, lite beer and chicken kabobs.

What I always find fascinating about the leather/BDSM scene/lifestyle is the amalgamation of biker chic, cowboy, Victorian age, Inquisition, punk and uniform fetish into a testament to the centrality and/or frivolity of sex. The over-sexualized, hyper-masculine style is aggressive at times, playful at others. Everybody gets to be fuck-able.

I didn’t think we’d be there for five hours so I didn’t slather on sunscreen. Six days later, I’m almost done peeling.

More conservative folk think that this is what San Francisco is like every single day of the year and that there are children walking around being traumatized. I only saw one person underage and it looked like a mom and kid that had taken a left turn at Alberquerqe and she told her daughter to look down while they made it through the crowd.

We did see the Sexiest Silver Fox in San Francisco again. Ron and I saw him on the train a couple months ago and I was entranced – sexy, silver and inked up. We see him every few weeks and here he is at Folsom:

Add to the list of Guys to Look Like When Older.

Walter Koenig to be George Takei’s Best Man, Nichelle Nichols as Matron of Honor

Every trekkie’s head just exploded:

The 71-year-old star, known for his role as Sulu in the 1960s sci-fi series, will wed partner Brad Altman this summer, after California state authorities lifted the ban on same-sex marriage last month. Takei will marry his partner of 20 years on September 14 and has invited his former castmates to the ceremony. He tells People.com, “The best man is my colleague from Star Trek, Walter Koenig, who played Chekov, and the matron of honor is Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura). And Leonard (Nimoy) and his wife Susan are on the (guest) list.”

CA Supreme Court Overturns Same-Sex Marriage Ban

"The California Supreme Court has overturned a gay marriage ban in a ruling that would make the nation’s largest state the second one to allow gay and lesbian weddings. The justices’ 4-3 decision Thursday says domestic partnerships are not a good enough substitute for marriage. Chief Justice Ron George wrote the opinion." (PDF of the opinion)

 

Relevant text:

"Furthermore, in contrast to earlier times, our state now recognizes that an individual’s capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual’s sexual orientation, and, more generally, that an individual’s sexual orientation — like a person’s race or gender — does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights. We therefore conclude that in view of the substance and significance of the fundamental constitutional right to form a family relationship, the California Constitution properly must be interpreted to guarantee this basic civil right to all Californians, whether gay or heterosexual, and to same-sex couples as well as to opposite-sex couples."

Transgender Man Becomes Pregnant

Thomas Beatie is was born a woman, but is now legally a married man. But his wife was not able to conceive so he discontinued his hormone treatments in order for them to have a child:

Wanting to have a biological child is neither a male nor female desire, but a human desire. Doctors have discriminated against us, turning us away due to their religious beliefs. Health care professionals have refused to call me by a male pronoun or recognize Nancy as my wife. Receptionists have laughed at us. Friends and family have been unsupportive; most of Nancy’s family doesn’t even know I’m transgender.

The first doctor we approached was a reproductive endocrinologist. A few months and a couple thousand dollars later, he told us that he would no longer treat us, saying he and his staff felt uncomfortable working with ‘someone like me.”

When I finally got pregnant for the first time, I ended up having an ectopic pregnancy with triplets. It was a life-threatening event that required surgical intervention, resulting in the loss of all embryos and my right fallopian tube. When my brother found out about my loss, he said, ‘It’s a good thing that happened. Who knows what kind of monster it would have been.”

How does it feel to be a pregnant man? Incredible. Despite the fact that my belly is growing with a new life inside me, I am stable and confident being the man that I am. In a technical sense I see myself as my own surrogate, though my gender identity as male is constant. To Nancy, I am her husband carrying our child—I am so lucky to have such a loving, supportive wife. I will be my daughter’s father, and Nancy will be her mother. We will be a family.

Gayest. IM. Evar.

Andy: oh oh – the Junior Vasquez remix of [Britney Spears song] Piece of Me is quite good

(pause)

Sam: andy that is quite possibly the gayest thing you’ve ever said to me

andy: Could be. gayer: I bought it on iTUnes.

Sam: hahaha

Andy: gayer: I listened to it at the gym.

(pause)

Andy: gayer: as I did incline flies

Sam: you are a gay explosion

Andy: gayer: while on creatine

Sam: good god man

andy: but unfortunately I was not wearing my short shorts

Sam: lol