Rest in power Larry Kramer
’40 million people is a f*cking plague’ — Watch Larry Kramer speak out against AIDS inaction in 1991. Kramer died this week at 84 pic.twitter.com/m9iwIoDwsB
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) May 28, 2020
RIP, Larry Kramer -- founder of ACT-UP.
Here's footage from when ACT-UP placed the ashes of people who died from AIDS on the lawn of the White House in 1992 in an act of love and protest. pic.twitter.com/a923Thq8oM
— “Ideas That Are Lying Around” (@_waleedshahid) May 27, 2020
I hope Larry Kramer gets to choose between resting in peace and haunting every last motherfucker on his list. pic.twitter.com/DHMKdg3MD2
— Rebecca Makkai (@rebeccamakkai) May 27, 2020
Rest in power to our fighter Larry Kramer. Your rage helped inspire a movement. We will keep honoring your name and spirit with action. In the spirit of ACT UP, join us and chant this (three times). #ACTUPFightbackENDAIDS #ACTUPFightbackENDAIDS #ACTUPFightbackENDAIDS pic.twitter.com/4fAqeO6STW
— ACT UP NY (@actupny) May 27, 2020
LGBTQ rights and public health advocates mourned an "incalculable" loss on Wednesday when influential AIDS activist and writer Larry Kramer died of pneumonia at the age of 84.
Kramer came to fame in the 1980s for his forceful demands for a national response to the AIDS epidemic as it killed tens of thousands of people, including many gay men.
As AIDS patients and gay men were stigmatized and President Ronald Reagan refused to publicly acknowledge the disease until 1985—when more than 5,000 people had already died—Kramer established Gay Men's Health Crisis, the first organization dedicated to providing public services to HIV-positive people.
In 1987, Kramer began ACT-UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), which became known for its disruptive—and ultimately effective—public actions demanding the federal government rapidly research potential treatments for AIDS and fighting discrimination against the LGBTQ community.
In The New Yorker in 2002, Michael Specter wrote that Kramer "may be responsible for more public arrests than anyone since the height of the civil rights movement," describing some of the public demonstrations he led:
AIDS activists who tried to dump the ashes of a young friend onto the South Lawn of the White House; protesters who shut down the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, surrounded the Food and Drug Administration headquarters, and chained themselves to the gates at the headquarters of the pharmaceutical giant Hoffman-La Roche and to the Golden Gate Bridge. In 1989, Kramer even called for riots before the annual international AIDS meeting convened in San Francisco. When Louis Sullivan, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, delivered the closing address, he was pelted mercilessly with condoms.
Kramer took aim at Dr. Anthony Fauci, who took the helm of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in 1984 and is now a leader in the U.S. government's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Blaming Fauci for the government's slow response to the AIDS epidemic, Kramer publicly called him an "incompetent idiot" and a murderer in the pages of the San Francisco Examiner in 1988. Fauci later credited Kramer with drawing attention at the federal level to the damage that was being done by bureaucratic delays in the search for effective AIDS treatments.
Larry Kramer’s contributions to the LGBTQ movement and the fight against HIV/AIDS are incalculable. @glaad and so many LGBTQ people and allies recognize Larry as an undeniable accelerant who not only fearlessly demanded change, but made it come to pass. https://t.co/HBlo7ZOjbK
— Sarah Kate Ellis (@sarahkateellis) May 27, 2020
If it wasn't for Larry and ACT-UP who knows what the death toll from AIDS would be today? That Reagan gets any good press is beyond me because instead of treating the AIDS epidemic as the threat it was just because of who it first affected but instead going with Falwell's It's Gawd's punishment for their lifestyle. What makes it even more criminal is that Reagan still did nothing after it was known to have gotten into the blood supply and was then affecting people with hemophilia which was mostly kids. He finally did when enough of his straight friends started dying from AIDS. And then other rich people. And....
Instead of reliving that nightmarish time period I am going to focus on Kramer's life and what he did for the gay community because I don't want to rehash and re-live the anger and anguish of those years.
This country has lost an incredible soul and I wish there was some way I could attend his funeral and see the celebration of his life.
If you haven't watched And the Band Played On I highly recommend watching it. Or reading the book with the same title. It covers the rise of the AIDS epidemic including the role ACT UP had with getting treatment.
On a side note I am hearing that survivors of the AIDS epidemic are suffering PTSD over the way the COVID pandemic was ignored for so long as the death toll continued to mount. Especially when we learn how people in nursing and veterans homes have been sacrificed.