I guess the Advocate is having a tizzwhack about the ratings for “When We Rise”. Well, I know a lot of people my age that lived through all that don’t particularly want to relive that period of our lives.
Some of it hurt a lot. You’re better off reading all the “Tales of the City’ like we did at the time.
I don’t want to remember lying in bed from July to September 1990 after my knee surgery when I wasn’t allowed to be weight bearing and having my best friend lying in another bed miles away dying of AIDS. I don’t want to remember that all I could do was phone and leave messages for him with his family. The day I was finally allowed up on crutches and out was for his funeral at Rose Hills. I don’t want to remember sitting at his funeral and having a priest who had never met him start by saying “If Art was hear today…” and getting clubbed on both sides from friends when I said very loudly because I was pissed. “If Art was here we wouldn’t be”. I don’t want to remember his mom and sister coming up to me afterwards because my picture was the one he had next to his bed and I never knew but they knew me to thank me for loving him. He was my best friend, how could I not love him?
I don’t want to remember how he went into every relationship he was in, in the 80s thinking this guy would be the ONE and he would get dumped and head to the bars and the baths to console himself and come home with tales of all the famous men he had seen there and bring me a souvenir pen. I don’t want to remember how scared I was when he did it. I don’t want to remember being able to fit into his jeans after he got sick because he had lost so much weight. I don’t want to remember reading “And the Band Played On” while I lay in bed wrapped in first ice blocks and then heating pads in 116 degree heat in July after my surgery and feeling so helpless about everything including missing my chance to go to the Gay Games in Vancouver with my friends.
I don’t want to remember my friend Jim who got sick in the early 80’s and no one knew what he had when he died just that he had funky spots and they called it a liver disease when it was GRID. Grid was the name they called AIDS first.
I don’t want to remember being called dyke on the street from some dudes in a truck waiting to cross the street. We didn’t even look particularly dykey, I thought.
I don’t want to remember going to the wonderful Long Beach Lesbian picnic and having to cross past gangs of men yelling things like “Who’s the man?” and telling us they were there if we needed a “real” man. Ick!
I don’t want to remember men dressed in black with immense black signs with evil things on them at the parade and screaming we were going to hell and hearing the sheriffs say they were going to arrest them for incitement to riot when they lunged at us.
I don’t want to remember the screaming when mom figured out I was “like my brother” and she wasn’t going to get any grandchildren. And how the church tried to shame my parents for having gay children and not raising us right, and trying to reconvert Cam and I to being straight. Especially since every minister there had a gay kid in the closet.
I don’t want to remember the night my brother called in tears because the last man left that he had come out with had died and he was feeling abandoned and scared.
I don’t want to remember the night he called me because his first lover, Steve had died. When they broke up Steve had gone to work at a bar and played around, and he told Cam it was his fault. So another incredibly talented piano player and sweet gentle soul was gone.
I don’t want to remember all the guys I came out with at the Pasadena GLSU slowly disappearing from our group and finding out they had died.
I don’t want to remember walking into the AIDS Service Center when I was on call token pagan clergy person and finding out who had died between our clergy visits.
I don’t want to remember monitoring the AIDS Quilt AKA the Names Project at the Rose Bowl and seeing Steve’s quilt or walking around looking at names and realizing one square covered in roses was a guy my sorority arranged two blind dates with against my will. It did explain a lot about those non-starting dates but it really hit my heart. I don’t want to remember handing the Kleenex box that stood near every quilt square to people visiting family and friend’s pieces. I don’t want to remember folding or unfolding them every day.
I don’t want to remember being on the board that put on the first Gay Pride event in Pasadena, all those guys are gone too.
No, I do not want to remember those events. The parades were fun and the guys were wonderful and taught me so much after my first lover dumped me and most of my friends took her side even though she left me for another woman. The guys took me clothes shopping and gave me a party and got me drunk beforehand so I could meet women which was one of the most fun nights I’ve ever had at a party. There was a lot of love facing a lot of hate from the outside but now we need to face the future and do it all again and I don’t want to remember…
Art and I at the Gay Pride Parade circa 1982 or 83?