Just a few miles away in Rehoboth Beach there was a candle light vigil at 6:30 tonight. But Mon is my regular work out from 6:00-7:00 so there was no way I'd make it to the vigil. Part of me was relieved. Another part of me aches.
Honest to God, my heart just breaks when I think of what those with AIDS and those who care for those with AIDS go through. I can't even write about that; its just too horrible.
In the 1980s and early 1990s it was the gay male community that seemed the first and hardest hit by AIDS. The one good thing about my coming out so late in life is that AIDS prevention techniques were known by then. But many gay men weren't as lucky. Lots and lots and lots of them died in those days.
Before AIDS had a name it was referred to as the Gay Flu because early on it was only gay men who appeared to have it. But later straight men and women contracted the virus and became symptomatic, prompting physicians and GLBT organizations to mount the campaign to educate the public that "AIDS is not a gay disease." Later AIDS began to ravage the continent of Africa. Today 2/3 of all people living with AIDS are in Africa.
Yet, gay men were the first to contract and die from the disease, gay men were the first to march publicly for governmental intervention into the epidemic, and gay men were and probably still are the largest contributors to AIDS charities.
If AIDS is not a gay disease, then why are gays the most visible and relentless advocates for AIDS education, prevention, and treatment efforts? Why are gay men still the 'face' of AIDS in North America?
Perhaps we are honoring our lost friends, brothers, and lovers.
Perhaps we have an enormous capacity for compassion.
Perhaps its because we are no strangers to social taboos.
I don't claim to know for sure, but whatever the reason(s), I'm grateful to all those, gay or straight, male or female, who've given of their time, energy, and self to volunteer at food organizations like Project Angel Heart and Food & Friends, to those who've gathered sponsors and participated in AIDSWalk and AIDSRide, and to those who've chosen careers in AIDS research and treatment.
We'll stop when there's a cure.
What others have written today can be found here, here, here, here, here, and here.
In other news, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to The Divine Miss M! Bette Midler turns 63 today, and still looks and sounds FABULOUS! Man, I'd sure love to see her show in Vegas!