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You Are Here: Home » Featured, LGBT History » New York Times Updates Ed Koch’s Obit To Include AIDS Criticism And Rightfully So

The New York Times revised its obituary of former NYC mayor Ed Koch after receiving many complaints of Koch’s handling of the AIDs crisis in New York City in the 1980s.

Koch died of congestive heart failure yesterday at the age of 88.

The new additions are here:

Mr. Koch was also harshly criticized for what was called his slow, inadequate response to the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. Hundreds of New Yorkers were desperately ill and dying in a baffling public health emergency. Critics, especially in the gay community, accused him of being a closeted gay man reluctant to confront the crisis for fear of being exposed.

For years, Mr. Koch was upset and defensive about the criticism. In a 1994 interview with Adam Nagourney, a New York Times correspondent and co-author, with Dudley Clendinen, of “Out for Good: The Struggle to Build a Gay Rights Movement in America,” Mr. Koch said that New York had done more than San Francisco for people with AIDS. “But that never got through to the gay community,” Mr. Koch said. “They were brainwashed that they were getting shortchanged in New York City and in San Francisco they were getting everything. And it wasn’t true, but you could never convince them.”

Last fall, Koch reviewed David France’s AIDS documentary “How to Survive a Plague,” calling it “superb” and saying, “I urge President Obama to do so by presenting them and other leaders recognized by Act Up [sic] with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.” He never mentioned that ACT UP was founded in New York City during his own tenure, or that it came about because of “outrage” at “the government’s mismanagement of the AIDS crisis.”

Larry Kramer has said, “I had to try to get Ed Koch on the telephone to get an office for Gay Men’s Health Crisis in New York City, and I was made to feel like, just who the hell are you? It made me very angry, and it was actually that anger that propelled me more than anything.”

Four years after the AIDS epidemic began  in January 1984, New York City under Koch’s leadership had spent a total of just $24,500 on AIDS.  San Francisco, a city one tenth the size of New York, spent $4.3 million, a figure that grew to over $10 million annually by 1987

By 1989, the year Koch left office, nearly 30,000 New Yorker’s had been diagnosed with AIDS

Ed Koch cared only about  one thing and that was: Ed Koch. The entire gay community in the 1980′s could have DIED of AIDS for all he cared rather than tarnish his political reputation and lose support with the Catholic Church.  Koch’s strategy to stop AIDS was persecution.  He stepped up plainclothes entrapment of gay men, close down bars, nightclubs and bath houses rather than do something substantial that could actually help.   Koch didn’t care one bit — as the death of Richard Nathan the lover Ed Koch tossed out to climb to the top who later died of AIDS and alone proves.

Meanwhile, THE HUFFINGTON POST has published several columns giving Koch the hero-worship treatment, and its moderators are blocking every post that doesn’t agree. But you know what?  THIS AIN’T THE HUFFINGTON POST.  And the TRUTH shall be written and recorded for history.

Ed Koch was a selfish, politically motivated closet-case, who went to his grave with the blood of thousands of young gay men on his hands and he should always be remembered that way.

THAT is his TRUE legacy.

About the author

Will Kohler has written 6652 articles on this blog.

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, writer, blogger and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Advocate, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, Raw Story, and The Huffington Post

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