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Happy Anniversary! – June 5, 2004: Ronald Reagan Died 13 Years Ago Today!

June 5, 2004 – U.S. President Ronald Reagan died from Alzheimer’s disease. Ironically, this was also the date in 1981 when the AIDS virus was first identified (although under another name: GRID – Gay Related Immune Deficiency). It was during Reagan’s term in office that the AIDS crisis started. Although AIDS was discovered in 1981, President Reagan did not mention the illness publicly until October 1987. By that time, there were nearly 60,000 cases of the disease with almost 28,000 deaths.

Ronald Reagan deliberately ignored one of the deadliest diseases in history of the world which is now affecting over 70 million people around the globe all  in the name of God, bigotry and homophobia.

From Back2Stonewall.com:

Ronald Reagan was and always should be remembered as the President who helped bring back poverty to the masses, the President who changed American foreign policy, by selling arms to Iran, and forwarding the profits to right-wing Central American dictators to help fund their death squads, and most of all as the President who is GUILTY of genocide and murder against the gay community and is personally responsible for the deaths of thousands who died of AIDS

It would not be until  1987 near the end of his second term in office when pushed that Reagan would publicly speak about the AIDS epidemic. By the end of that year, 59,572 AIDS cases had been reported and 27,909 gay men had died. He and his administration did almost nothing during the first seven years of the epidemic. AIDS research was chronically underfunded and community education and prevention programs were routinely denied federal funding. Only when pushed by massive protest and shamed by other countries did Reagan offer any assistance.

By that time AIDS patients were dying at a rate of about 80 per week

Newly unearthed audio of Ronald Reagan’s White House Press Secretary in daily meetings with the Press Corps from that period puts a face on the homophobic Reagan administration and proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that because AIDS affected mostly gay men that the Reagan administration could not be bothered and did could care less that American citizens dying because of their homophobic bigotry.

Happy Anniversary Ronnie.  

On behalf of myself, my friends, and all the friends I lost.  I hope that HELL is hot enough for you.

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, journalist 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 Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story,

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