Tag Archives: AIDS

The New-York Historical Society Announces Home For New American LGBT Museum in NYC

Gay History – January 4, 1982: NYC’s Gay Men’s Health Crisis Founded in Response to AIDS Epidemic

Six months after the New York Times reported on a “gay cancer” that was showing up in gay men. The Gay Men’s Health Crisis in New York City was founded. GMHC was non-profit, volunteer-supported, and community-based AIDS service organization whose mission statement is to “end the AIDS epidemic and uplift the lives of all affected.”

The organization was founded in January 4, 1982 after reports began surfacing in San Francisco and New York City that a rare form of cancer called Kaposi’s sarcoma was affecting young gay men. After the Centers for Disease Control declared the new disease an epidemic. The Gay Men’s Health Crisis was created when 80 men gathered in New York gy activist and writer Larry Kramer’s apartment to discuss the issue of “gay cancer” and to raise money for research. GMHC took its name from the fact that the majority of those who fell victim to AIDS were gay.

The founders were Nathan Fain, Larry KramerDr. Lawrence D. Mass, Paul Popham, Paul Rapoport and Edmund White. Through hard work and many obstacles they organized the formal, tax-exempt entity. At the time it was the few and largest volunteer AIDS organization in the world. Paul Popham was chosen as the president much to Larry Kramer’s chagrin.

Rodger McFarlane who began an AIDS crisis counseling hotline that originated on his own home telephone was named as the director of GMHC in 1982 He created a more formal structure for the nascent organization, which had no funding or offices. When Mcfarlane took on the role of GMHC it operated out of a rooming house in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan.

McFarlane lamented the inequitable treatment of gays by society at large, noting how “We were forced to take care of ourselves because we learned that if you have certain diseases, certain lifestyles, you can’t expect the same services as other parts of society”

Larry Kramer resigned from GMHC in 1983 to form the more militant ACT UP (the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) as a more political alternative. From that time on his public comments and posture toward GMHC were negative, if not hostile. Kramer’s play The Normal Heart is a roman à clef of his involvement with the organization.

On April 30, 1983, the GMHC sponsored the first major fund-raising event for AIDS – a benefit performance of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

By 1984, the Centers for Disease Control had requested GMHC’s assistance in planning public conferences on AIDS. That same year, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus was discovered by the French Drs Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier. Within two years, GMHC was not only helping gay men who contracted the disease but were also assisting heterosexual men and women, intravenous drug users, and children.

GMHC still exists today and after almost 40 years fighting AIDS in New York City and across the nation, GMHC has gained clients who have been with the program as long as 25 years, many of whom are now 50 years of age or older. GMHC services have evolved as its clients have grown older to ensure programs meet the needs of the aging HIV-positive population.

To this date the GMHC has helped millions of Americans deal with AIDS and AIDS related issues.

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Image result for gay men's health crisis

Image result for gay men's health crisis

Gay History – December 9, 1985: The NYC Dept. of Health Closes The Infamous New St. Marks Baths

One of the few rare pictures of the St. Marks Baths café.
One of the few rare pictures of the St. Marks Baths café.

The New St. Marks Baths was the premiere gay bathhouse in New York City and was located at 6 St. Marks Place in the East Village of Manhattan from 1979 to 1985.  It claimed to be the worlds largest gay bathhouse with 230 lockers, 162 cubicles/rooms, a pool, several lounges, a roof deck,  a steam room with portholes in the wall like the ones you would see on a cruise ship and a 24 hour cafe.

Opened in 1913 it operated as a Turkish bath catering to the immigrants on New York’s Lower East Side. In the 1950s it began to have a homosexual clientele at night and in the 1960’s it became exclusively gay.

Rare picture of the St. Marks Baths locker room.
Rare picture of the St. Marks Baths locker room.

The Saint Mark’s Baths was sexual playground and gay men would prowl its darkened hallways 24 a day, 7 days a week in search of the ultimate sex partner. On the main floor, money was paid and valuables safely stored in signed, sealed envelopes and put away for safekeeping.  A key was handed out (to a locker if one had $10, to an actual private room if one had $20-50; depending upon the size of the bed).  And off you went.  On Friday and Saturday nights despite the huge size of the place it was not surprising to wind up on wait list waiting for a room or a locker for hours.

The late Vito Russo, film historian and author of “The Celluloid Closet,” was a regular at New York City’s St. Mark’s Baths and worked in its Cafe (pictured above) for minimum wage and tips, making sandwiches and serving coffee to the men draped in towels or those waiting. All enjoying some post-Stonewall sexual liberation

There was no “velvet rope” at the door. Well-sculpted body builders were in line to get in with guys who were 90 pounds soaking wet. The cream of the male-modeling crop mixed together with bi-curious construction workers from New Jersey.  Artists and Art Dealers rubbed elbows (clad in nothing but a towel around the waist) with elementary school art teachers.  The clothes came off and suddenly everyone was just himself with only one thing on his mind without status symbols or wealth to get in the way.

One’s ability to make out well (literally) was based not on one’s looks or charm, but also chance. The odds were based on three floors’ worth of “hunting” space and how many men happened to be there at the time. The bigger the crowd, the more chance that one would meet “Mr. Right.” (And  for many that meant  Mr. Right No. 1, Mr. Right No. 2, Mr. Right No. 3, and so on.)

The first floor contained locker rooms, showers and the cafe. The basement contained a swimming pool, more showers, an enormous Jacuzzi, and a large, darkened room with a vinyl-covered mattress that must’ve been 40′ x 40′ where all manner of groping was going on. The upstairs three floors contained seemingly miles of hallway and hundreds of rooms.. Doors ajar with men waiting within,

It was a hedonist wonderland.  As someone once described it: “It was Gomorrah the way it should have been”.

Via SteveWarren.com – Legendary Bathouses of New YorkCity

A regular of the old St. Marks Baths remembered it this way: “The steamroom was an institution in itself. Guys would pack in so tightly that you could hardly raise your arms. And there was a pool in the basement where I saw quite a few guys getting blow jobs under the water. Never could figure out how they didn’t get a lung full of water.” (Robert, NYC)

Another regular of the old St. Marks Baths remembered this incident: “I’ll never forget this one…happened at the old St. Marks Baths one Saturday night in the late 1970’s. There was a line out the door (probably about 1 in the morning). I was waiting patiently when, all of a sudden, the music stops playing from inside, and an ambulance pulls up. About 15 minutes later two men come out with a stretcher. On it was a guy in a rubber body bag! The reaction of the line was just ‘business as usual.’ A queen in front of me said, ‘I hope I don’t get HER room.’ That was it for me—I was out of there!” (D.H., NYC) Although “D.H.” did not remember why the man on the stretcher had died, there was said to have been an incident in which a man suffered an epileptic attack and drowned in the hot tub about the same time of this incident.

A patron of the New St. Marks Baths remembered this about the place: “The New St. Marks had a great hot tub and olympic pool. Showers were way hot, too. The rooms were tiny, attendants were all nice & would give you sheets, pillows, and towels if you needed extras. I had some hot times as a teenager there. They never proofed!” (J.T., Long Island)

Another regular of the New St. Marks remembered this: “I always tried to get the “corner room.” There was a corner room which was oddly shaped because of the corner. It was right at the head of the stairs, so you could see everything and everybody as they passed by. It was great for cruising. It was also larger than the rest of the rooms because of the angles of the corner. So it was perfect for a small orgy. And I hosted many there!” (C.H., NYC)

But that began to change in 1981 when the AIDS epidemic began.

The Saint Marks and other bathhouses attempted to do what they could.  They passed out condoms and placed posters and literature on safe sex throughout the establishments but some gay activists such as Larry Kramer (God bless him but he was wrong here) became so “sex panic” obsessed that they wanted ALL the bathrouses’ closed..  And seizing the opportunity (and in some cases the land) the city of New York was glad to oblige.

In October 1985 New York State Sanitary Code (10 NYCRR) § 24.2, authorized the New York City Department of Health to close any facilities “in which high risk sexual activity takes place. This code would eventually lead  to the clean-up of 42nd street and 8th Avenue.  And so on December 9, 1985 the City began the process of targeting and closing  and and all gay bathhouses and backrooms and the St. Marks Baths was the first one on it’s list.

As the story goes when health officials came to close the place down the staff could not find the front door key. The New York City Department of Health had to purchase and install a lock on the building, because in its 72 years that the St. Marks had been in existence it had never closed. 

Shortly after its closure graffiti covered the outside walls of the building saying,  “Finally!” and “Fuck Fags!”

Bruce Mailman the owner of the Saint Marks attempted to fight in court to reopen his bathhouse, but failed.  With no chance to reopen it the baths the building that was once one of the busiest gay establishments in New York City stood silent and abandoned for 9 years until he passed away in 1994 from complications due to AIDS.

The property was sold to a video chain and the upstairs was converted to a low rent hotel. It has now been converted into East Village condominiums.

If only those walls could talk.

The St Marks baths large

Former "Pharma Bro" Company To Pay $40M Settlement For Price-Gouging AIDS Medicine

Former “Pharma Bro” Company To Pay $40M Settlement For Price-Gouging AIDS Medicine

In 2015 we reported on Martin Shkreli CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals. The man who gloated about hiking the price of a drug that benefits AIDS patients, pregnant women and cancer patients over 400%.

Well after 6 years the company finally has to pay for it’s actions.

A company once owned by “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli will pay up to $40 million to settle allegations that it jacked up the price of a life-saving medication by roughly 4,000% after obtaining exclusive rights to the drug, the Federal Trade Commission announced Tuesday.

The FTC said Vyera Pharmaceuticals LLC and its parent company, Phoenixus AG, agreed to settle allegations that it gouged buyers and monopolized sales of Daraprim, which is used to treat toxoplasmosis, an infection that can be deadly for people with HIV or other immune-system problems.

Vyera raised the price of the decades-old drug from $17.50 to $750 per pill after obtaining exclusive rights to it in 2015.

NBC News

Shkreli is currently serving a seven year prison send for unrelated hedge fund violation and is set to be released within the next 2 years.

Nothing has been put in place by the federal government to stop this from ever happening again.

GAY HISTORY – The Life and Death of Rock Hudson and His Impact on the AIDS Epidemic (November 17, 1925 – October 2, 1985)

In the 1985 Rock Hudson, a leading Hollywood actor, became the first major hollywood celebrity to die of AIDS-related complications.

While his career developed in 1950’s Hollywood, Rock Hudson and his agent Henry Willson kept the actor’s personal life out of the headlines. In 1955, Confidential magazine threatened to publish an exposé about Hudson’s secret homosexual life. Willson stalled the article by disclosing information about two of his other clients. Willson provided information about Rory Calhoun‘s years in prison and the arrest of Tab Hunter at a gay party in 1950. According to some colleagues, Hudson’s homosexual life was well known in Hollywood throughout his career, and former co-stars Elizabeth Taylor and Susan Saint James claimed that they knew of his homosexuality, as did Carol Burnett.

Soon after the Confidential incident, Hudson married Willson’s secretary Phyllis Gates. Gates filed for divorce after three years in April 1958, citing mental cruelty. Hudson did not contest the divorce and Gates received alimony of $250 a week for 10 years. Gates never remarried.

An urban legend states that Hudson “married” Jim Nabors in the early 1970s. Not only was same-sex marriage not recognized under the laws of any American state at the time, but, at least publicly, Hudson and Nabors were nothing more than friends. According to Hudson, the legend originated with a group of “middle-aged homosexuals who live in Huntington Beach” sent out joke invitations for their annual get-together. One year the group invited its members to witness “the marriage of Rock Hudson and Jim Nabors”, at which Hudson would take the surname of Nabors’ most famous character, Gomer Pyle, becoming Rock Pyle.

The “joke” was evidently already in the mainstream by the very early 1970s. In the October 1972 edition of MAD magazine (issue no. 154), an article entitled “When Watching Television, You Can be Sure of Seeing…”, gossip columnist ‘Rona Boring” (a take on then gossip columnist Rona Barrett) states: “And there isn’t a grain of truth to the vicious rumor that movie and TV star Rock Heman and singer Jim Nelly were secretly married! Rock and Jim are just good buddies! I repeat, they are not married! They are not even going steady!”  Those who failed to get the joke spread the rumor and as a result, Hudson and Nabors never spoke to each other again.

Shortly after Hudson’s press release disclosing his illness, William M. Hoffman, the author of As Is, a play about AIDS that appeared on Broadway in 1985, stated: “If Rock Hudson can have it, nice people can have it. It’s just a disease, not a moral affliction.”

At the same time, Joan Rivers was quoted as saying: “Two years ago, when I hosted a benefit for AIDS, I couldn’t get one major star to turn out. … Rock’s admission is a horrendous way to bring AIDS to the attention of the American public, but by doing so, Rock, in his life, has helped millions in the process. What Rock has done takes true courage. Morgan Fairchild said that “Rock Hudson’s death gave AIDS a face. In a telegram Hudson sent to a September 1985 Hollywood AIDS benefit, Commitment to Life, which he was too ill to attend in person, Hudson said: “I am not happy that I am sick. I am not happy that I have AIDS. But if that is helping others, I can at least know that my own misfortune has had some positive worth.”

Hudson, a friend of Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy, made a simple plea to the White House for help to get him transferred to a hospital in France in his greatest hour of need. 

“Only one hospital in the world can offer necessary medical treatment to save life of Rock Hudson or at least alleviate his illness,” Dale Olson, Hudson’s longtime friend and publicist wrote. Although the commanding officer had denied Hudson admission to the French military hospital initially, Olson wrote that they believed “a request from the White House … would change his mind.”

First Lady Nancy Reagan denied Hudson’s the request.

On the morning of October 2, 1985, Hudson died in his sleep from AIDS-related complications at his home in Beverly Hills at age 59, less than two months before what would have been his 60th birthday. Hudson requested that no funeral be held. His body was cremated hours after his death and a cenotaph was later established at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Cathedral City, California.

Hudson’s revelation had an immediate impact on the visibility of AIDS, and on the funding of medical research related to the disease. Among activists who were seeking to de-stigmatize AIDS and its victims, Hudson’s revelation of his own infection with the disease was viewed as an event that could transform the public’s perception of AIDS.

Rest in Peace Rock.

Gay History: November 7, 1985: NYC Closes the "Notorious" MINESHAFT, READ The NY Times Article

Gay History: November 7, 1985: NYC Closes the “Notorious” MINESHAFT – READ The NY Times Article

New York City yesterday closed a bar frequented by homosexuals, contending that it permitted ”high-risk sexual activity” linked to the spread of AIDS.

It was the first such action taken by the city since New York State enacted new rules designed to curb the growing incidence of the deadly disease by empowering local governments to shut down bathhouses, bars and other places where dangerous sex takes place.

In court papers signed late Wednesday by Justice Jawn A. Sandifer of State Supreme Court in Manhattan, the city asserts that the bar – the Mine Shaft at 835 Washington Street, near Little West 12th Street, in Greenwich Village – is not only in violation of the new anti-AIDS regulations but also is a public nuisance and has been operating without a liquor license.

At a hearing set for Tuesday, the city will ask that the bar be closed for a year. Its owners, listed in court papers as the DAJ Real Estate Management Corporation, could not be reached yesterday, and its operators were not identified.

A ‘Notorious’ Place

The Mine Shaft is a ”notorious and well-known place,” in the words of Richard Dunne, executive director of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis.

In graphic depositions written by city inspectors, a portrait emerged of a dark place with black walls, back rooms, open cubicles without doors and the accouterments of sadomasochism. They reported seeing many patrons engaging in anal intercourse and fellatio – the ”high risk” sexual practices cited in the state rules – and hearing sounds of whipping and moaning.

At a news conference with city lawyers, Mayor Koch said in answer to questions yesterday that by closing the place, the city was not trying to impose any restrictions on sexuality, but to save lives.

”Maybe it brings to the consciousness of those who have a predilection to engage in this suicidal behavior how ridiculous it is, how self-defeating it is and how lethal it is,” he said. ”Maybe it will deter them as well. We don’t know. But we’re going to do the best we can.’

Opposition to Closing

Others, including homosexual activists, argued that closing the Mine Shaft and places like it would have no impact on sexual activity, and suggested that by closing the bar, the city had taken a step toward government regulation of private behavior.

”The Governor and the Mayor have taken us down a slippery slope that may lead to re-criminalization of private sexual conduct in general,” said Thomas B. Stoddard, legislative director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. ”Once the government starts on that road, it is very hard to make distinctions between kinds of establishments and kinds of conduct.”

City inspections will continue, said the Mayor, who also sent letters to 10 establishments believed to be in violation of the state rules, asking them to report to him by next Thursday what they have done to prevent high-risk sex on their premises.

A Call for Education

Mr. Dunne of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis said he did not believe that closing the bar would have a salutary effect on sexual behavior, or on the spread of acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

”You don’t get AIDS from buildings, you get AIDS from a virus that is transmitted sexually,” he said. ”The only thing that is going to stop it is education and the adoption of behavior changes. I don’t just mean people going to the Mine Shaft and to the bathhouses. I’m talking about the whole gay male population, and I’m talking about all intravenous drug users and their contacts.”

Mr. Koch, who until recently had taken the position that closing bathhouses, sex clubs and the like would not stop high-risk sex, said he thought closing the Mine Shaft might stop some of the sexual practices that had been taking place there.

”The Bible says, if you save one life, it’s as though you have saved the whole world,” he said, alluding to a similarly worded passage that is actually in the Talmud.

Frenetic Activity

The city was expected to act a day sooner than it did in closing the Mine Shaft. The Mayor announced early Wednesday that an establishment would be closed that morning, a pronouncement that set off frenetic activity at City Hall. According to the city’s Corporation Counsel, Frederick A. O. Schwarz Jr., the Mayor was ”confused” about the complexity of the process and the need to prepare detailed court papers.

A large portion of the court submission is made up of the depositions from three inspectors with the city’s Consumer Affairs Department, who visited the Mine Shaft between last Friday and last Sunday.

In sparse, almost clinical language, they describe what they saw.

”The bar was approximately 20 feet long,” one inspector wrote. ”Near the bar in the center of the floor was a pool table covered with a sheet of plywood. To the rear of the bar was a coat room where a man was checking all coats that were not leather. Located on the floor, there were two horses which I would describe as the type used in a gymnasium. The interior of the premises was painted black.’

Warning Signs

The inspectors wrote of seeing several men ”in various stages of undress” fondling each other, engaging in oral and anal intercourse and doing so in the open. They said that they observed men moving from one sexual partner to another and that although signs warned of AIDS and offered to provide condoms, condoms were not being used.

Two of the inspectors said they heard sounds of whipping and moaning, but did not investigate ”for reasons of personal safety,” one wrote.

Mr. Koch praised the inspectors, who had the option of refusing the assignment. ”It’s tough stuff to read,” the Mayor said. ”It must be horrific, horrendous in its actuality to witness.”

(Mary Koch. Oh Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeease.! – WK)

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Image result for the mineshaft nyc


Image result for the mineshaft nyc


Image result for the mineshaft nyc

Gay History – Remembering Bisexual Actor Brad Davis Who Fought For Work and Dignity While Battling AIDS

Actor Brad Davis: –  Born Robert Davis on this day November 6th, 1949 to Eugene Davis (a dentist from Beverly Hills whose career declined due to alcoholism) and his wife, Anne (née Creel) Davis. According to an article in The New York Times published in 1987, Davis suffered both physical abuse and sexual abuse at the hands of both parents. As an adult, he was an alcoholic and an intravenous drug user before becoming sober in 1981.  Brad Davis took his stage name after learning that there already was a Bob Davis registered in Actors Equity. Acting was always his ambition, from appearing in productions at Theater Atlanta at the age of sixteen, and moving to New York to study at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and at the American Place Theater. Television roles soon followed, in a short-lived soap opera and in the miniseries Roots and Sybil (both 1976). But it was his role as Billy Hayes in the film Midnight Express which rocketed him to fame and won him two Golden Globes.

Davis’s career should have taken off. Instead, it languished, due somewhat to homophobia — his bisexuality was generally known if not always acknowledged — and more directly due to his own drug and alcohol abuse. In 1976, he was cast in the television mini-series Roots, then as Sally Field’s love interest in the television film Sybil. In 1981 he sobered in time to take a minor role in Chariots of Fire he played American track star Jackson Scholz in the Academy Award winning film Chariots of Fire. . In 1983, he took a professional risk playing a gay sailor in Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Querelle (which flopped), and a dying man of AIDS in Larry Kramer’s play The Normal Heart.  That last role mirrored, somewhat, his own life.

Diagnosed with HIV in 1985, Davis kept his condition a secret until shortly before his death at age 41,  in order to be able to continue to work and support his family.

His wife, freelance casting director Susan Bluestein said: “The Hollywood community may deny it. They will say he could have worked. All I know is that my husband was frightened, and that he wanted to be able to keep putting food on our table for his family,”

Davis was going to write a book about his ordeal of working in Hollywood and having to keep secret his illness. While he died before he could accomplish that his wife did write a book using Davis’ book proposal as the basis for her book, After Midnight: The Life and Death of Brad Davis.

”I make my money in an industry that professes to care very much about the fight against AIDS — that gives umpteem benefits and charity affairs with proceeds going to research and care — but in actual fact, if an actor is even rumored to have H.I.V., he gets no support on an individual basis. He does not work.”

In a 1997 interview with New York Times writer Alex Witchel, Davis’ wife described the great pains he went to seeking medical help only allowing doctors to visit him at home, ”Without the secrecy he may not have gotten better medical care, but earlier medical care,” she said. ”It might have given him a little longer time and better quality of life. We became so isolated. He let a lot of friendships go. He was afraid certain people would pick up on some things. Our world shrank to the bare bones.” In order to hide his illness Witchel wrote that Davis didn’t buy prescriptions in his name but was supplied with prescription “leftovers” from others after they died.

When Brad Davis died on September 8, 1991,  news reports distinguished him as “the first heterosexual actor to die of AIDS.” Not much of that description was true. His bi-exuality aside, he didn’t, strictly speaking, die of AIDS. Davis decided to end his life on his own terms by committing suicide by drug overdose when it became clear that his death from AIDS was imminent.

Gay History Month – Forgotten Gay Heroes: Out Actor and Hollywood AIDS Warrior Tom Villard (1953 – 1994)

Tom Villard was an up and coming Hollywood star. He was featured in situation comedies, episodic TV series, and had leading roles in lower and mid-range budgeted features. At the peak of his career Villard was given featured supporting roles in big-budget studio fare, such as Clint Eastwood’s Heartbreak Ridge, and My Girl (with Dan Aykroyd and Jamie Lee Curtis). .

But then fate dealt him a most unkind blow, he contracted AIDS and with it the onset of Kaposi Sarcom and developing lesions on his face and at the end of his nose. In Hollywood the most superficial of cities, in an industry that celebrates style over substance, a place where plastic surgery is required to be “beautiful” Villard, rather than hiding away and changing his name and living out the rest of his years anonymously, took his struggle to the public.

Tom Villard became one of the few actors in Hollywood in the early 1990s who chose to be open about his homosexuality, and the challenge of living with HIV and AIDS. In February 1994, Villard made an unprecedented appearance on Entertainment Tonight, acknowledging to “…more than 13 million viewers that he was gay, that he had AIDS, and that he needed some help.”

“I felt like I could do something by saying that I am not a feces-eating-pederast-sex-crazed somebody who has invoked God’s wrath. It turned everything upside down on its ear.” – Tom Villard

According to a POZ magazine profile in December of that year Villard said, “An awful lot of people suddenly wouldn’t let me in the door for auditions. I started speaking a couple of months ago about living with AIDS and having hope,” he said. “It feels a little more useful than things (I’ve done) in the past.” He went on to explain that since his appearance on E.T., a whole other group of people had come forward to welcome him. Bill Melamed, Villard’s manager added: “ “I am particularly proud of him. The reality is, acting is a lousy business. There wasn’t a choice here whether he could have hidden it. Plenty of people have KS, but it’s on their feet. He made a decision that was courageous in any walk of life, but it doesn’t surprise me. He has one of the most open spirits.”.

One of his final roles was playing a Bajoran monk on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

On November 14, 1994, Tom Villard died at the age of 40 of AIDS related pneumonia  He was survived by his parents, Ron and Diane Villard, twin brothers Timothy and Terry, sister Susan, and his partner Scott Chambliss.

As a tribute to him, a non-profit foundation was created by his partner Chambliss, close friend Karen Kaye, and his friend and chiropractor Cheryl Revkin. The Tom Villard Foundation was a Silver Lake community-based effort which engaged local businesses to provide free goods and services for community members living with AIDS. The beneficiaries were the client base of the former Silver Lake AIDS support organization, Being Alive. The Tom Villard Foundation no longer exists. Being Alive is now headquartered in West Hollywood

Tom Villard’s bravery and courage during those dark days as he faced unbeatable odds makes him a true hero. 

Below: Tom Villard on the 1980’s game show Body lanuage

Gay History - October 9th: Johnny Mathis, Billy Graham, and Aileen Wournos and The Lesbian Avengers

Gay History – October 9: Johnny Mathis, Billy Graham, Calls AIDS A Judgement By God, and Aileen Wournos & The Lesbian Avengers

Gay/LGBT History Month - October 9th: Johnny Mathis, Billy Graham Apologizes, and Aileen Wournos and The Lesbian Avengers

October 9th…..

1957: 22-year-old Johnny Mathis sings Chances Are on American Bandstand.  To this date the openly gay Mathis has sold over 350 Million records worldwide.

1993: Following his retirement in 1993, Episcopal Bishop E. Otis Charles became the first Christian bishop to come out of the closet at the age of 67. He served as a bishop of Utah from 1971-1986. He went on to marry Dr. Felipe Sanchez-Paris and become a prominent gay rights activist.

1993:  Rev. Billy Graham apologizes for calling the AIDS epidemic an act of divine judgement by God during a sermon in Columbus, Ohio.

His remarks on AIDS were made in a sermon in Columbus, Ohio during a crusade in late September. A record-breaking crowd of 44,300 in Cooper Stadium heard Graham warn people about falling into disfavor with God because of their sins. He cited sins such as drunkenness and sexual immorality, among others.

‘Is AIDS a judgment of God?’ Graham asked. ‘I could not say for sure, but I think so.’

Graham said later in a telephone interview about his AIDS remark, ‘I don’t believe that and I don’t know why I said it. I do believe God stands in judgment of all sins … but AIDS is a disease that affects people and is not part of that judgment. To say God has judged people with AIDS would be very wrong and very cruel. I would like to say that I am very sorry for what I said.’

He reportedly recanted the statements by saying, “I don’t believe that, and I don’t know why I said it.”

1998: South Africa officially repealed its sodomy law, residual legislation from former Colonial British rule. Originally ruled unconstitutional in May of that year, South Africa’s highest court confirmed the ruling on this date.  South Africa is the continents only gay friendly destination  and was the fifth country in the world, to legalize same-sex marriage.

1998: The Netherlands sanctions adoption by same-sex couples as long as they meet the same criteria required of heterosexual couples.

1998: South Africa Strikes Down Sodomy Law: South Africa’s penal code defined sodomy as a Schedule 1 offense, like murder or rape, and was punishable by life imprisonment. The ruling, written by Judge Lori Ackerman with a concurring ruling by Judge Albie Sachs, held that the current law violated South Africa’s new post-Apartheid 1996 constitution and made South Africa one of the first countries in the world to outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation

1999: Lesbian politician Ulrike Lunacek becomes the first openly gay member of Austrian Parliament, serving with the Austrian Green party. She now serves as a co-President of the Intergroup on LGBT Rights, an organization that works for the rights of LGBT people within the European Parliament..

2002:  Lesbian serial killer Aileen Wournos (7 murders in one year) is executed in Florida. During her trail The Lesbian Avengers  “a direct action group focused on “issues vital to lesbian survival and visibility” in NYC runs a “Free Aileen Wournos” campaign out of NYC’s GLBT Community Center not because Wournos is innocent, but just because she is a woman and a lesbian.

The Lesbian Avengers never recover fully from their loss of credibility over this action.

Anti-Vaxx "Christian Pastor" Bob Enyart, Who Mocked AIDS Victims and Spread COVID Lies, Has Died of.... COVID

Anti-Vaxx “Christian Pastor” Bob Enyart, Who Mocked AIDS Victims and Spread COVID Lies, Has Died of…. COVID

Bob Enyart an infamous anti-gay “Christian Pastor” and radio/cable host and COVIDIOT who during radio preaching career for reading obituaries from people who died of AIDS while playing the Queen song “Another One Bites the Dust” has died of Covid-19.

Enyart’s dearth was made by his ironically named “Real Science Radio” co-host Fred Williams co-host, the FriendlyAtheist reported.

Enyart refused to get a COVID vaccine, and he pushed the false conspiracy theory that researchers “tested these three products [vaccines] on the cells of aborted babies.” Testing vaccines on anything dead wouldn’t work because there would be no blood to deliver the vaccine to the system.”

 Dan Savage tweeted that “teared up” at the news of Enyart’s death:

My friends who died of AIDS were mocked and condemned by this asshole and others like him. Each and every one of my dead friends would’ve been first in line to get vaccinated against HIV to protect themselves and others. AND OTHERS. Not just themselves. And this guy couldn’t be bothered to get vaccinated against COVID even to protect himself. He encouraged others to put themselves at risk. To put others at risk. He was the moral equivalent of some as*hole poking holes in condoms in 1986.”

Raw Story

Enyart bizarrely urged a boycott of COVID-19 vaccines “to further increase social tension and put pressure on the child killers.”  

Yesterday after the news broke of his death “was posted on Enyart’s Facebook page was flooded by hundreds of users posting Queens’s “Another One Bites The Dust .

The page has since been cleaned up and locked for comments.

Gay History – August 28, 1981: The CDC Formally Recognizes AIDS As An “Epidemic”

On June 5, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published it’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), and mentioned cases of a rare lung infection, Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP), in five young, previously healthy, gay men in Los Angeles. All the men have other unusual infections as well, indicating that their immune systems are not working; two have already died by the time the report is published.

After the Associated Press, San Francisco Chronicle, and The New York Times covered the story. doctors from across the U.S. flooded the CDC with reports of similar cases. Because of these reports on July 8th. the CDC established a Task Force on Kaposi’s Sarcoma and Opportunistic Infections (KSOI) to identify risk factors and to develop a case definition for national surveillance.

In a “follow-up” report on August 28, 1981 the CDC formally announced that an extremely rare form of cancer, Kaposi’s Sarcoma (KS), and of pneumonia, Pneumocystis Carinii Pneumonia (PCP), which were showing up at an epidemic rate among gay males. Of the cases reported since January of 1976,  94% of the men whose sexual preference was known were gay and 40% of those cases proved to be fatal. Moreover, the number of cases seems to be increasing. 91% of the cases have occurred since January 1980, and the majority were from New York and California. Even more astonishing is the fact that 10% of patients were reported with both KS and PCP.

By year-end, there was a cumulative total of 270 reported cases of the “Gay cancer,” later called GRIDS (Gay Related Immuno Deficiency) which claimed 121 deaths in the United States.

Since the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, well over 60 million people have contracted HIV and 25 million have died of AIDS-related causes.  And its still not over.

In 2017, 17,803 people were diagnosed with AIDS. In 2016, there were 15,807 deaths among people with diagnosed HIV in the United States.

To date nearly twice as many Americans have died of AIDS as died in the Vietnam War.

Let that sink in for a minute. 

**NOTE:  The term AIDS was coined in 1982. HIV hadn’t been discovered yet, so there was no way to know whether people were sick until they were truly sick. Someone was said to have AIDS if he (and it was mostly men back then) developed one of a long list of opportunistic infections and cancers that don’t occur in people with healthy immune systems. After HIV was discovered and a test became available, being HIV-positive was added to the definition of AIDS.