Tag Archives: Larry Kramer

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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March 10, 1987: ACT UP (The AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) Is Formed In NYC

Gay History – March 10, 1987: ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) Is Formed In NYC [VIDEOS]

On March 10, 1987 – ACT UP (The AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) was effectively formed at the Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center in New York when Larry Kramer was asked to speak as part of a rotating speaker series. His well-attended speech focused on action to fight AIDS. Kramer spoke out against the Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), which he perceived as politically impotent in the fight against AIDS. Kramer who had co-founded the GMHC had resigned from its board of directors in 1983.

ACT UP was organized as a leaderless. This was intentional on Larry Kramer’s part: he describes it as “democratic to a fault.” It followed a committee structure with each committee reporting to a coordinating committee meeting once a week. Actions and proposals were generally brought to the coordinating committee and then to the floor for a vote, but this wasn’t required – any motion could be brought to a vote at any time. Gregg Bordowitz, an early member, said of the process:

This is how grassroots, democratic politics work. To a certain extent, this is how democratic politics is supposed to work in general. You convince people of the validity of your ideas. You have to go out there and convince people.

Although Larry Kramer is often labeled the first “leader” of ACT UP, as the group matured, those people that regularly attended meetings and made their voice heard became conduits through which smaller “affinity groups” would present and organize their ideas. Leadership changed hands frequently and suddenly.

Below is a chronological account of some of New York ACT UP actions are drawn from Douglas Crimp’s history of ACT UP, the ACT UP Oral History Project, and the online Capsule History of ACT UP, New York

WALL STREET:  On March 24, 1987, 250 ACT UP members demonstrated at Wall Street and Broadway to demand greater access to experimental AIDS drugs and for a coordinated national policy to fight the disease. An Op/Ed article by Larry Kramer published in the New York Times the previous day described some of the issues ACT UP was concerned with. Seventeen ACT UP members were arrested during this civil disobedience.

On March 24, 1988, ACT UP returned to Wall Street for a larger demonstration in which over 100 people were arrested.

On September 14, 1989, seven ACT UP members infiltrated the New York Stock Exchange and chained themselves to the VIP balcony to protest the high price of the only approved AIDS drug, AZT.

GENERAL POST OFFICE:  ACT UP held their next action at the New York City General Post Office on the night of April 15, 1987, to an audience of people filing last minute tax returns. This event also marked the beginning of the conflation of ACT UP with the Silence=Death Project, which created a poster consisting of a right side up pink triangle (an upside-down pink triangle was used to mark gays in Nazi concentration camps) on a black background with the text “SILENCE = DEATH”.

FDA:  On October 11, 1988, ACT UP had one of its most successful demonstrations (both in terms of size and in terms of national media coverage) when it successfully shut down the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for a day. Media reported that it was the largest such demonstration since demonstrations against the Vietnam War.

The AIDS activists shut down the large facility by blocking doors, walkways and a road as FDA workers reported to work. Police told some workers to go home rather than wade through the throng.

“Hey, hey, FDA, how many people have you killed today?” chanted the crowd, estimated by protest organizers at between 1,100 and 1,500. The protesters hoisted a black banner that read “Federal Death Administration”.

Police officers, wearing surgical gloves and helmets, started rounding up the hundreds of demonstrators and herding them into buses shortly after 8:30 a.m. Some protesters blocked the buses from leaving for 20 minutes.

Authorities arrested at least 120 protesters, and demonstration leaders said they were aiming for 300 arrests by day’s end.

COSMOPOLITAN MAGAZINE: In January 1988, Cosmopolitan magazine published an article by Robert E. Gould, a psychiatrist, entitled “Reassuring News About AIDS: A Doctor Tells Why You May Not Be At Risk.” The main contention of the article was that in unprotected vaginal sex between a man and a woman who both had “healthy genitals” the risk of HIV transmission was negligible, even if the male partner was infected. Women from ACT UP who had been having informal “dyke dinners” met with Dr. Gould in person, questioning him about several misleading facts (that penis to vagina transmission is impossible, for example) and questionable journalistic methods (no peer review, bibliographic information, failing to disclose that he was a psychiatrist and not a practitioner of internal medicine), and demanded a retraction and apology. When he refused, in the words of Maria Maggenti, they decided that they “had to shut down Cosmo.” According to those who were involved in organizing the action, it was significant in that it was the first time the women in ACT UP organized separately from the main body of the group. Additionally, filming the action itself, the preparation and the aftermath were all consciously planned and resulted in a video short directed by Jean Carlomusto and Maria Maggenti, titled, “Doctor, Liars, and Women: AIDS Activists Say No To Cosmo.” The action consisted of approximately 150 activists protesting in front of the Hearst building (parent company of Cosmopolitan) chanting “Say no to Cosmo!” and holding signs with slogans such as “Yes, the Cosmo Girl CAN get AIDS!

“STOP THE CHURCH”:  ACT UP disagreed with Cardinal John Joseph O’Connor on the Roman Catholic Archdiocese’s public stand against safe sex education in New York City Public Schools, condom distribution, the Cardinal’s public views on homosexuality, as well as Catholic opposition to abortion. This led to the first Stop the Church protest on December 10, 1989, at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York.  In December 1989, approximately 4,500 protesters mobilized by ACT-UP and WHAM! gathered outside a mass at the cathedral. A few dozen activists entered the cathedral, interrupted Mass, chanted slogans, or lay down in the aisles.] One protester broke a communion wafer and threw it to the floor. One-hundred and eleven protesters were arrested.[23] Only minor charges were filed, punished primarily by community service sentences; some protestors who refused the sentences were tried, but did not serve jail time.

DAY OF DESPERATION:  On January 22, 1991, during Operation Desert Storm, ACT UP activist John Weir and two other activists entered the studio of the CBS Evening News at the beginning of the broadcast. They shouted “AIDS is news. Fight AIDS, not Arabs!” and Weir stepped in front of the camera before the control room cut to a commercial break. The same night ACT UP demonstrated at the studios of the MacNeil/Lehrer Newshour. The next day activists displayed banners in Grand Central Terminal that said “Money for AIDS, not for war” and “One AIDS death every 8 minutes.” One of the banners was handheld and displayed across the train timetable and the other attached to bundles of balloons that lifted it up to the ceiling of the station’s enormous main room. These actions were part of a coordinated protest called and mass marches throughout America.  Many demonstrators were arrested and, as they and their fellow activists would continue to be throughout the years, subjected to police brutality, as well as anti gay verbal and physical harassment.

ACT UP chapters still exists today. By the early 21st century ACT UP had more than 70 chapters around the world and had expanded its vision to include an end to the worldwide AIDS crisis. It has been argued that their efforts radically changed the way the world saw the AIDS crisis and the power of the gay rights movement.

Watch the videos below and look closely.  THIS is what REAL activism looks like.

READ: AIDS Activist Peter Staley's Emotionally Raw Eulogy for Larry Kramer

READ: AIDS Activist Peter Staley’s Emotionally Raw Remembrance Larry Kramer

Longtime AIDS activist Peter Staley knew Larry Kramer quite well. Both were influential members of ACT UP — Kramer being one of the group’s co founders — and Staley would later go on to leave ACT UP to launch another HIV organization, the Treatment Action Group (TAG) in January 1992.

On Wednesday Staley wrote his remembrances of Kramer shortly after his death was announced. Despite disagreements and tensions between the two men, Staley makes clear that while not perfect, Kramer was the “spark” that pushed the government and pharmaceutical industry to take action against the disease.

I was just a kid when I walked into my first ACT UP meeting, just weeks after Larry Kramer’s movement-launching speech in March of ’87. I hadn’t heard about the speech. I didn’t even know who he was. But I would hear of it soon enough. Larry’s life became part of the steep learning curve I desperately climbed that year.

We were all kids, except for Larry, Maxine, and a few others. He even called us “my kids.” I tried to grab a seat close to him at Woody’s after Monday night meetings, where ACT UP’s most committed members would stay up late, deconstructing the meeting, debating our future, and dishing the group’s gossip over many beers.

Those moments were the happiest I’ve ever seen him. He was finally witnessing the community he dreamed of. He loved our youthful energy and picking our brains. For me and many others, Larry became a father figure, asking about our lives, setting us up on dates — my relationship and lifelong friendship with Kevin Sessums was because of Larry — and genuinely caring about our struggles and fears.

Those moments were the happiest I’ve ever seen him. He was finally witnessing the community he dreamed of. He loved our youthful energy and picking our brains. For me and many others, Larry became a father figure, asking about our lives, setting us up on dates — my relationship and lifelong friendship with Kevin Sessums was because of Larry — and genuinely caring about our struggles and fears.

We forget that ACT UP was born six years into the crisis. Six lost years, as the country and its president ignored a new virus that was slaughtering a community they despised. Larry told us to fight back. In short order, we guilt-tripped an entire nation of people and two Republican presidents to react. By 1990, the AIDS research budget at the NIH hit one billion dollars a year.

It was a movement that caused that sudden shift, but Larry was its spark. Those tax dollars resulted in treatments that keep 25 million people with HIV alive today.

When TAG split off from ACT UP in ’92, our relationship took its first of many blows. But by then, we had too much shared history to turn our backs on. Too many meetings. Too many phone calls. Too many shared losses. A deep well of mutual respect set in. Even though we both came to view each other as deeply flawed, the respect remained.

He accused me of “destroying ACT UP,” and for not being angry enough in the years since. I accused him of being woefully out of touch. By the early 90s, he was a broken record that’s been skipping ever since. He never understood science, which became a prerequisite for effective AIDS activism. He was a borderline conspiracy theorist. The clarity of vision he had in the 80s turned into a blindness of sorts, especially around the remarkable progress younger LGBTQ Americans have fought for and won.

Even his early legacy became muddied for me over time. There were two Larry’s back then. The first deserves every statute that gets built in his honor — the Larry who used anger to launch the two main branches of our community’s AIDS response, the beautiful self-care response that Gay Men’s Health Crisis valiantly built while the world looked away, and the activist response that forced that same world to look, and respond.

The second Larry was the moralist whose finger-wagging, like all finger-wagging, brought adulation from other moralists, but had no effect on the rest of us. AIDS was not a price we paid for finally building communities of freedom on both coasts. There have been only two sexually transmitted pathogens in all of human history that have killed in the millions — syphilis and HIV — and they hit us 500 years apart. AIDS was not an inevitable result of gay life in the 1970s. As an epidemiological event, it was simply bad luck.

To this day, gay men carry the added burden of a society that sexually shames us. Larry played a part in this. To be fair, most of this critique is inside baseball. To the larger world, Larry was our community’s greatest advocate. He constantly told straight America that his gay brothers and sisters were the most beautiful people on earth. He pushed back against the hate directed at us like no advocate before him. Larry loved gay people, and spent his entire life fighting for us.

I just got off the phone with Tony Fauci. I broke the news to him via text earlier today. We’re both surprised how hard this is hitting. We both cried on the call.

I’ve told Larry to fuck-off so many times over the last thirty years that I didn’t expect to break down sobbing when he died. His husband David kept the recent hospitalization under wraps, not wanting to deal with a million phone calls. I found out only last week, and only after Larry was doing much better. As of Saturday, he was still improving. I only heard this morning that everything spiraled in the last 48 hours.

Larry’s timing couldn’t be worse. The community he loved can’t come together — as only we can — in a jam-packed room, to remember him. We can’t cry as one and hear our community’s most soaring words, with arms draped on shoulders in loving support. Broadway has no lights to dim, which it surely would have.

Can we please do this next year?

Fuck, this hurts. I keep flashing back to those early ACT UP meetings. I put on a good show, always in mission-mode. But the more I’ve written about those years, the more I’ve remembered how scared I was — diagnosed when I was 24 years old. It was all bottled up, but I was terrified. Those meetings gave me the only hope I could find back then. Larry orchestrated the launch of ACT UP. He plotted with Eric Sawyer and others, planting calls for a new group during the Q&A after his speech.

Larry Kramer founded a movement, and I’m alive because of that. Millions more can say the same. All his faults fade away in the wake of our thanks.

READ: AIDS Activist Peter Staley's Emotionally Raw Eulogy for Larry Kramer

READ: Larry Kramer’s FULL Speech “CURE” Given at the Gay Men’s Health Crisis – March 23, 2015

Larry Kramer

 

THIRTY-FOUR YEARS. HIV/AIDS has been our plague for 34 years. We should have known more about this plague by now. 34 years is a very long time to let people die.

I think more and more about evil. I believe in evil. I believe evil is an act, intentional or not, of inflicting undeserved harm on others. Genocide is such an act. I believe genocide is being inflicted upon gay people.

Genocide is the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or ethnic group. Such as gay people. Such as people of color. To date, around the world, an estimated 78 million people have become infected, 39 million of whom have died. When we first became acquainted with HIV there were 41 cases.

The main difference between the Larry Kramer who helped to start Gay Men’s Health Crisis in his living room in 1982 and ACT UP in 1987 and the Larry Kramer who stands before you now is that I no longer have any doubt that our government is content, via sins of omission or commission, to allow the extermination of my homosexual population to continue unabated.

It is talk like this that got the original GMHC board to boot me off and out.

It is also talk like this that enabled ACT UP to succeed in getting us our own treatments. These treatments are not good enough but have been good enough to extend our lives. Unfortunately they still come with side effects and they reward their greedy manufacturers with more money than they would make locating the cure that would end this plague.

GMHC was my first child and its rejection was very painful. The original ACT UP self-destructed, which was also a painful experience. Once there were treatments, the desire to act up managed to evaporate rather quickly. This greatest achievement ever facilitated by the gay population—we actually went out there and got our own medicines — then decamped, now that we had a drug that would allow us to do what we did and live the lives that got us in trouble in the first place. The remnants of ACT UP, my second child, is a painful place for me to see now.

Thirty-four years is a long time for pharmaceutical manufacturers to operate in such an evil system.

Thirty-four years is a long time for every President and every Congress to sit back and let us die.

Thirty-four years is a long time for Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is in charge of AIDS research, to watch his and our President and his and our Congress and their National Institutes of Health let us die.

Allowing people to die is evil and genocidal.

We should have had more in 35 years.

These are not what most people would call bad people. But these heterosexuals are not people who are losing any sleep over the death of so many millions of people.

I no longer hear the word “cure” from the remnants of ACT UP or it’s spin-off Treatment Action Group, TAG, or from anyone in our health care establishment starting with Dr. Fauci. I certainly don’t hear it from anyone in Congress or the White House. Dr. Robert Gallo said a few weeks ago that AIDS will kill far more people than Ebola ever will.

Thus what an irony to be asked back into the arms of my first child, GMHC. Just when a new executive director, Kelsey Louie, who feels and says much the same as I did and do, has taken over.

Kelsey said to me, “It has become clear to me that GMHC has every reason to be more aggressive on all fronts—especially in our public remarks.” Oh, it’s a new world at GMHC, one that I tried to start, and Kelsey Louie is very smart and caring and courageous and I congratulate the board for choosing him to be your new leader. “Many are saying that they are happy to see life back in GMHC,” board chair Roberta Kaplan, our great lesbian lawyer who secured a major marriage victory from the Supreme Court, said when she asked me to come back and I accepted.

Kelsey said the words that won over my acceptance. “We must aspire to a cure once and for all. Let’s demand a cure and a society that values people with HIV enough to pay for it. Only if we aspire to more can we demand more. Only if we demand more will we get more.”

My first child sounds like a chip off the old block. I salute him and all of you for being here to join me in supporting Kelsey and his and our new GMHC. The power to change history is still within our grasp. We cannot wait another 34 years. This evil still being waged against us must cease. The battle cry now must be one word: CURE. CURE. CURE.

Allowing people to die is evil and genocidal.

Yes, I believe in evil.

78 million people have become infected, 39 million have died.

I no longer hear the word “cure” from anyone.

It is time to hear it from everyone. Led by GMHC. We demand a cure!

 

HBO Films Releases Teaser Trailer for “The Normal Heart” – Video

Normal Heart

The Normal Heart is a largely autobiographical 1985 play by Larry Kramer which debuted Off-Broadway and now, almost 30 years later been adapted for the screen by HBO Films.

It focuses on the rise of the HIV-AIDS crisis in New York City between 1981 and 1984, as seen through the eyes of writer/activist Ned Weeks (Mark Ruffalo), the gay Jewish-American founder of a prominent HIV advocacy group. Ned prefers loud public confrontations to the calmer, more private strategies favored by his associates, friends, and closeted lover Felix Turner (Matt Bomer), none of whom is prepared to throw himself into the media spotlight. Their differences of opinion lead to frequent arguments that threaten to undermine their mutual goal.

After The Normal Heart finally opened on Broadway in 2011, Larry Kramer personally passed out a dramaturgical flyer detailing some of the real stories behind the play’s characters. Kramer wrote that the character “Bruce” was based on Paul Popham, the president of the GMHC from 1981 until 1985; “Tommy” was based on Rodger McFarlane, who was executive director of GMHC and a founding member of ACT UP and Broadway Cares; and “Emma’ was modeled after Dr. Linda Laubenstein, who treated some of the first New York cases of what was later known as AIDS. Like “Ned,” Kramer himself helped to found several AIDS-activism groups, including Gay Men’s Health Crisis(GMHC) and AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP), and indeed experienced personal conflict with his lawyer brother, Arthur.

 

TRIVIA:  On the day The Normal Heart opened in 1985, a spokesman for The New York Times addressed statements in the play about the newspaper’s failure to give the disease adequate coverage. He said that as soon as The Times became aware of AIDS, it assigned a member of the science staff to cover the story, and his article appeared on July 3, 1981, making The Times “one of the first – if not the first – national news media to alert the public to the scientific recognition and spread of the disease.” He also cited a later full-length report in The New York Times Magazine about recent discoveries made by researchers. When asked about his negative portrayal in The Normal Heart, former New York City Mayor (and infamous closet case)  Ed Koch said through a spokesman, “I haven’t seen the play. But I hope it’s as good as As Is, which is superb.”

Longtime Activist Larry Kramer Talks About Whats Missing In Gay Activism Today

In an interview appearing over at MetroWeekly.  Chris Geidner sat down with , longtime gay activist, novelist, playwright and co-founder of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis Larry Kramer and as only Larry could do, he let it all out about what he believes wrong with “gay activism” today.

Here are  some excerpts of what Larry says:

I remember in ACT UP, everything was so bad all the time that we just sort of had to make it up as we went along, what we were going to do. Because today’s emergency wasn’t necessarily tomorrow’s emergency, or the other way around. People who were in one job one day weren’t there the next, and you were constantly having to educate people.

People always ask me, ”What was it like?” I don’t look back. I look to today and to what we still have to do in the days to come. What we achieved in the past has always been haphazard and more often by luck than by skill……

I know that there’s a lot more sympathy for Obama than I’m prepared to show him. We still haven’t got these things, you know. I don’t consider ”Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” some major victory. It’s a small, dishonest political move that Clinton did to enchain us, and it’s been unknotted. But it’s for a very small percentage of us. Everybody acts as if it’s a major thing for all of us, and it isn’t. And he knows that. It’s been a small gift he’s given us to throw us a bone. The big gifts, he’s not giving us – no one’s giving us. And that hurts. I don’t see that changing…….

I think we should have learned by now that this “pebble at a time” attempt to make right is just that. They’re pebbles. We need bricks. Until we’re ready to throw bricks, we’re not going to get anywhere. You can name any kinds of wonderful things [HRC has] done, but they still have not changed the basic problem: We are not equal. We do not have equality. They do not look at the big picture, they look at the small picture. As does every other gay person, who is just happy to go home at night and go back into their state of denials.

It’s a very, very passive population, and that is our great tragedy. I love being gay, I love gays. It hurts me to say this. These are all lessons that I’ve learned painfully since 1981, but until we learn to fight back we get what we deserve.

BRAVO LARRY KRAMER!

The interview at MetroWeekly is one of the most forthright, honest and brillant interviews I have seen with Kramer

Bravo Chris Geitner, MetroWeekly and Larry Kramer

PLEASE head over to METROWEEKLY and read the entire interview.

Larry Kramer is a gay hero and in my opinion 100 percent correct and we all should listen to his words. 

And on that note I would like to leave you with what Kramer says about the Human Rights Campaign:

KRAMER: I think HRC is the dregs. I think it’s the toilet of the gay movement…..What more can be said? I find them useless, and I find them perpetuating con jobs on all of us. Ass-kissers extraordinaire.

TESTIFY!

Legendary Gay Activist Larry Kramer Speaks At Fire Island Pines, Calls Obama A “Wuss” On LGBT Issues

Larry Kramer the legendary American playwright, author, public health advocate, and LGBT rights activist who has devoted his life to the cause of LGBT equality returned to the Blue Whale in Fire Island Pines where he spoke about his life, career and activism.

Kramer’s 1978 book “Faggots” (which if you haven’t read I highly recommend)  chronicled the fast lifestyle of gay men of Fire Island and Manhattan in the late 70’s who look for love while encountering the drugs and emotionless sex in the trendy bars and discos. 

The novel caused an uproar in the community it portrayed; it was taken off the shelves of the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookstore—New York’s only gay bookstore, and Kramer was banned from the grocery store near his home on Fire Island.  Reviewers found it difficult to believe that Kramer’s accounts of gay relationships were accurate; both the gay and mainstream press panned the book. On the reception of the novel Kramer says, “The straight world thought I was repulsive, and the gay world treated me like a traitor. People would literally turn their back when I walked by. You know what my real crime was? I put the truth in writing. That’s what I do: I have told the fucking truth to everyone I have ever met.” Faggots, however, became one of the best-selling gay novels of all time.

The outspoken 77 year old Kramer also co-founded the Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), which has become the largest private organization to assist people living with AIDS in the world and was was the catalyst in the founding of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP).

Kramer not only talked about the past weighed in on more contemporary gay issues-including the passage of New York’s marriage equality law on June 24. “I don’t think we have gay marriage in New York,” he said. “We have feel good gay marriages in New York. The only marriage that makes any sense is a federal marriage.” (And like it or not out there he does have a point.)

Kramer described President Barack Obama as a “wuss” for his stance towards LGBT issues.

“He says all the right things and he doesn’t do it,” said Kramer

Kramer also talked about his accomplishments and the current problems that face the LGBT community when it comes to what he describes as an ongoing complacency among gay people: “I don’t think I do anything that is special,” he said. “I use my brains. I use my voice and I point out the things I want. I am gay. I am proud to be gay and I want everybody else to feel that. And I don’t always see that.”

Love him or hate him Larry Kramer is a true LGBT hero.  He stood up and fought through the darkest days days that our community have ever faced and still at his age speaks out more than those who are younger and who’s future is in jepardy

Click here to order Faggots from Amazon.com

Larry Kramer Inspires At Demonstration: "Our rights are denied us. Our love is denied us. We are even denied the right to fight for our country. How long must we be denied all of this before we truly rise up in united anger! "

Mike Petrelis over at the Peterlis Files did a great piece overnight on Larry Kramer who gave a spEech tonight at a demonstration  against President Obama’s sloooow course of action on HIV/AIDS issues.

Kramer, the original angry gay activist not only spoke about the horrendously state of HIV/AIDS actions and inactions that have taken place in America but also spoke from the heart about us,  The LGBT Community and how we have been denied and abused and treated like doormats and have allowed it.

It’s a great  speech. Worthy of Harvey himself.  And one well worth reading, taking to heart and moving on.

“Obama is not my president. Obama is not your president. Obama does not like AIDS. Obama does not like gays. Now what are we going to do about it? Because we continue to sit on the sidelines while our world is denied us, yes, our world, which is as much our world as anyone else’s, is denied us. Our rights are denied us. Our love is denied us. We are even denied the right to fight for our country. How long must we be denied all of this before we truly rise up in united anger!

Why is it always so hard for us to fight back? This man does not like us. When someone does not like you, you fight back. This Obama who is not my president and not your president obviously does not like us. It is not a secret. Day after day and week after week and month after month he tells us he does not like us. He tells us! He does not keep this a secret. His government does not like us. His chief of staff does not like us. His Attorney General does not like us. His Department of Justice does not like us. His Generals do not like us. His Department of Health and Human Services does not like us. This is not a new situation for us. President after President have treated us so badly. Ronald Reagan. George Bush the first. Bill Clinton. George Bush the second. Barack Obama. They have all treated us like… shit. Like little pieces of shit that they can step on with their heels and grind into the ground. Obama is treating us just like that. Like little pieces of shit he can grind into the dirt with his heel to make us go away. I wish you could see that. I wish you could see what he is doing to us for for what it is. He is manipulating us into invisibility. He HAS manipulated us into invisibility. Our people in Washington live in a never-never cloud cuckoo-land, thinking that this man likes us, not responding as, little by little, he take bits and pieces of us away. That is how they control us. Can’t you see that? Why can’t our people in Washington see that? They give them a dinner as they take away another right.

How long are we going to allow ourselves to be treated with such disdain, to be cast way in such an unwanted and disposable and ignoble fashion?

We forget what miracles we once were able to accomplish. Every single treatment for HIV/AIDS is out there because of us. If they are out there because of us, why can’t all the people waiting for Ryan White meds get them? Why can’t over 90% of the rest of the world get them? We did not fight for them just for ourselves. So many dead young men fought as activists for those drugs to save the world and this Obama will not let them save the world. Little by little he takes away our Ryan White drugs in America and our PEPFAR drugs for the rest of the world and our AIDS organizations and clinics everywhere so he can grind even more people with his heel into the earth like little helpless smelly pieces of shit. Yes, this man, like all his rotten hateful predecessors treats us like shit.

I am so tired of being treated like shit.

I wish you could realize that my words and my language and my vocabulary are not too strong. They are not strong enough!

I beg of us all. Re-assemble! Re-unite! Fight back once more with the passion and honor and truth and unity and brotherhood as we once did. We once accomplished miracles. Why do we not recall our glorious fights and build anew upon them? They treat us like shit because we let them treat us like shit. When will we get that into our heads and hearts and fight back?

How effective and fierce and unstoppable we can be when we take action together. The only reason we got those drugs is because of direct action, mobilization, fighting back. That is the reality of what we have been able to accomplish. We are alive, for those of us who are still alive, because we saved ourselves! When we fought back rudely and together, we were able to achieve miraculous victories. I take these victories, as do many of you, every morning with my breakfast.

This Obama president made a commitment to ensure that America does its fair share to fight AIDS, in Africa, in America, and around the world. He has broken that promise. He, like Clinton, has lied to us. He does not like us, this president, as the other presidents did not like us. We are not a part of their American People. He does not want us to get married, he does not want us to fight for our country, he does not want to end the plague of AIDS.

We must have the presence of mind and the force of character to insist that he and his society are wrong and we are right.

Do you need to know any more than this? This is all you need to know. And that once upon a time we accomplished miracles.

Can we do it again? Oh, please, can we do it again?”

YES WE FUCKING CAN!

STAND UP AND FIGHT BROTHERS AND SISTERS!