Tag Archives: #NeverForget

Gay History - July 3, 1981: New York Times Publishes "Rare Cancer Seen In 41 Homosexuals" [Article Included]

Gay History – July 3, 1981: New York Times Publishes “Rare Cancer Seen In 41 Homosexuals” [Article Included]

The day that changed our lives forever.

 Over 40 years ago today on July 3rd. 1981, The New York Times’s published  it’s first article about AIDS headlined: “Rare Cancer Seen in 41 Homosexuals.” (“Gay” had yet to be accepted by The Times’s style manual.) The cancer was Kaposi’s sarcoma, and until then it had seldom been seen in otherwise healthy young men.

The Times article written by LAWRENCE K. ALTMAN, M.D. is considered by most to have been the first mainstream journalistic mention of what later became to be known as AIDS and would later wipe out nearly an entire generation of gay men.

Living in New York City at the time I remember the day that this article was published.  I was working at The Ninth Circle and was at the downstairs bar with Fred Tree the bartender and a friend named Neil Murphy.  We were reading the article and I remember clear as day none of us were really worrying about it.  Because after all you couldn’t catch cancer. Right?

Neil would become one of the many victims of the plague in the years that followed.

That was over 40 years ago now and over 90 percent of my friends from that time in my life are gone.  But they are and never will be forgotten as they will always with me until the day we meet again.

Over 40+ million people have died from AIDS-related illnesses since the start of the epidemic.

There is still no cure.

#NeverForget

 

RARE CANCER SEEN IN 41 HOMOSEXUALS

Doctors in New York and California have diagnosed among homosexual men 41 cases of a rare and often rapidly fatal form of cancer. Eight of the victims died less than 24 months after the diagnosis was made.

The cause of the outbreak is unknown, and there is as yet no evidence of contagion. But the doctors who have made the diagnoses, mostly in New York City and the San Francisco Bay area, are alerting other physicians who treat large numbers of homosexual men to the problem in an effort to help identify more cases and to reduce the delay in offering chemotherapy treatment.

The sudden appearance of the cancer, called Kaposi’s Sarcoma, has prompted a medical investigation that experts say could have as much scientific as public health importance because of what it may teach about determining the causes of more common types of cancer. First Appears in Spots

Doctors have been taught in the past that the cancer usually appeared first in spots on the legs and that the disease took a slow course of up to 10 years. But these recent cases have shown that it appears in one or more violet-colored spots anywhere on the body. The spots generally do not itch or cause other symptoms, often can be mistaken for bruises, sometimes appear as lumps and can turn brown after a period of time. The cancer often causes swollen lymph glands, and then kills by spreading throughout the body.

Doctors investigating the outbreak believe that many cases have gone undetected because of the rarity of the condition and the difficulty even dermatologists may have in diagnosing it.

In a letter alerting other physicians to the problem, Dr. Alvin E. Friedman-Kien of New York University Medical Center, one of the investigators, described the appearance of the outbreak as ”rather devastating.”

Since the beginning of the epidemic, 79.3 million [55.9–110 million] people have been infected with the HIV virus and 36.3 million [27.2–47.8 million] people have died of HIV.

Gay History – April 3, 1959: University of Florida Fires 14 Employees, Expels 50 Students for Being Gay

Forgotten by many, the University of Florida had its own home-grown version of the McCarthy/Cohn Lavender Scares that lasted from 1956 to 1964.

State Sen. Charley E. Johns, who led the Florida Legislative Investigations Committee, popularly known simply as the Johns Committee was launched in 1956 with a mandate to investigate alleged communist links to the NAACP and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The NAACP successfully tied the committee up in several court challenges, so Johns decided to go after a much less organized target: gays and lesbians in the state’s schools, colleges and universities.

In early January, the Miami Herald reported that the committee was “quietly probing reports of homosexuality at the University of Florida”. Nearly three months later, Dr. Wayne Reitz, president of the University of Florida in Gainesville, announced that 14 academic and non-academic employees of the university had been dismissed as a result of the Johns Committee investigation witch hunt.

“Action has also been taken with respect to the few students involved,” Reitz said in a statement. He declined to disclose the names of those dismissed, and added, “I want to emphasize that there is no reason to believe that the extent of homosexual conduct at the University of Florida is unique and that other public institutions have any lesser problem. This conclusion is expressed in the legislative investigation committee confidential report. Certainly this statement neither condones such activities nor alters our firm position in taking action whenever we develop adequate evidence.”

Little was known about the Johns Committee’s activities until records became available under Florida’s newly enacted open records law in 1993. Those records revealed that Johns had sent two investigators to the University of Florida during the summer of 1958. By October, the investigator found very little evidence of anything going on, but boasted in a report that he found “a considerable homosexual operation” on campus that deserved further investigation. Having gotten the go-ahead, the investigators began hiring student informants and used highway patrolmen to remove professors and individual students from classrooms for interrogation. Most of what they got was rumor and innuendo. One student identified professors “by observing them in class… the way they act… nothing specific. Another student named a professor because he wore Bermuda shorts on campus.

Students were also caught up in the witch hunt. Some students accused of homosexuality were allowed to remain on campus, but only if they visited the infirmary and submitted themselves to psychiatric treatment through the duration of their time on campus. In violation of privacy laws, clinic personnel were required to turn over information from patients records. Nearly fifty students wound up being dismissed.

One professor, Sigismond Diettrich, chair of the geography department of the University of Florida, attempted suicide after being investigated by the committee.

In February 1959, Reitz received a 1900-page confidential report titled, “Crimes against Nature at the University of Florida.” That report led to the firing of fourteen employees. At the end of April, the committee summarized the report during a closed-door session of the state Senate. In response, the legislature extended the committee’s mandate for two more years so it could “investigate any agitator who may appear in Florida.”

The state legislature ended funding for the committee in 1964 after it released a report called Homosexuality and Citizenship in Florida, which infamously became known as the “Purple Pamphlet” (see below). Its many photographs depicting homosexual acts outraged legislators and reportedly copies of the report were being sold as pornography in New York City.

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Homosexuality and Citizenship in Florida


	
World AIDS Day 2019 - Remembering Those We Lost

World AIDS Day 2020 – Remembering Those We Lost: The AIDS Memorial Quilt

World AIDS Day 2016: View The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt Online

In June of 1987, a small group of strangers gathered in a San Francisco storefront to document the lives they feared history would neglect. Their goal was to create a memorial for those who had died of AIDS, and to thereby help people understand the devastating impact of the disease. This meeting of devoted friends and lovers served as the foundation of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt.

The idea for the AIDS Quilt was conceived in November of 1985 by long-time San Francisco gay rights activist Cleve Jones. Jones after learning that over 1,000 San Franciscans had been lost to AIDS. He asked each of his fellow marchers to write on placards the names of friends and loved ones who had died.  Jones and others stood on ladders taping these placards to the walls of the San Francisco Federal Building. The wall of names looked like a patchwork quilt.

Jones and friends made plans for a larger memorial. A little over a year later, he created the first panel for the AIDS Memorial Quilt in memory of his friend Marvin Feldman.  Response to the Quilt was immediate. People in the U.S. cities most affected by AIDS — Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco — sent panels to the San Francisco workshop. Generous donors rapidly supplied sewing machines, equipment and other materials, and many volunteered tirelessly.

The mission of the AIDS Memorial Quilt Archive Project is to preserve the powerful images and stories of our fallen brothers and sisters and expand our AIDS awareness and HIV prevention education efforts.

To date all more than 50,000  hand-crafted 3-by-6 panels commemorating the lives of more than 105,000 people who died of AIDS or related illnesses creating a moving and permanent visual record of the AIDS pandemic.

Last month  it was announced that AIDS Memorial Quilt is returning home to San Francisco and will be housed at the  to the National AIDS Memorial in San Francisco.

God bless all our fallen they will be in our hearts and our memories  now and always.

Image result for AIDS Memorial quilt

GAY HISTORY- September 20, 1996: The Day Bill Clinton Sold Out The Gay Community And Signed DOMA Into Law

September 20, 1996:

On this day in 1996, then President Bill Clinton announced his signing of the Defense of Marriage Act, which outlawed federal recognition of same-sex marriage, and which allowed the Federal Government to ignore the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S Constitution and refuse to recognized valid marriages from other states. Clinton said that he signed DOMA to head off a federal constitutional amendment, but LGBT advocates and many in the political pundits agree  that the act was less than a defense against a federal constitutional amendment and more a defense of his 1996 re-election campaign. Those suspicions were confirmed when the Clinton released a campaign ad in 15 Christian radio stations  in conservative states boasting that he had signed the Defense of Marriage Act. After being found out and because of the response to loud protests from LGBT advocates, the Clinton campaign pulled that ad two days later.

In March of 2013 , Bill Clinton finally disavowed the Defense of Marriage Act entirely, urging that the law be overturned by the Supreme Court.

According to Hillary Clinton in 2915:

On Defense of Marriage [Act], I think what my husband believed — and there was certainly evidence to support it — is that there was enough political momentum to amend the Constitution of the United States of America, and that there had to be some way to stop that. And there wasn’t any rational argument — because I was in on some of those discussions, on both ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ and on DOMA, where both the president, his advisers and occasionally I would — you know, chime in and talk about, ‘You can’t be serious. You can’t be serious.’ But they were. And so, in a lot of ways, DOMA was a line that was drawn that was to prevent going further. It was a defensive action.”

A review of congressional record and news coverage from 1996 found little public evidence that Democratic lawmakers decided to vote for DOMA because of a threat of a constitutional amendment.

Elizabeth Birch, former head of the Human Rights Campaign who fought against DOMA, said the actual threat of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage came after President George W. Bush took office and vowed to reserve marriage for heterosexual unions. There was not, at the time, a kind of concentrated threat of a constitutional amendment. That came four years later.”

Birch and many others have always said that President Clinton’s support for DOMA was a defensive move in that he wanted to “take it out of play for the 1996 election”

In fact Bill Clinton campaigned using DOMA as a re-election tool and ran a controversial radio ad that touted his signing of the Defense of Marriage Act which aired on Christian radio stations in several states

Fast forward to present day.

“President Clinton has evolved on this issue just like every American has evolved,” said Human Rights Campaign, President Chad Griffin. 

Which bears the comment that if he was really against it at the time why would he have to “evolve”.

A little trivia for those who don’t know. Chad Griffin worked as White House Press Office manager  for Mr. Clinton’s White House administration during the time that Clinton  signed of DOMA. 

It took the gay community almost 20 years and countless millions of dollars to undo the harm that Bill Clinton did by signing DOMA into law.

Clinton has never formally apologized for signing the Defense of Marriage Act into law.