Larry Kramer is a writer and activist, and a founder of Gay Men’s Health Crisis and Act Up. Volume Two of his “The American People” is forthcoming.
I know I’m lucky to be alive. I have fought very hard to get here. I have had a liver transplant. I’ve lived long enough to see an anti-retroviral therapy became available. I have been able to legally marry the man I’ve loved for many years.
Why then do I still feel so destitute and abandoned? Surely all gay people fall into the same category as I.
I know I am getting closer to death and this frightens me. I still have too much work to do. I know one is meant to wake up each day with the positive thought of gratitude that I’m still here for another day. But I wake up each day and realize that I am sad.
I am constantly being thanked, even by people in the street stopping me, for what I have done to save my people. Such thanks make me uncomfortable. I don’t think I have done anything that any gay person could not also have done. Throughout the worst of these plague years we had at the most only several thousand of us fighting all over the country. Out of some 20 million or so of us.
Act Up, one of the organizations I helped start, fought for the drugs to save us, and we got them. (Drugs, I might add, that have many side effects and are prohibitively expensive.) Once we got the life-extending medicines, most of my fellow warriors returned to their lives of trying to be happy, and invisible.
I have never been able to answer one question: Why have relatively few of us — out of so many millions — been willing to fight for their lives? I still can’t answer it and I continue to be very sad because of it. And the biggest fight for our lives is ahead of us. Read more via the New York Times