Stories of Stigma
'Mark not only shaped my adolescence, he shaped my ministry because I vowed to welcome all in the Church and celebrate that all — especially those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender — are created in God's image, because my friend Mark was created in God's image!'
'The mom sat down next to him and they began to talk. After a few hours, she left but she returned the next day and the day after that.'
'It's taken me a long time to find forgiveness for them, to not view their deaths as them abandoning me to live with HIV on my own. But in my darkest moments of living with HIV, I've found compassion for them in ways I never thought I would.'
'This/MY generation of artists — and OUR audiences — disappeared. You are standing on our generational, grave like, culturally curtailed, and tribally intrinsic sinkhole.'
'It doesn’t matter whether it has been weeks, months or years. The pain of losing you always pinches me like lightning for a lifetime.'
'We decided to keep Brad’s diagnosis secret so Brad could work as long as possible. It had been hard enough for him to resurrect his career ... He refused to get any medical care for fear of discovery.'
'He was Tanya Ransom, a drag queen. He was Michael Norman, an artist, educator and playwright. And he was a patient. And he was my father.'
'As I moved from fear into love, I visualized darkness turning into something full of light, sparkly and golden, pumping life through my once polluted tunnels, now made into a magical network of veins transmitting healing forgiveness inside of me.'
'Love doesnʼt end based on a test result.'
'He tried to live his life as normally as he could. He even went out to Fire Island, but when his skinny, KS-purpled body entered the pool, everyone else got out. My heart broke again.'
'When the father stepped out of the room and saw me, he hugged me and cried and cried and cried. He was as tall as me and his grief was so vast ... He kept saying his boy was gone.'
'Not only did he change the course of the Broadway musical with his production of A Chorus Line, but the course of my life as well.'
'He drank Diet Dr. Pepper in glass bottles ... used plastic milk containers filled with water as weights ... listened to the Village People’s In the Navy as he combed my hair.'
'When The Brady Bunch first aired in 1969, hiring an openly gay actor as the perfect father of the perfect TV family would not have been possible.'
'I am grateful for how hard she fought to live long enough to help me grow into the almost-woman I was when she died. I will miss her forever.'
'Being told for most of your life that it’s a miracle you are even here is very humbling. It makes you want to treasure the blessings and the failures in life, because at least you’re here to fail or succeed, because there’s so many who aren’t here any longer.'
'She was dying of a terminal illness, already a year into her death march.'
'The death of a brother is like no other death. It is a unique event that can only be likened to an ending of the world.'
'My mom always talked about the incredible smile Manolo had. I like to think he looks down and smiles at a whole new generation that are living their lives loud and proud and open...'
'The stigma is more dangerous than the disease. We still have a lot of fighting to do for the people who don’t have the privilege of cost-effective medication.'
'My dad was in the hospital on the brink of death when we discovered he'd been living a double life ... and that he was infected with AIDS. Three weeks later, we found out he’d infected my mother.'