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This post has been bugging me for some time. By that I mean it needed to be written, but I sure as hell did not want to write it. I watched the Normal Heart on HBO along with everyone else. Man is it powerful. Larry Kramer wrote a great treatise on Reagan and NYC ignoring GRID, which became HIV. As I watched the famous piece played out in front of me, while the performances were brilliant, (even Julia stepped up) I could not help but reflecting on the fact I was seeing yet ANOTHER all white story about beautiful white gay people. Angels in America, Longtime Companion, BENT, The Normal Heart. We have a lot of stories about pretty white boys dying tragically of AIDS. If I were to believe film, theatre and television, I would think that only white gay men die of the disease. Thank God I guess for B.D. Wong making a 3 second appearance in the Normal Heart, it added some color. Yes I know the characters were all real people Larry knew, so they have to be played by all white people in the movie, but it still hit me. Where is my access? Where do I come into this story? I guess I can’t blame Larry for having all white friends. I am sure there were NO black gay people in the arts or social justice in NYC at the time who were infected…
I am not being fair I know. Well, life is not fair and AIDS certainly is not fair, neither is Racism for that matter. Visibility is important, and I tire of the narrative that all gay people are white and the victims are all white. Racism in the LGBTQ community and Homophobia in the black community is well documented. So seeing people who look like me in media is important.
I remember and hold up again and forever Islan Nettles a trans sister who was murdered. Also Mark Carson. LGBTQ people come in more shades than just white, and their lives matter too.
The lives of LGBTQ People of Color are worth just as much as whites. It is time to make sure that is a known fact, instead of my belief and existence. In light of brown folk getting shot all over and the perpetrators getting away with it by the new Jim Crow laws that allow whites to stand their ground and shoot us, I am reminded of a beautiful and sad line from THe Normal Heart:
““Why are they letting us die? Why is no one helping us? And here’s the truth, here’s the answer. They just don’t like us.” – Larry Kramer
I am afraid you are right Larry…