This weekend is Gay Pride in San Francisco. It's not a weekend any more, it's a month now. Pride month. For some people in the city it's a big deal, for others, it's really not because everyday is a day in which they have freedom & pride surrounding their sexuality, no matter what it is. That's in part thanks to the Life Magazine article that came out (no pun intended) in 1964, if memory serves me correctly. I'm not gay, there, I said it, I'm straight. I don't think I'll ever talk about this again in a blog. It's too personal.
Anyway, I was discussing health issues with a gentleman I know and he was telling me about that he moved to San Francisco in 1981 and how things were so different then. I love to talk to people who've been here longer than the 10 years that I have. Their perspective is pretty unique if they were living in The Castro in the 1980's. I was telling him about the essay by Frances Fitzgerald that appeared in The New Yorker & then in her book Cities on a Hill. To me, it is one of the most emotionally evocative pieces of literature that I've ever read. The gentleman I was talking with doesn't need to read it because he lived it.
I had my students read the piece in a San Francisco Literature course that I taught. Most of them were young and had been raised with the idea of "safe-sex" and condoms, and AIDS. Fitzgerald takes us back to the time before they named the disease, when fear surrounded part of the population and denial surrounded the rest. If you have seen And the Band Played On , (okay movie is based on Randy Shilts' book) if you've seen the PBS documentaries on the AIDS epidemic, but have never read anything about the issue, let me suggest Fitzgerald's article. If you subscribe to The New Yorker you can read it online, you can follow the link above and purchase her book, or better yet, support your local, independent bookseller. So, whatever you do this weekend, enjoy your freedom as a starter celebration for The Fourth of July in a couple of weeks.
Causes Katherine McWilliams Supports
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation jdrf.org Macula Vision Research Foundation mvrf.org Washington Office on Latin America wola.org/juarez