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29 April 2011, 2:00 pm 31 Comments

History: An Open Letter to Larry Kramer

Submission J. Ricky Price, TNG contributor

J Ricky Price is a PhD Student studying Queer Politics at the New School for Social Research.

c. David Shankbone

***

Dear Mr. Kramer,

First off, let me personally and sincerely thank you for your art, activism, and anger. I want to congratulate you and everyone involved with A Normal Heart on its success and your much-deserved Broadway run. As a young high school student from Wyoming, I used a monologue from A Normal Heart for college scholarship auditions. The scholarship I received from Whitman College allowed me to get the hell out of Wyoming in 2000. In more ways than one, your life’s work has without a doubt saved my life. Thank you for that.

With that being said, I respectfully ask you to shut the fuck up about the tragedy of my generation. I have listened to your speeches, essays, and interviews over the last decade and while I agree with so much of what you say about the joy of being gay, about the hatred that exists for people of difference, about the nature of our oppression, I cannot sit idly by as you continue to ignore my generation’s contribution to the history of LGBTQ folks. Yes, we came of age after the plague. Yes, coming out of the closet is much easier because of the path forged by the generations that came before us. Yes, we must use a condom every time we have sex. Yes, AIDS is still a neglected global crisis. Yes, LGBTQ folks are still regularly beaten and killed in this country. Yes, laws are still homophobic. Yes, the schools are still homophobic. Yes, we all live in a culture prone to historical amnesia. Yes, there is still a lot of fucking work to do.

Being a gay man in America has changed tremendously in the last twenty years: We are no longer the specter and symbol of death and this has changed our politics and activism. I do not want to evangelize today’s movements in response to your demonization of them. There are tremendous conflicts which have yet to be resolved in our community, namely racism, classism, transphobia, and ageism — all of which prevent queer communities from uniting under one giant rainbow flag. However, to wax nostalgic about a time when these differences seemingly didn’t exist is, frankly, bad history. To understand gay history is to understand that the labels we use to describe our shared experience have always been imperfect, limiting, and contested. Young folks today find empowerment in the term queer, a label you reject because its theoretical implications contradict your method of historical analysis. That is your right, but so long as you reject the work and ideas of my generation on this basis, you blind yourself to moments, projects, and possibilities where the young and the old (and the middle) can find spaces of unity.

For the past year, I have volunteered with an advocacy group for gay elders, run out of the LGBT Center in Manhattan. I wish I could say this was motivated by an altruistic nature, but unfortunately I do it because I’m a selfish academic who studies the intergenerational tension in the LGBTQ population. I am constantly shocked, however, at how many young people volunteer unselfishly for advocacy groups for gay elders, simply because they are starving for connection with LGBTQ elders. In fact, rarely do I meet a young LGBTQ person who is not intensely interested in connecting with previous generations or someone who doesn’t have some curiosity about gay history. Where are you finding all these tragic gay men who don’t care about their history? So many that you can make these universal declarations about my generation? I cannot understand or comprehend what living through the plague was like, nor can I comprehend what the movements of the 60s and 70s were like. If I know one thing about history it’s that it isn’t simple. You’ve described the plague years as ones filled with death and community. The 70s were full of sex and emptiness. There is more to these periods of history than these simple dichotomies. There is more to my generation, as well. I just ask that maybe you talk to some of us who are trying to bridge the gap before you condemn us all next time.

I have compiled a partial (and certainly not-exhaustive) list of young and old folks working on LGBTQ history projects, fighting for equality and equity through activism, and proving that my generation is not as tragic as you purport. I hope you find it useful, informative, and I hope you contact some of these projects to offer your voice, experience, and anger.

 

With respect,

J. Ricky Price

PhD Student, The New School for Social Research

 

For more information, check out:

We Are the Youth is a photographic journalism project chronicling the individual stories of LGBT youth in the United States.

FIERCE is a membership-based organization building the leadership and power of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth of color in New York City.

Bridging the Gap: Intergenerational Theater project

Queers for Economic Justice: is a progressive non-profit organization committed to promoting economic justice in a context of sexual and gender liberation.

Black LGBT Archivists Society of PhiladelphiaGenSilent: Documentary Film

I’m From Driftwood: Record and archive stories of everyday LGBTQ life in America

Impact Stories: LGBTQ Californians from the 1960s-80s

The Make It Better Project gives youth the tools they need to make their schools better now!  Through our website and YouTube channel, youth and adults can work together to make schools safer for LGBT youth right now.

North West Lesbian and Gay History Museum  Project

Ohio LGBT Oral/Video History Collections

StoryCorps: OUTLOUD

OutHistory.Org

The Twin Cities GLBT Oral History Project

Vogue’ology

The Queer Commons

 

 


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31 Comments »

  • Levi said:

    And notice he pretty much only EVER talks about gay men. If he wants to be relevant to our generation, he has to branch out. No wonder his views are so hostile, his views/definitions of queer (oh wait…Forgot that he doesn’t like that word and thinks we shouldn’t use it to self-identify) people is still stuck in the 70′s and 80′s where (to him) there were only gay men and the occasional lesbian.

  • Thaniel said:

    Good for you–and thanks for this list! Definitely passing it around. Larry Kramer’s most enduring quality may well be his abrasiveness. And it’s true that he’s never learned to respect others in the LGBTQI panoply. *Nobody* suits him, really.

  • Steven G. Solberg said:

    I would like to contact J. Ricky Price related to interviewoing him for my documentary film, Standing On The Bones of Our Ancestors – can anyone give me his contact information?

  • Mark Boysen said:

    I am saddened and actually a bit angry that of all people, Larry Kramer would be demonized — and told to shut up of all things– by anyone in the gay community. Especially by someone who so directly benefitted from his life’s work. He can take it…in fact, that has always been the case, he makes people think.
    He made silence=death and reality and a cause.– His works saved countless gay lives. By mobilizing the community of his time he saved more gay lives than ANYONE I can think of…and deserves sainthood in the community. That he makes people think– and makes people mad, and write such columns, is his power. In fact, by you writing this about him, you proved his point that to make people mad — and take action– you provided many resources to people that would not otherwise have them.
    And I would argue, Larry once again proved his opinions still have power to move people to help others.
    Many people over the years have given him grief– said chill out– we have to not scare those straights…. well they were wrong. Those more diplomatic tactics are fine. But they are not enough. Larry taught us that. Is still teaching us that. People were dying. Actions needed to be bold.
    There will never be another Larry Kramer. And if the younger community want to be mentored by their elder, there is no elder statesman of our community we can learn more from. Instead of saying his ideas are outdated, I would suggest people consider adapting them to a modern time. Sure he was from another time– some things he hasnt kept up with, perhaps, which he admits. But, despite that, to not take responsibility for what he points out as problems, and find solutions is missing out on what he still can offer. I dont know, maybe his best power comes from what we are doing– talking about his ideas…. even especially when some dont agree.
    It goes to show the wisdom he still offers, maybe Im not mad after all. Not sad either. Action= Life Thanks for reading.

  • Stuffed Animal said:

    He tells Larry Kramer to “shut the f*ck up” and then has the nerve to end this b*tch fit disguised as an open letter “with respect”? Sorry, but I missed the respect part. So will Kramer. As for not knowing his history, dude proves it with his gratuituous use of the Q-word. Only someone who doesn’t know how deep the derogatory connotations of that word runs (or knows and doesn’t care) would use it on himself and his kind, much less try to shove it down the throats of elders who were oppressed by it. The grade is fail for both J Ricky Price and his “queer” polit(r)ic(k)s.

  • Don said:

    I appreciate all the support Larry is getting on this comment thread, however, it really doesn’t acknowledge that he’s been this way since I was a young queer 20 years ago. This isn’t news. Larry has been “mad as hell and he won’t take it anymore” since before I hit puberty. This has garnered him lots of attention over the years, and he has moved the gay rights cause forward tremendously by refusing to back down. But in the late 1980s, we younguns were petulant and uncaring as those just a tad older were dying by the thousands. At least we were according to Larry.

    Although brilliant, Kramer seems to have missed a simple lesson I learned by the time I reached 30. Most people are too self-involved to become activists. They fear reprisals. They’re too busy making a living. Whether it’s Madonna or Lady Gaga, they are distracted. They aren’t as passionate about changing the world. I was. And I hit my head against the wall for years that everyone wasn’t screaming at how mad and how unfair and how horrible gay people were treated.

    Then I grew up. Very few do the heavy lifting for the very most. No matter the cause, no matter the injustice. If Larry is merely trying to shake a few more people out of their complacency, good luck. I found berating people for not being angry enough is very, very counterproductive. I applaud this young man for what he is doing. Know that you are among the few. But you are among the chosen. And it is because we choose ourselves to change the world. And we have changed it.

    I came out of the closet at 16. It was 1986. I dare say the cranky Mr. Kramer never achieved that milestone. My generation did it at an age previously unheard of. We risked being cut off from our parents and thrown into the streets. Many of my friends were. And my generation was chastised by Mr. Kramer as well because we were not as political as he was. Ahem. Ricky, do your best to change the world. Ignore Larry. You will never be good enough for him. Although his work has been tremendous, he is not the MLK of our movement (although he thinks he is). He, like all leaders, is a man. He is prone to mistakes and jealousies and short-sighted comments. Forge your own path.

  • benjamin hudson said:

    i couldn’t be more ambivalent about this post. price’s lack of respect is very discouraging. as a 28 yo self-identified queer man, i find much about “the tragedy of today’s gays” and other recent kramer works problematic, but i’m willing to address them as such and not launch a vituperative attack. price’s willingness to build bridges with a prolific gay activist is truly undermined by the tone and tenor of this piece. besides, it seems to me that faulting kramer for a lack of nuance seems to misapprehend dangerously the nature of eighties activism.

  • hughman said:

    Price says :

    ” I cannot understand or comprehend what living through the plague was like”

    Oh honey, you are still living through it. And if you’re oblivious to this fact then you more than prove Kramer’s point about today’s youth right there. People are still contracting HIV, getting AIDS, living with the disease and still dying from it. Comprehend that.

  • Amos Lassen said:

    The ironical thing about this beautifully written letter is that it is bordered by an ad from the Salvation Army, an organization that not only refuses to recognize us but closes its doors to us totally.
    Most of what Kramer has said has a great deal of truth to it if not completely true. You perhaps represent your generation but you are educated and aware. How I wish that was true for all of the young gays especially those who feel that it is fashionable to be gay and exploit others. I lived through the plague and lost many, many friends and I still think about how life would have been different had they lived. Here in Arkansas the young gays do not know about the history of our movement and they do not seem to want to know and that is what I resent. I am so glad that y’all have it so much easier than we did but use what you have wisely to make this a better world for everyone–gay, straight or whatever

  • michael said:

    @Amos: we are aware that our ad network sometimes sends us Salvation Army ads. We have done our best to block them but sometimes they slip through. We will correct this situation ASAP.

  • Randy McDonald said:

    Kramer makes some good points, but Kramer also misses entirely the huge amount of progress that has been made and continues to be made by GLBTQ people in the United States and worldwide.

    We are not, as he keeps saying again and again, doomed; we young people are not all heedless and uninterested in our elders, no more than his generation was of his elders; our only hope is not to be possessed by anger, the sort of anger that nearly got him kicked out of his apartment building after he began screaming at Ed Koch one day.

    Kramer needs to relax and recognize that things have changed. It’s sad that he won’t.

  • Michael Vaccaro said:

    I’ve heard constantly over the last 30 years how abrasive Larry Kramer is. Well,I can’t tell you how happy I am,still,that he was and is abrasive. He will always be a hero to me.
    He taught us how to fight. He taught us how to live.
    I volunteer for a number of gay organizations,and I speak often with gay men in their 20s,and not one of them has ever known who Larry Kramer is when I mention his name. My experience has been that this young generation of gay men has no interest in finding out about earlier generations. They seem to dismiss us as angry and all about death. When I frown at the news that people are barebacking because “AIDS is no big deal,” the usual response is “Oh,get over it.”
    And I certainly will get over it. People need the freedom to live however they want. Or die however they want. But I imagine that one day in a few years,after the number of sero-conversions continues to go up and up,gay people will once again become angry, but this time not at their government who offered them no help,but at their own community for being so lazy and irresponsible.

  • richard said:

    i love larry kramer. i have always stood in awe of his unrestrained bravery and slap-in-the-face attitude toward both the hetero- and homo-sexual populations. as he once said, we were at one time a community. when we had to unite, we did in the past. mr. price fails to see that this generation of gay people is exactly like we were. unfocused, non-causal, self-absorbed. it took a civil uprising like stonewall, harvey milk’s unjustified assassination and the aids crisis to get us together as a strong unity. before these events, we just slithered, hid in the shadows and rolled with the punches. when we finally stood up for ourselves when no one else would, we got things accomplished. of course, now our strength has fizzled and it seems like we need another catastrophe to reawaken us. we need to really be pushed down until we can’t take it any more.
    so, you can give yourself all the pats on the back you want but i can only give you two out of five stars for your attempts at trying to measure up to larry kramer. you have a long way to go and so much more to suffer and learn, mr. price!

  • Amos Lassen said:

    There is no question that Larry Kramer is and has always been one of our heroes and a man who put our rights before his own. He has won my respect and I am honored to know what he has dome for us. If he has a gripe, it is deserved. Kramer is a hero.

  • Smartypants said:

    As a young gay man coming out in 1984 at the very beginning of the AIDS crisis I became an activist and watched many friends die. Larry Kramer was our Cassandra, screaming warnings about the horrors that were taking place around us. During the years that every gay paper in the country was filled with obituaries of gay men this was important and absolutely necessary work.

    At the same time, he spent as much energy attacking fellow gay men and lesbians as he did going after the despicable Reagan administration, Jerry Falwell, and Jesse Helms. Nothing anybody did was ever enough. If you were around and paying attention to gay community politics back then, you’ll remember how many people were saying exactly what J. Ricky is saying now — “shut the fuck up, Larry”.

    And I mostly agree.

    Actually, I just mostly ignore Kramer and get on with my life. He craves vituperation and scorn — it seems to be what keeps him going. And good for him. I certainly couldn’t do it. Sustaining his level of outrage for decades takes too draining and bores me. I’d rather put my energy into various local causes and giving back in my community as a homegrown activist. Volunteering at the neighborhood food back, holding a fundraiser for a city council candidate, joining colleagues on United Way’s Day of Caring to paint the cooperative nursery school — as an out and open middle-aged gay man.

    I’m out in every aspect of my life — and goddammit after 15 years working shitty low-paying jobs without benefits for glbt causes, I feel quite ok earning a decent living and giving back to the community through the skills I acquired doing that underappreciated shit work. The last few years of that work I did side-by-side with the kids that Larry now accuses of being indifferent and riding on the coattails of earlier generations.

    So I feel I’ve paid my dues and have earned the right to tell Larry to kindly shut the fuck up. Over the course of my life I’ve actually seen us achieve victories that were unimaginable when I first came out. Stonewall was more than forty years ago. An entire generation has come of age with AIDS and the Internet. There are thousands of Gay/Straight Alliances in junior high and high schools across the U.S. And holy fucking shit, queers can actually get married in several states and a bunch of countries around the world.

    We live in a world that is transforming, but Larry prefers to live in the past. His screaming and ACT UP’s street actions were necessary to get attention any attention during the hellish Reagan years. But today’s activism takes different forms and focuses on different issues. Back then gay people were fighting for our survival. Now we’re fighting to have full and meaningful lives — especially the young’uns.

    For some that means working for marriage equality. For others it’s about environmentalism or access to health care. But for most it’s about trying to make a decent living, being a little happy and finding a special someone to love and love them back.

    Do queer kids today have it easier? Probably. Do I begrudge them that or get angry because they don’t appreciate what we struggled for in the past? Hell no! What do you think we were fighting for if not to make it easier for the beautiful kids coming after us? I feel nothing but joy every time I see a queer kids hanging out with their straight friends and it’s the most natural thing they can imagine. Just like I weep every time I hear about a kid being bullied or committing suicide.

    So we keep fighting. But it’s a different fight on different ground with different tools. Larry Kramer can keep qvetching about “kids these days” and scream at them to get off his lawn, but the kids are welcome to come play in my yard anytime. I think they’re quite alright.

  • John Simpson said:

    I for one see both sides and I’m age 57. I’ve made my own marks on gay history under my real name instead of my author name above. Having said that, I’d love to see and meet those young gay men and women who are actively involved with their senior gay brothers and sisters. Being an elderly gay could very well be a time of fear for many gay men and women. We are at our most vulnerable and subject to abuse. Often times we have partners of a life time that we are forceably separated from in the context of nursing homes and long term care facilities. We are subjected to fear and prejudice and abuse from those given the responsibility of giving us care.
    We are slowly getting governmental recognition of our needs, albeit slowly, but we need to make more progress with many individuals who can affect our lives directly.
    Of all the things young and old gay’s have in common, amongst them are that we all will get old and die. The more done now to help the elderly gay community, the less you’ll have to do when you yourself are elderly. Finally, our lesbian sisters aren’t given enough credit for the amount of care given to those who were living and dying from Aids. Many, many times, it was one or more lesbians who were taking care of a very sick gay man and without them, God only knows what would have become of them Thank you sisters!

  • James said:

    I was raised by my grandmother, an Englishwoman born in 1939 and whose memories of childhood are plagued by bombings and rationing. Whenever I didn’t finish my plate as a kid, she’d always say “You’d need a good war, that’d teach you to waste food!” followed by a rant about rationing and today’s consumerist society.

    Larry Kramer is exactly like that: He won’t let go of “his” war. Especially since he played a very important role in it, for which we’re all thankful.

    But he’d do well to listen to this young man here (who’s probably around my age, just so we’re clear). You can’t berate the “current generation” for not listening and for not actively seeking out exchange between the generations and at the same time say that LGBT youth are wrong on everything and they should listen and shut it. Hint: Nobody likes to be lectured. NOBODY. So if you want people to listen to you, you’re going to have to LISTEN to them as well, not just pretend you already know why they think what they think.

    As an aside, let’s not rewrite history: gay men and women weren’t more interested in their history in the 50s, the 60s, the 70s or the 80s than they are now. Maybe a few activists. But not the majority. So blaming the current generation for it is just plain ridiculous. And neither were they activists: part of the reason the abuse went on for so long is that gay men who were arrested never complained for fear of publicity, and people paid blackmailers. I’m not criticizing by the way, I’m not an activist myself, I probably would have been completely closeted at the time. However as an academic and historian (LGBT and other), I refuse to let history be re-written.

  • Shelly said:

    What a thoughtful article AND comments section. I find myself agreeing with everyone here in various ways and to varying degrees. Larry is one of the truly great heroes this world and our community have seen, and we all owe him so much for his courage and the righteous rage and heartache fueling it. James point about the war never ending I agree with deeply, but I see him more as a true war hero who is shell-shocked by all the horrors of the front and who tragically lives in a hell of anxiety and misdirected anger, unable to shift gears to face the changing demands and reality of modern civilian life. And so my heart goes out to him, and when he says things that rub me the wrong way as a queer-identified woman of a younger generation (45), I more often than not just feel sad for the nightmare that seems to be his waking life in the wake of the Holocaust.

    To the author, I applaud your activism and service, and thank you for the links. Those of us younger than Larry’s Greatest Lost generation are continuing the work in our own ways, and continue to make unprecedented strides toward full equality. Take heart, and take Larry for what he is — flaws and all, and thank you for posting this.

  • Carlos Milan said:

    I respectfully request you add Steven Reigns, published poet, artist and activist to the list of young “queer” people working to improve the lives of ALL people. He currently holds, amongst his many endeavors, an ongoing poetry workshop in L.A. for LGBT Seniors, where their stories and experiences are being shared with the community at large. Steven was born in 1975 and you can find out more about is important and beautiful work here: http://www.stevenreigns.com/

  • queer blogger said:

    I’d respectfully ask that you add to the list Zack Rosen and the rag-tag team of folks who put The New Gay together. Without them, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.

  • Drew said:

    I respect and appreciate Larry Kramer, but I also think he has some issues he needs to work out. I think that his rants may have some service to the gay community at large, but I feel he may be living in the past. There are a lot of things that have helped and hurt the gay community, and I wouldnt say it is the fault of young people. I would say that the internet has helped and hurt the community. I think Kramer is wrong to assume that the young gay people who come out at 15 years old or even 21 today are not paying a steep price for it. My parents are pentecostal ministers, and I paid a steep price to come out when I did. So AIDS killed a lot of people, well gay teen suicide kills a lot of people too. I dont hear him fighting against that, on the other hand he condemns the surviving gay youth. If there were older gay role models in these young peoples lives, maybe they wouldnt be committing suicide by the thousands annually. I didnt have anyone to look up to, I just had to trust my own inner strength that I had a right to be alive, despite what the Christian right told me. I considered suicide many times, but no gay elder was there for me. I was lucky to have inner strength – not every gay teen does, as we all know.

    So instead of bitching about who is right and who is wrong, lets fucking do something to improve our gay world. I survived my upbringing from my own inner strength. I became the sole gay activist in my small community for several years with no assistance from older gays. I was alone in my efforts. Now I live in Atlanta, and Im moving on from the life I created for myself back in rural Georgia. I did think being gay in Atlanta would be awesome, and it is great, but it wasnt want I imagined. Most of the older gay men I come across, are group-fucking each other in leather bars. I have only come across a few older gay men who have something valuable to say – in my experience, most of the older gay men are still stuck in the puberty they never had. I never had that puberty either, but Ive already grown out of it. Its time for the older gays to as well.

    So no, the young gay people are not perfect, neither are the older ones, not even Kramer. We all have our issues. Instead of blaming each other, lets move past that, find common ground and fucking do something. Im tired of this back and forth senseless blame game – its not accomplishing anything.

  • MichaelJ said:

    Smartypants is right: Larry Kramer has spent just as much energy attacking other gay men and lesbians as he has people and institutions that hurt gay people, and over the years many fellow activists have told him to shut the f*** up. Over 20 years ago I witnessed this many times at ACT-UP meetings, where he would berate those in attendance as well as those not there. At one meeting he challenged everyone’s committment by telling them how they had to show up on time (6:30 am, I think) for an early morning demonstration the following day. I remember very well his arrival by cab that morning by cab well after 8:00.
    For all the good that Larry has done, and in spite of all the people that regard his as a hero (I personally don’t, for many reasons), he is not above criticism (even if he himself acts like he is). It is not disrespecting him and what he has accomplished to criticize Larry when his vociferousness is misdirected, unfair or just plain wrong.

  • Amos Lassen said:

    None of us is above criticism and Larry certainly is not but we should not let that blot out the good that he has done. One of those is the good that has come out of this post which gives us a chance to hear from those of the younger generation who are working hard for our community. I applaud you for that. Each of us contribute in our own way and it is good to see that both the realism and the idealism of a better world is still alive. It makes me proud to read this here and I am sure that beneath his gruff exterior Larry Kramer is smiling too.

  • Daniel said:

    I know it’s fairly common on the internet to tell someone to STFU–but I think in this case it was a bad idea. Your point would have been much better had you just refuted his comments with whatever data or anecdotes you have. Kramer has been told to STFU many times–and he’s usually been shown to be right. And really, the best way to prove him wrong is through action–not insults.

  • Nelson G said:

    If there was ever a hall of fame, no doubt, Larry Kramer would be in it. That said, or written, however, no one should forget that Larry Kramer has been having it both ways for a very long time, demanding unity and a call to arms, only to throw people under the bus later on.

    There’s a reason why people used to call Kramer a turd, and that’s because he seems to go out of way to be one.

    He did this in 2007, he called for a “gay army” of activists; But not long after the Queer Justice League came to fruition, he threw them under the bus. What’s also ironic I defended Kramer after someone, a youth activist, attacked Larry and The Queer Justice League and told him and the rest of the 40+ activist group to fuck off. Now here it is five years later, the same thing is being said, and I can’t fault with it.

  • SG said:

    Kramer is in desperate need of attention again. But what else is new?

    Kramer’s an angry, bitter, jaded attention whore. Larry has done a lot for the community but his constant criticism negates his well intentioned hard work. It’s Larry Kramer’s world, the rest of us merely exist in it; sad he can’t see himself more clearly.

    Kramer’s a bad writer. That’s his first crime. His second crime: exhausting self-absorption. His third crime isn’t really his fault, but in any case: the media – in particular the NYTIMES, but also the NEW YORKER, and the hetero-run NYC print media especially – have anointed him the Homo Spokesdude, as if there were only one homosexual in America – one politically-minded homo. David Sedaris is the favorite funny fag, Elton John is the favorite musical fag, and Kramer is the Political Fag. Yet there is much much more to queer politics in the ’80s and ’90s and ’00s than Kramer’s understanding of the world. It’s too bad the heteros feel the need to diminish us to causes and catch phrases represented by one self-important upper middle class loud mouth white guy.

    The operative word in that title is “Me!” Kramer’s #1 concern has always been “Me! Me! Me!”

    When he talks about all his friends dying, he is not talking about the appalling number of straight black people who died of AIDS, and who continue to die, in the USA.

    He is interested only in the people he wants to fuck.

    Larry doesn’t care about LBT in GLBT; he only cares about the G.

    Kramer is old and he doesn’t understand how younger GLBT see the world. Frankly a lot of us have more basic economic concerns first; GLBT issues second. Kramer is rich as well as old, it’s telling that he goes on about his tax break status. Different planet than young people.

    Most of the GLBT issues facing us today require alliance-building with progressive/liberal straight people. GLBTs alone cannot create bullying-free public school systems, for example. We need help, partnership from our straight-but-not-narrow friends.

    Also he seems to live in a mental “gay ghetto” without much connection to anyone who is not gay white male.

    Larry is not a true friend. He lived at Barbra Streisand’s house for an entire year while they were working on the script for “Normal Heart.” Then he went to the press and trashed her.

    Barbra forgave him and lined up the money to start filming the movie as late as last year, until Larry demanded more money at the last minute. The producers couldn’t come up with the extra money and Larry sunk the project.

    Kramer is a privileged white guy with a lawyer brother who turned Kramer’s earnings into millions. Lots of us watched hundreds of people die of AIDS in the ’80s and ’90s, and we do not all have delusions of grandeur that we were the lone soothsaying Cassandra of the homo community. Kramer’s idea of an effective act of political intervention was screaming at Ed Koch across the lobby of the (exclusive West Village) apartment building in which they both lived. You do not lead a movement merely by throwing tantrums. Was Kramer the Bravest Little Boy in the World in 1983? Or 1987? Or 1992? I don’t think so. Plenty of women and men were incredibly brave in the ’80s and ’90s, both in caring for people who died, and in confronting the government and the pharmaceutical companies about the Policies of Death in regards to AIDS. He played his small part. But it is hijacking and rewriting history to suggest that he was the “lone voice in the wilderness,” or that he was the only writer who was chronicling the deaths of all those people.

    Larry Kramer is anything but gay, if you go to the true definition of the word. He’s a black hole.

    Larry’s whole persona in the interview seemed to be “I’m horny & no one will fuck me, so that’s why I’m angry.”

    That has always been true of him. Just read FAGGOTS.

  • richard said:

    i’ll make this simple for you! substitute ‘kramer’ with ‘sg’ throughout this long raging rant and bingo! the truth shines through bright and clear!!! all you gotta do is hold the mirror up and see the real face of the monster…

  • Amos Lassen said:

    Interesting that the most incendiary comments are by those folks who have not taken the time to read about or to learn who Larry Kramer is and rle him out because he is old. They one day will also be old. SG sounds particularly bitter and I cannot help but wonder if that is because Kramer overshadowed him and put him in his place. If he didn’t, then he should have. His remarks are rude and extremely bitter and unnecessary. I wonder if he is man enough to say them to Kramer’s face. As for reading “Faggots”, I have done so several times and it is pure satire but you have to have some education to understand that. SG obviously does not. And now I leave this discussion which started off so good but has ended up so hateful. What a shame,

  • richard said:

    thank you, amos lassen! i also am stepping away from further discussion since it surely will be shown that in due time all their misplaced anger will bite them in their own asses.
    i do believe though that i am obliged to stand up to and speak out against the negative nonsense all the ungrateful nitwits seem to believe about larry kramer. he is more of a hero than any of them can ever hope to be in their lifetime if they continue on the path they’re following.

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