The Gay Plague

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    Jan 29, 2011 11:06 PM GMT
    What where you doing when the hysteria of the Gay Plague/ AIDS hit the media, and what did you do, and how did you handle all the fear?

    Well I was a lad off the land, who was forced to move to the city dew to drought, to get work.

    As it worked out I was to get a job in my citys if not Australia's biggest newest poshest boathouses, I had the look. Young, innocents, big chest and shoulders and all that kind of stuff. Sure yes I was popular too.

    Then one day a friend I had made who at that time was the head of the VD clink of my state, was to talk about something was happening inn America but "NO ONE" was talking about it. lots of gay men rocking up to hospital really sick and just dying.

    We sat around at work for about a year talking about it, what was it about our lifestyle the was causing this? One Guy George was to point out the cock and sperm where not meant for the arse, maybe that was it?

    We also talked about how did we get it, and if it was air born then that would be the end of us, as we would be exterminated; sadly that may well of been true too.

    Then one day it hit the media and the world went crazy the gay plauge was on. The hysteria, the fear, the abuse and discrimination. My place of work on a Saturday may of had a few thousand though it's doors, over night that dropped to maybe 3.

    I got abused for being gay and if I had a cold treated as if I was infected, and lord forbid if they knew my place of work. Many gay and bi men become alcoholics, for fear of touching so they sat around and looked and drank, but feared to touch.

    I took it in my stride, and one day at a time. I did not run or flee, I stood by a community I had fought for, where so many had fleed.

    So what where you doing, and how did you react?

    Saddly I should of left, because I would never of been a witness to all the things I had been once people started to come out and play again, and blood test where available, a service provided at the bathhouse, so we got to know lots of stuff about people

    Funny the head of the VD clinic was to tell me I was never going to survive this because of my youth, and the fact I was popular, and already had contact with people who where infected. But I remain HIV- to this day. Blessed my body has a built in over active immune system.
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    Jan 29, 2011 11:16 PM GMT
    I remember way back then, pondering how long would it take to find a cure? Would any of my friends live long enough to see it; sadly they have not, and I think I relly did think 30 years on we would of found a cure, but it also seemed imposible for us to wait that long, because of all the people who would already be gone. But so much time has come to pass; almost 30 years now. All the friends I lots, and I had many gay friends back then. never could go to a club and stand on my own, or wait in line to get into a club, as I was seen back then as a gay celebrity, for the work I did in the front line; yes I was admired too.

    I also did not back then, see the ever lasting effect of what I was being a witness to, would also have on me; and it has been everlasting. I have never really never been apart of this thing called the gay community again. But I never went into hiding either.
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    Jan 29, 2011 11:44 PM GMT
    I recall how gay come to mean: Got AIDS Yet?
  • starboard5

    Posts: 969

    Jan 30, 2011 1:31 AM GMT
    I believe the first article in the popular press on what would eventually be known as AIDS came out in the NY Times on Fourth of July Weekend, 1981. I didn't read it or even hear of it. I had just graduated from nursing school and was house sitting for a friend that weekend and studying for my state board exam. I was out at the club that night, not knowing that we were all ushering in a nightmare.

    I never really heard anything until sometime in the first half of 1982. I was working in surgery and while on a break one night, one of the residents sat down next to me and asked me if I had heard about these rare diseases gay men were getting, Kaposi's sarcoma and pneumocystis pneumonia (I was out at work). A few weeks later, I was getting instruments out of an autoclave before a case and one of the orthopedic residents scrubbing asked me that same thing. I remember my response; "Great. Two more diseases to worry about."

    The fall of that year my life changed completely. My dad had a heart attack and I moved home to take care of my paralyzed mom on what became a permanent basis. I pretty much dropped off the face of the earth, as far as my previous life was concerned.

    This was when I remember all the panic hitting the media. I figured I was done for; it was just a matter of time. No one used condoms back in the day and, while I was sexually very conservative by the standards of that time, I knew it only took one. I don't think young guys now can imagine how depressing it was, always waiting for news about one more person. I got into the morbid habit of combing the obituaries every day. A blood test for antibodies wasn't available until 1985 and then, initially, it had a significant false negative rate. It was another year before it was refined.

    Gay men of my generation who have remained negative feel like we've walked through a mine field. The guys on either side of us were blown to bits, but we made it through. There are feelings of joy and relief, but also sadness. It's human nature to turn away from sadness but it bothers me that that era seems nearly invisible now, like all those irreplaceable lives didn't mean a thing.











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    Jan 30, 2011 1:44 AM GMT
    This is why I keep talking about it; lets we forget. because it is almost an invisible eara now, and all those lives lost way back then seem to mean nothing now days, it was all in vein. Oh that mind feild, and for many years i ponder how was it possible I survived, when so many around me had not.

    I truly thank you for your contribution.
  • barriehomeboy

    Posts: 2475

    Jan 30, 2011 2:23 AM GMT
    The plague wasn`t gay. Get your facts straight before trying to inspire a riot on the internet.
  • barriehomeboy

    Posts: 2475

    Jan 30, 2011 2:25 AM GMT
    Most new cases of AIDS are hetersexual women.
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    Jan 30, 2011 3:35 AM GMT
    He be Trollin'.
  • starboard5

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    Jan 30, 2011 4:03 AM GMT
    Grawr saidHe be Trollin'.


    I don't think True Blue meant to troll. "The Gay Plague" was the way HIV was seen by the dominant culture/power structure at the time (the Reagan years), why it was ignored, and part of the reason infection grew exponentially. It was a disease of queers, something they brought on themselves and even deserved. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe Reagan himself even spoke about HIV/AIDS once during his first term in office.
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    Jan 30, 2011 4:15 AM GMT
    Grawr saidHe be Trollin'.


    Ahh thanks for summarizing it!

    Glad I didn't bother reading it.
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    Jan 30, 2011 4:38 AM GMT
    barriehomeboy saidThe plague wasn`t gay. Get your facts straight before trying to inspire a riot on the internet.


    honey down here it was labeled the gay plauge, grids. One is not responsible for your issues or anyone else. you are the one looking for the blue. When it first hit the media here it was called the gay plauge, and I am sure Oz was not unique in that, in fact it was the gay plauge in the US too.

    In fact it was one of the darkest times in gay history!!!!
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    Jan 30, 2011 4:39 AM GMT
    barriehomeboy saidMost new cases of AIDS are heterosexual women.
    we are talking the 1980s, You also forgot children to but we are not talking about today but the Gay Plague Period. Thats what we had to deal with and endure. But I was not one of the ones who went into hiding as you may well of done. No I was in the eye of the storm. The things I seen first hand.
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    Jan 30, 2011 4:42 AM GMT
    starboard5 said
    Grawr saidHe be Trollin'.


    I don't think True Blue meant to troll. "The Gay Plague" was the way HIV was seen by the dominant culture/power structure at the time (the Reagan years), why it was ignored, and part of the reason infection grew exponentially. It was a disease of queers, something they brought on themselves and even deserved. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe Reagan himself even spoke about HIV/AIDS once during his first term in office.


    Thats OK he was not even born, he will sadly never understand what we endured, and survived either. How can one be trolling when the truth is being spoken?

    No President Regain did not speak about it in his first term! There are those who put much of the blame onto him too, for their own actions.

    The move "And the band played on" talks about this time in American history, that I am talking about. But I don't need a movie as i lived it and survived it too. many of my friends never even got out of their 30, before death was to take them away.
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    Jan 30, 2011 9:12 AM GMT
    I wasn't even ten yet, and I did not fully realize till I was 11 that I was gay. I read about HIV and other VD's in a German tennager magazine. I had not even had sex yet, but everytime my penis felt funny or there was some color variation to it I thought I had caught something (even though it was of course impossible.) Made me terrified. As a burgeoning teenager, German media depicted being gay as hanging out in dirty, smelly, dark backalley rooms where furry fat men would do all sorts of nasty things to each other, and they had it in for me as well. It freaked me out, and I wanted nothing to do with it. It was a very lonely time. That would be one of the reasons I tried to lead a hetero life (and failed miserably at it.)
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    Jan 30, 2011 10:40 AM GMT
    Andreas73, not sure it was a blessing or a course for you. I was lucky maybe to of been young enough to of experienced the free love thing, with no responsibilities, and herpes was our biggest fear. But this was also a time when many unwittingly became infected too, and for them the knowledge I was to receive, it was to late for them when they got it. But by the time you become active you had knowledge I did not when I started out.
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    Jan 30, 2011 11:09 AM GMT
    barriehomeboy saidMost new cases of AIDS are hetersexual women.


    Women children and adolescents are now the the fastest growing segment of the population to have HIV. but this was not the case in the 70s, 80s and 90s. But this has none the less helped take away the stigma, that I endured, even though I am still HIV- from the straight community.
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    Jan 30, 2011 11:17 AM GMT
    On february 6 1986 President Reagan mentions AIDS in his message to congress.

    I know the fact it took him some time to mention AIDS, had little effect on the actions of homosexuals down here in Oz, even if he never said a thing, little would of changed. So i don't see why it would of been any diffrent in America.
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    Jan 30, 2011 11:19 AM GMT
    I myself have no fear in hugging kissing,and loving a person with HIV/ AIDS. I have gone into their homes to care for them,had a sexual relationship with a guy in the late 80s early 90s, and man was it hot too.
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    Jan 30, 2011 11:27 AM GMT
    A1EX said
    Grawr saidHe be Trollin'.


    Ahh thanks for summarizing it!

    Glad I didn't bother reading it.


    how ad. one can not be held responsible for an others issues or ignorance either, they have to carry and deal with that themselves.

    You will never understand what i have survived either, and I am not angry or anything with you either.
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    Jan 30, 2011 12:20 PM GMT
    steviestar said"Gay Celebrity" Hahahahaha.

    Get back on your pills and stay on them.

    I've heard you say you come from European Aristocrats. Hahahahaha.

    You say you own so much land but have to go work in a bathhouse to make ends meet.

    Fuck me, just drop all the shit and be yourself.




    The truth is what it is, if you like it or not faceless coward. But i went out and made it on my own too. yep and the first job I was to land in the big city was that of one in a bathhouse, and I have survived to tell the tale too, when so many have not.
    But the beginning of that was almost 30 years ago now, and a lot can happen and change in that time; belive it or not.
    Your issues are not my issues sunshine.

    Oh and I have no desire to fuck you, and it seems you would not know the truth if it was right in front of your face. Sad how a person can have sight, yet be so blind.icon_rolleyes.gif

    but then you are from QLDicon_lol.gif and thats a state that has just come out of the dark ages concerning anything gay.

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    Jan 30, 2011 12:32 PM GMT
    You know it was amazing working on the gay scene in the 80s, we where front line, and did stand out and we where treated as gay celebrities, because there was so few of us back then. We also where the ones who injured most of the brutality if the palace got radded by the police. We certainly where not the members in the gay community who where in hiding.

    But then AIDS changed everything.............and even more went into hiding.
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    Jan 30, 2011 12:51 PM GMT
    Gaetan Dugas 1953-1984
    Ryan White 1971-1990
    Peter Allan 1944-1992
    Freddie Mercurry 1946-1991
    Liberace 1919-1987
    Terry Dilan 1950-1986
    Nicholas Eden 1930-1985
    brad Davis 1949-1991
    Denholm Elliott 1922-1992
    Leonard frey 1938-1988
    Rock Hudson 1925-1985
    Anothoney perkins 1932- 1992
    Dack Rambo 1941-1994
    Brad davis 1949 1991
    Rudolf Nureyeu 1938 1993


    Just to mention a very few.

    I do remember!icon_sad.gif

    lets we forget.
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    Jan 30, 2011 2:18 PM GMT

    "lets we forget."

    Really.

    We'd rather remember.
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    Jan 30, 2011 8:36 PM GMT
    People with anger issues and who want to strick back at others inocent people. I seen that time and time again, and was even a taget of it. Yes i can understand back then a person being devistated that their helth, and life ahead of them had been taken away from them, because they were infected with HIV.

    I was young poppular and still had my whole life ahead of me; and still many years to go. Yet there were people because of their issues wanted to take that away from me, as it had been done to them; the bitterness of it all.

    I seen men who wellknew they where infected because I was there when they got their resolts of their blood tests. Then go on as if nothing had changed, and if I ever latter challenge them on their behaviour, they justifyed it with "they where in denile". At the end of the day it was being a witness to all this deverstaion first hand that leed one to hand back their gay card and go back out into the real world to work and too live; and how I have thived too.

    Yet what I was a witness to and survived has never really left me, and if I allow myself to really think about it all, a tear will run down my face; sometimes just for all those friends I lost way back then and it really all started for me, 30 years ago. The fear of death is no longer an issue for me either, as I have to look at it in away that I have have lived a full life now.
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    Jan 30, 2011 9:08 PM GMT
    icon_rolleyes.gificon_twisted.gif