RIP Larry Kramer

Ever since I came out – in 1986 – Larry Kramer has been saying he’s dying.  34 year later, he did just that.  At the age of 84 (a respectable age for anyone to die), a man who changed the world passed away.  I suspect he didn’t go peacefully – nothing Larry did was peaceful.  He fought to start the Gay Men’s Health Crisis in NYC, he fought to start ACT UP, he fought to get his play The Normal Heart produced, and he fought Barbra Streisand to regain the rights when she couldn’t make a film of the play.  By all accounts, Larry wasn’t an easy person to be around.  But you’d sure want him in your corner when the chips were down.  In a very few short months, we’ve lost three pivotal voices for our community: Larry Kramer, Terrence McNally, and Mart Crowley.  Throw in Jerry Herman and Roy Horn, and you’ve got a mighty dramatic musical with an animal act!  Rest in peace.

One of the people who remembered Larry Kramer was Dr. Anthony Fauci.  Here is an extended quote: “This is a very sad day, not only for me, but for many people who’ve had the opportunity to deal with Larry Kramer.  He was a most unusual figure in a very positive sense.  He was a firebrand.  He had extraordinary courage to speak out and challenge the system that was in place at the time of the early years of HIV/AIDS.  As a government official who was trying to do a job to address this, he saw me as the face of the federal government.  And we became adversaries.  I wasn’t an adversary to him, but boy, he was an adversary to me.  He attacked me, he called me a murderer, he called me an incompetent idiot – I mean publicly.  But then, as I got to listen to what he had to say, I realized that he was making some important points that we in the establishment needed to listen to.  We became, gradually, friends.  And then we became very good friends.  And then we became colleagues in the struggle.  So it turned out that, you know, I loved the guy.  And I think he loved me back.”  Once again, wise words from Dr. Fauci.

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