Pandemic

1200px-Covid-19-curves-graphic2-stopthespread-v3

There have been whispers about a coming pandemic for years, but I am stunned by the rapid pace our world has changed.  We are ‘sheltering in place,’ a misnomer of a phrase, as the COVID-19 virus spreads through our country. We are now in week two of our self-imposed isolation, venturing out only for food and walks.  While I long to be busy again, for my partner and me, it has not been a hardship. We have food and enough savings to weather this storm. My partner can work from home while much of my daily plans outside our house, including regular visits to help support my 91-year-old mother in another state, have ceased. Mom is in her apartment alone, the refrigerator and freezer packed with food, and seems to be enjoying her quiet time after the recent passing of my father.  But at 91, she is not able to easily cook for herself and is surviving on mostly premade meals or frozen soup.

I was moved this morning to read about a transgender college student on Vox.com.  The student was living in a homeless shelter and using the campus gym to shower, and the school library to study is now struggling as the homeless shelter has no private space for her to take online classes or study. The article, Campus, dorms closed for coronavirus, leaving some LGBTQ students with nowhere to go, portrays how many college students are affected by their schools being closed because the schools were so much more than education. The schools provided food, medical care, safety net, behavioral therapy, and more.

Day by day, we see our world get smaller. Today our County Executive stated that we were getting very close to a ‘shelter in place order,’ requiring us to stay in our homes, except for food and other limited functions. How this would be enforced and for how long is anybody’s guess.  Given the rapid spread of this virus, I expect we are in for a very long period of our world being shut down.

World AIDS Day: Viewing Desert Migration

photo-20151213094532587

Tonight I attended a screening of the film, Desert Migration. The film is a documentary about long-term survivors of HIV/AIDS. The film tells a powerful story of different individuals, all long-term HIV/AIDS survivors, living in Palm Springs, CA. I have read about the complex set of issues facing long term HIV/AIDS survivors. I was very moved by the film and the filmmaker’s powerful way of letting each man tell their story in a raw, unfiltered manner. Continue reading

Almost Infected

wpid-photo-20151112062847296

Ken Nissman’s Obituary from the New York Times

Sometime after December of 1992, I got a call from Sharon, an old girlfriend of mine. Our friend Ken had died of AIDS and she was pulling together a memorial service. I had not known Ken was sick. Sharon told me how she had taken care of Ken and nursed him in the final months of his life. I remember her telling me how horrendous Ken’s final days were in the hospital and how he suffered. I had not known until her phone call that Sharon and Ken were even close. Continue reading

Love is Love

C7jxeg3V4AI_MKh

What makes love, love? Why does the rallying cry, love is love, that began with the Proposition 8 fight, ring true to so many people? What has changed in the culture that the once unthinkable, love between two men or two women, is now blessed by the Supreme Court of the United States as fully equivalent to the love between a man and a woman? Continue reading

Remembering Ron

373795439_0c24473d55_b

I’ve been thinking a lot about an old friend of mine, Ron, since recently seeing the HBO movie, The Normal Heart. Where did Ron go? Whatever happened to him? I’m determined to find out what happened to his life. Continue reading

Thoughts on The Normal Heart

anc_theater-normalheart-magnum

I just finished watching The Normal Heart on TV. While I saw the play about two years ago at the Arena Stage in Washington DC and had read the real-life story that it was based on, And The Band Played On, by Randy Shilts, I was unprepared for how powerful the HBO movie was. I remember the early days of AIDS but turned away from the death and disease as many men did. Continue reading