st. larry kramer hates gay marriage!!!!

FindingNamo
Broadway Legend
joined:7/22/03
"It wasn't enough to say AIDS kills because people are careless when they're horny."

I'm not sure what you're saying here? Who's point of view are you talking about, Larry Kramer's? Yours? Larry Kramer's in the early-'80s, Larry Kramer's in his play, Larry Kramer's today?

"Colbert is toast after this latest flap." -- Mr Roxy "Read 'Atlas Shrugged'." -- Gothampc
singtopher
Broadway Legend
joined:12/28/05
His sentiment is accurate, but his choice of words is questionable.
"If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn't help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we've got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don't want to do it." -Stephen Colbert
SeanMartin
Broadway Legend
joined:9/4/06
Larry has always been our community's Cassandra, saying things about us that not many people like to hear. Folks didnt like it when he decried unsafe sex as early as 1978. Folks didnt like it when he called out the medical establishment, the church, and the government on AIDS. Folks thought Queer Nation was too radical, even, ultimately, the members themselves when they took it away from him when he refused to water it down for their comfort level. He's had a good career making others feel uncomfortable (I mean, please, had it been any other screenwriter, do you think we would have gotten *that* scene in Women in Love?), and, just as we always do, someday we'll look back and realize that, yes, he was right.
http://docandraider.com
SNAFU
Broadway Legend
joined:4/20/04
"That scene" was my guilty pleasure while still i the closet. I rented the tape, was latye returning it and probably wore out that section by rerunning it over and over! LOL
Those Blocked: SueStorm. N2N Nate. Good riddence to stupid! Rad-Z, shill begone!
FindingNamo
Broadway Legend
joined:7/22/03
Just a few historical inaccuracies I would like to correct in your post, SeanMartin.

"Folks didnt like it when he decried unsafe sex as early as 1978:"

Larry didn't decry unsafe sex in 1978. Larry decried sex. And gay men. He was a sad little man who couldn't find love and so he lashed out in a petty, bilious little novel called "Faggots." You know, that word people get SO FREAKED OUT ABOUT people using nowadays. THAT is one of the things people didn't want to hear.

As far as safe sex, he had nothing to do with its conception, and once realistic men came up with the concept and suggestion for how to have sex in an epidemic, and coined the term "safe sex" he said there was no such thing. He puts the words and the admonishment right in the mouth of the doctor in The Normal Heart. And he was WRONG. Completely WRONG. He to this very day undermines the concept of risk reduction -- look at that horrible handout he gave out outside the theater for The Normal Heart wherein he said "prevention and education have been an abject failure." Well, every gay man who made it through the epidemic with a sex life and a negative serostatus is living proof that he is completely wrong. We have remained negative precisely because of prevention and education and yet he sees fit to undermine it because he HATES SEX.

"Folks thought Queer Nation was too radical, even, ultimately, the members themselves when they took it away from him when he refused to water it down for their comfort level"

Larry Kramer had nothing to do with the formation of Queer Nation. it was a group without a centralized hierarchy, so there was nobody in charge to throw anybody out. Queer Nation was born radical and Queer Nation stayed radical. Messages from Queer Nation were never watered down.

"someday we'll look back and realize that, yes, he was right."

Except Larry has been frequently wrong. I was surprised to hear how many people were persuaded by the notion that The Normal Heart is "exactly what happened" when it is one man's fictionalization of HIS life. It is not the history of a community by any means. I'm not sure what the mojo is that Larry has around him that makes people, many of whom I know and love and who I know for a fact know better, let him off the hook. "Oh well, you know, that's Larry, he was wrong about that but he's always right." I mean, he obviously does his own PR, but why does it take????

I would argue that Larry telling people that they couldn't ever have sex again at the beginning of the epidemic led to more guys just giving up because: a) sex is a drive that's necessary for survival, like eating, and b) not all sex acts are equally risky for HIV transmission. I know the damage he caused people with that message and since he likes to point fingers and blame others for causing deaths, I point my finger at him for telling guys that kissing and oral sex were just as risky as anal sex without a condom and that condoms didn't work. He was wrong. And no amount of nostalgia for his histrionics (oh, I'm sorry, the word we use now is "heroics") can undo that. I don't know why people are willing to overlook that and say he's "always right"?

And let me tell you about Larry. When he goes on about how people don't care that gay men and people of color are disproportionately affected by HIV I have to laugh, because I remember clearly how resistant he was to being inclusive of people of color in the mission of HIV agencies well into the 1990s. He really did see the epidemic as something that hit "the best and the brightest" and didn't even want to acknowledge the janitors and the high school drop outs. But, yay, St. Larry caught up and learned to at least appear to overcome his inborn racism. So, yay. Hero.

Larry perpetuates the myth the people always come to see things his way. I mean, why ELSE not let The Normal Heart speak for itself on stage. Why stand outside the theater to put an even finer point on it? I had a whole speech worked up in case he was there the day I saw the show, including a plan to take him to task for the above mentioned "abject failure" remark and his completely overlooking the fact that people did manage to have sex lives and stay negative. And when I got near him, what did I see? The theater staff telling the matinee ladies that he was the playwright so that they would go over and hug him in his overalls and when I got close to him I saw a wizened old hepatic looking man with cactus stubble basking in the glory of having written something that a cast and director made deeply moving. And so I didn't confront him. I've thought about it ever since, wondering why I didn't, because I tell you I was prepared.

I have settled on the reason that it's because I am a better human being than Larry Kramer. Who is frequently wrong, and who did not write the definitive history of the HIV epidemic in New York.


"Colbert is toast after this latest flap." -- Mr Roxy "Read 'Atlas Shrugged'." -- Gothampc
Updated On: 7/31/11 at 01:12 AM
SeanMartin
Broadway Legend
joined:9/4/06
>> Larry Kramer had nothing to do with the formation of Queer Nation

You're correct: he was the co-founder of QN's precursor ACT UP, which evolved into QN when he was deemed too much of a media slut... by people who then turned around and did all sort of media-grabbing "actions".

>> Larry decried sex.

Larry decried irresponsible sex, which made a lot of people very, very cranky. The general response was "I should be able to f*** whoever I want!" and Kramer responded with "Fine. But you might die if you dont do it right." And people just laughed. And a lot of people did die. What none of us knew back then, of course, was the length of the gestation period of the virus, so we had no clue that for some it was just too late, period. But Kramner was trying to do his part of stem the tide. But to make the blanket statement that he was simply "against sex" is patently absurd.

>> he said "prevention and education have been an abject failure."

... because we have a new generation of gay men who think that AIDS has passed them by, that it's just something old people get now, that barebacking is perfectly okay because the odds are with them that nothing's gonna happen and if it does, all the expensive drugs are gonna cure them. And as close as we may be to a cure, we still dont have one. So IMHO they're wrong. In case you didnt notice, the numbers are going back up... granted, not as virulently as they did in the 80s, but they still are, all thanks to folks who think the crisis is over and it's not gonna affect them and life is unicorns and magic pixie dust.

>> I point my finger at him for telling guys that kissing and oral sex were just as risky as anal sex without a condom and that condoms didn't work.

There was a lot of misinformation in those days, and we cannot lay it all at his feet, sorry. His quote about kissing has been wildly taken out of context, sorry. When you cut through it all, he was the only one who was actually talking about this stuff in a big time, high profile way that was angry enough to get people's attention. Was there anyone else? When politicians in DC were busy wrapping themselves in the flag and talking about the possibility of camps "to protect the normal public", was there anyone else loudly pointing out the BS that it was? Gosh, for the life of me, I cant remember any names. Everyone else was too worked up about the baths being shut down or agencies losing government funding or this or that or the other. Kramer had no such allegiances, so he said what needed to be said.

No, he wasnt a god. Yes, he was wrong on occasion. But he was right far more than he was wrong, and the very fact that he got people talking about this when no one really wanted to is enough to make me think he was on the right track long before anyone else. You of course may disagree. Many people did and still do. Whatever. I shudder to think what the history of this country's dealing with AIDS would be like had it not been for him. God knows, very different.
http://docandraider.com
FindingNamo
Broadway Legend
joined:7/22/03
Again, with all due respect, you're incorrect.

ACT UP may have come before Queer Nation but they were completely different things. In fact, it was the first direct action group since the dawn of the AIDS epidemic that didn't have AIDS as its only focus. Something I recall Kramer decrying. He was never deemed too much of "a media slut" by any direct action group. I know as ACT UP made the obvious links between racism and homophobia and the slow response to AIDS those two things caused, Larry bristled that "we" should be working to form coalitions with other affected communities. Because, you know, it was too much to have to take on the issues of poverty and drug use and unequal access to healthcare in this country when "we," "the best and the brigthest" (read: richest and whitest) were dying.

Again, I'm not clear which point you're making, that he was thrown out of ACT UP or Queer Nation? I do feel as if you're putting quotes around media-grabbing "actions," indicates a lack of respect for that kind of a thing. If so, you should know that direct actions are responsible more than anything for getting drugs into bodies of people who needed them when they were locked down in clinical trials.

Larry decried irresponsible sex, which made a lot of people very, very cranky. The general response was "I should be able to f*** whoever I want!" and Kramer responded with "Fine. But you might die if you dont do it right."

This is certainly how Larry spins it now, and also how people who weren't born yet pass on the myth because they have no reason to know that's not true. I remember almost keeling over when one of the young actors in the revival said that because of the epidemic and the time portrayed in the play "gay men learned to love each other." Only somebody who knows gay history through the effed up prism of Larry Kramer would dare assert such a falsehood. The gay male community instituted behavioral change remarkably quickly when true heroes like Michael Callen helped navigate the waters of sexual transmission of HIV. Never in the history of public health has such change happened on such a massive scale. These people Kramer portrayed as shallow and willfully blind and only thinking with their wangs cared enough about themselves and their community to work toward adapting sexual behaviors. This would most likely never happen with any other cohort. Oh, and as they were doing so, Larry was telling them it wouldn't work, it wasn't enough, they were going to die if they had sex. He's still doing it. Look for that recent town hall speech where he told young gay men that they can't ever take a penis not wearing a condom in their mouth ever again. He told monogamous gay partners that they couldn't forgo condoms if they are both negative. Because, he said portentously, "a doctor in Canada" said there are even newer and scarier microbes.

It is clear that Larry Kramer has a pathological relationship to sex. He cannot imagine intimacy without overlaying it with a disease model. It's not a community that's effed up, it's him. And that's fine, until he projects it out to others and undermines their successful risk reduction strategies.

... because we have a new generation of gay men who think that AIDS has passed them by, that it's just something old people get now, that barebacking is perfectly okay because the odds are with them that nothing's gonna happen and if it does, all the expensive drugs are gonna cure them.

Again, huge, enormous generalizations of the type Larry Kramer makes. There is a lot of emerging evidence suggesting that these generalizations do not hold up to scrutiny, but I can assure you that dismissing the behaviors of a "new generation of gay men" you're completely continuing the tradition of undermining the efforts they do make to protect themselves and their community. Congratulations! You're carrying on the Kramerian tradition.

"There was a lot of misinformation in those days, and we cannot lay it all at his feet, sorry."

Yes, and Larry was a major perpetrator of the misinformation. But unlike you at the beginning of your post, he never said "I was wrong." And if you look up the town hall speech where he calls gay men murderers, (this was from just a few years ago) he is STILL perpetuating misinformation and that is completely and totally unforgivable and that is why I feel like the time must be taken to explain that no, he is NOT always right, no matter how much people are willing to overlook and casually dismiss in order to believe that statement.

"In case you didnt notice, the numbers are going back up..."

Let's see, to pick Massachusetts as one random and major success story, new infections are down 59%. Wanna know why? Prevention. Education. Treatment.

That's why. This is a largely reproducible phenomenon but step one would be to stop saying prevention and education doesn't work.

Also, it's not prevention and education's responsibility to find a cure. So, you might want to move that from the "reasons it's okay for Larry to call P&E an abject failure."


"Colbert is toast after this latest flap." -- Mr Roxy "Read 'Atlas Shrugged'." -- Gothampc
Updated On: 7/31/11 at 12:44 PM
Kad
Broadway Legend
joined:11/5/05
A rather excellent example of how education and prevention helps is to look at Sweden. They are educated very early about safe sex, and there are numerous programs in place that require checkups for HIV+ people, not to mention infection tracking. As a result, the infection numbers are low.


One of the major problems with HIV in America is America's conservative nature when it comes to sex. The moral guardians holding onto Victorian views of sex are a major roadblock.

And Larry Kramer, in his own way, is a variation of that mindset.
FindingNamo
Broadway Legend
joined:7/22/03
Yes. Oh, and historically, the US hasn't been very good with needles or the concoctions that sometimes go in them.
"Colbert is toast after this latest flap." -- Mr Roxy "Read 'Atlas Shrugged'." -- Gothampc
SeanMartin
Broadway Legend
joined:9/4/06
> Again, I'm not clear which point you're making, that he was thrown out of ACT UP or Queer Nation? I do feel as if you're putting quotes around media-grabbing "actions," indicates a lack of respect for that kind of a thing.

He was thrown out of ACT UP, but QN came as a result of disaffected members of ACT UP finding it a one-note organization.

Yes, I put quotes around "actions" because some of them, IMHO, were little more than juvenile attention-grabbers with no set goal, just something designed to piss people off and little more. The goals may have been honourable; the method getting to them was not.

As for the rest, we will just have to agree to disagree. I dont know Larry, so dont think I'm protecting a friend's reputation. I met him once, briefly, at a party, and I wasnt cute enough to make the cut. Be that as it may, say what you will about him, one cannot deny that he kept the topic front and centre when hardly anyone else would.

As for infection rates:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/02/AR2008080200568.html

http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/factsheets/us.htm

http://www.idph.state.il.us/public/respect/african_american_fs.htm

http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/surveillance/basic.htm

The numbers are all there. Do with this info what you will.
http://docandraider.com
FindingNamo
Broadway Legend
joined:7/22/03
For the capsule version of my point, please look at the chart that is at the second URL you posted. It's important to know the very different definitions of the words "incidence" and "prevalence."

You see how the dotted line is labelled "incidence"? Those are the new diagnoses. You see how the line is not going up? Those are the numbers you say are going up and the numbers that are there and with which I should do what I will. The reason the line is not on an upward trajectory is precisely because of the efforts of prevention and education. It is not to say that a steady number of new infections is a great thing, but if in fact the number were going up it definitely would be a worse thing. In that case, the dotted line would be going up like the solid line.

The line that curves sharply upward is the "prevalence" line. That means the number of people who are alive who are HIV infected is larger than it ever has been, and that is because of successful treatment, knowledge about which is also spread through prevention and education programs. It's not because they are newly infected. It's because they have been living and surviving and thriving with the virus for years and years and years. And though people often get strangely nostalgic for the culture of death that surrounded us all for the first decade-plus of the epidemic and lament the younger generation not having seen the deaths as if that is a bad thing, it's a GOOD thing that so many people are thriving thanks to the treatments.

Since these are somewhat confusing epidemiological terms, it is easy to understand how someone could look at the two lines and say there has been an "abject failure." But instead, they illustrate successes. And since Larry Kramer appears to be constitutionally incapable of calling a success anything but a failure, I can see where you get it from. It is inaccurate and self-defeating to continue along those lines, however.

I still say you have your history wrong on Queer Nation in relation to ACT UP. There was significant overlap between the chapters of both groups, but one was not formed because of dissatisfaction with the other. Queer Nation came because members recognized that by the late-'80s AIDS and gay had become synonymous in the popular imagination. It was a very successful attempt to stake a claim for a vibrant gay identity and to stop the appeasing the powers that be attitude of, please take pity on us as we are but victims. In fact, there was no more eloquent a manifesto in the modern gay rights movement than "We're here, we're queer, get used to it." Queer Nation was an adjunt to ACT UP, not a reaction against it.

I have long been amused by the number of people who called that style of direct action juvenile and too "boat rocking" but who have no problem overlooking the myriad problems and outright falsehoods perpetated by Larry Kramer with a simple, "He's always right." He is not.

Is there still work to be done? Indeed there is. Is that worked helped at all by Larry Kramer shrilly decrying it as worthless when people just assume what he is saying is true because they have come to believe the lie that he is "always right"? No. As ever, Larry does harm.
"Colbert is toast after this latest flap." -- Mr Roxy "Read 'Atlas Shrugged'." -- Gothampc
Updated On: 7/31/11 at 07:45 PM
FindingNamo
Broadway Legend
joined:7/22/03
CDC estimates released today show 1 in 10 MSM is HIV positive. That means 90% are not. That means prevention and education are in fact the opposite of abject failures.

Now, what positive steps can we take to change the terrible numbers for young gay men of color? I know Larry would just give up, say everything is a disaster, mitigate every success. But, what can actually be done? What successes are there to build upon?
"Colbert is toast after this latest flap." -- Mr Roxy "Read 'Atlas Shrugged'." -- Gothampc

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