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New York Times Reports on "Rare Cancer Seen in Homosexuals" (July 3, 1981)

Nytimes_first_report_AIDSOn July 3, 1981, a Friday, an article in the New York Times reported on a rare cancer detected in gay men in San Francisco and New York.  Of course, this mysterious illness was AIDS, which was initially referred to as GRID.  Because it was the start of a holiday weekend, and the article was deep in the first section, many may have missed it or read it the next day.  It was a sobering read for a holiday.  And it seemed somehow fitting that July 4th that year was very rainy, in fact it was New York's rainiest 4th of July on record.  (The appearance of this article is how the 1990 movie Longtime Companion begins.)



Discoball2PinesAt the time I was 24 and not yet a regular reader of the Times but my older/wiser boyfriend at the time brought it to my attention.  No doubt it was the primary topic discussion out at Fire Island, and quite a shift from the usual carefree chatter and gossiping that occurred at low tea, on the beach, at house parties or around the dinner table.  Many were still coming down from the high provided by the Saint's opening season, but suddenly we were about to enter a very frightening period that lasted through the mid-90s (when protease inhibitors brought hope). 


RedribbonSo, a patriotic holiday for celebration for the general population has become a day of remembrance for those who left us much too soon.  July 3, 1981 will always be a day of gay infamy.    



Here are some other posts about AIDs published on ZeitGAYst:

Newsweek Puts a Human Face on AIDS

AIDS Hits Close to Home

An AIDS Memorial Sits in Hudson River Park 

Celebrating 25 Years of Positive Living



Dino NJ

PBS Channel 13 in New York aired "Longtime Companion" on a Saturday night that summer of 1990. Perhaps July or August. I remember it being odd in that the film was still considered relatively new and kind of surprised that PBS was able to air a movie so quickly, after it being released several months before.

Came across it unexpectedly that night, kind of a momentous moment for a still-living-at- home, semi-closeted 20 year old.

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