Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

World AIDS Day 2018 ramblings
by Joey McDonald
2018-12-05

This article shared 1887 times since Wed Dec 5, 2018
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


I arrived at Naval Station Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay, ready and eager to be honorably discharged, on March 18, 1980. I was lucky enough to get to spend two weeks in San Francisco before coming home to Chicago.

It was like being in Mecca for this young gay lad. I explored the area: cruising the streets of The Castro, taking pics of the sights like crooked Lombard Street in Russian Hill, tried to channel my inner hippie stoned out of my mind in Haight Ashbury, was confused by a sexy but wacky Scientologist at Twin Peaks, shared a cigar ( among other things ) on the Powerhouse patio, had a date at the Balcony, and spent a weekend in San Jose with a shipmate and his wife—all the while, reveling in all that was gay and bohemian and leather and trippy and free.

I was a sexy, horny 24-year-old Black gay man with an education and an agenda, on the edge of manhood and ready to start the rest of my life! I didn't know that there was a ticking bomb building up, set to start exploding—and intent on changing life as I knew it—in little more than a year.

I arrived back in Chicago on April 3 with an agenda: get settled in at home, get a job, find a place of my own, find a boyfriend and settle down. But first, I needed to explore the city and find my community. I jumped in feet first, and, in my first two weeks home, I had hit the Gold Coast, Dugan's Bistro, Club Baths, Broadway Limited, Sherrie's, Manhandler, Machine Shop, O'Banions, Redoubt, Alfie's and Man's Country.

I met people everywhere I went, and for the most part enjoyed being "fresh meat" while it lasted, Like I said, I was a sexy, horny 24-year-old Black gay man with an education and an agenda. As Annie Lennox would sing many years later, "Sweet dreams are made of this/Who am I to disagree?/I travel the world and the seven seas/Everybody's looking for something. Some of them want to use you/Some of them want to be used by you/Some of them want to abuse you/Some of them want to be abused." It was the culture of the times, and I fell into it. Fully.

Everything was great. I got a job. I got some hangout places. I ran into a guy I knew in high school, and Ray-Ray and I quickly became best friends. Through him, I met lots of people and made more friends. At the Pride Parade that year, I met a guy named David who was living with his boyfriend Paul, and I found myself in my first poly relationship. Through David and Paul, I met a sweet boy named Heath from Lincoln, Nebraska, that I was immediately smitten with. We began dating at the beginning of November 1980, but our romance was short-lived. In February 1981, lovely, beautiful, 22-year-old Heath would be the first person I knew to die of some weird, mysterious disease. It all happened so quick: He thought he had a cold, then a week later the flu, and then he was so sick he went to the ER and was admitted to the hospital. His parents and brother came, were informed that he had a rare pneumonia and, within two weeks, he had died. That fast.

Over the next couple of years, guys around me were getting sick and some where dying: guys that I knew intimately and guys I called family and guys I knew as friends and guys I kind of knew and guys I didn't know at all. Sick and dying or dead. And you started seeing fear in people's eyes in the bars and on the streets. First, it was one here, one there—including my first roommate, Jim. Then it was a couple. Then there were a few at a time. Then there was a bunch. And you noticed people held you less close, and never kissed you on the lips, and touches no longer lingered, and no one would eat off of your plate or sip from your drink.

In 1982, the CDC announced that this thing that was happening was to be called GRID. And more guys got sick, and some died, and more guys and more guys. And it hurt. Every single one of their deaths broke me ( and everyone else ) a little bit. In 1983, the first women were diagnosed with AIDS, proving that it was not a "gay disease," as some had declared. Then children were diagnosed, meaning it was passed on from their mothers. And, always, more guys.

By 1986, the notebook that I had used for a phone book since 1974 had notations about deaths on more than 50 entries. I stopped counting in 1987, when the 220th person I knew had died. And still they died. Then my ex, David died, and his partner Paul shortly after. The Western Blot test ( which detects HIV antibodies ) was approved, as was the AIDS drug AZT. By the end of 1987, 71,751 cases of AIDS had been reported to the World Health Organization, with 47,022 in the United States. It was also estimated that there were 5-10 million people living with HIV worldwide.

In 1988, Dec. 1 was declared as World AIDS Day.

In 2017, approximately 36.9 million people were living with HIV/AIDS. Of these, 1.8 million were children under 15.

An estimated 1.8 million world-=wide were newly diagnosed as being HIV+.

Approximately 38 million people have died from AIDS and complications of HIV/AIDS since the epidemic began. Many of them were my friends, my loves, my confidants, my mentors, my confessors, my family. I have lost more people than I care to count. Many of them were just on the cusp of being an adult and we never got to see who they would have been or what they would have contributed to the world. Others were wel-established doing great things and some did small things great.

Sometimes the faces get blurred, but I never forget them.

Joey McDonald is a community activist and advocate working toward full equality for all LGBTQ people.


This article shared 1887 times since Wed Dec 5, 2018
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Howard Brown developing new center in Northalsted area
2021-01-14
Howard Brown Health has chosen Inland National Development Company, LLC to develop its newest healthcare center in Chicago's Northalsted neighborhood (formerly known as Boystown), according to REJournals. There are plans ...


Gay News

Vulnerable communities slow to adopt key strategy to stop HIV's spread
2021-01-11
--From a UCLA press release - LOS ANGELES — Taking a daily pill to prevent HIV transmission is one of the most effective biomedical strategies available to combat the virus' spread, yet use of this health regimen remains low among vulnerable communities ...


Gay News

OP-ED: New Year's Eve circuit parties go on despite COVID-19 travel concerns
2021-01-08
This past New Year's Eve, thousands of gay men flocked to Mexico to attend a New Year's eve "White Party" hosted by long time party promoter Jeffrey Sanker—the host of the annual white party in Palm ...


Gay News

National Minority AIDS Council responds to attack on U.S. Capitol
2021-01-06
Jan. 6, 2021 - National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) Executive Director Paul Kawata has released the following statement on today's attack on the U.S. Capitol. "NMAC is completely saddened, sickened, and in total shock over the riots at the U.S. ...


Gay News

OPINION Where do we go from here (redux)?
2020-12-28
The year 2020 has been a stressful one. With George Floyd's death as an inflection point about race and racism in America, an unprecedented presidential election and social unrest during an ongoing pandemic with a rising ...


Gay News

WORLD Lithuania outlook, HIV/AIDS and COVID, lawyer arrested, trans youth
2020-12-27
Lithuania appears set to legalize same-sex civil partnerships next year, but same-sex marriage could be up to a decade away, according to Tomas Raskevicius—the country's only openly LGBT+ lawmaker, Reuters reported. "We're going to submit t ...


Gay News

AIDS Garden projected for fall 2021 completion
2020-12-22
State Rep. Yoni Pizer convened a virtual meeting Dec. 21 to discuss the progress of the AIDS Garden Chicago. The long-planned site is "destined to become a true Chicago landmark and destination," said Pizer as he ...


Gay News

AIDS Garden Chicago installation update coming Dec. 21
2020-12-18
CHICAGO — On Monday, Dec. 21 at 11 a.m., 12th District State Representative Yoni Pizer will be hosting a virtual town hall with fellow elected officials, community partners, and project managers to provide a progress report ...


Gay News

Report: HIV & Aging, Integrating Services to Improve Care for Overlooked Population
2020-12-08
--From a press release - (December 8, 2020) — HIV has become an aging issue now that more than half of people living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S. are 50 or older. Thanks to advancements in treatment, people with HIV can ...


Gay News

AIDS Foundation Chicago, Cook County Health mark World AIDS Day
2020-11-30
--From a press release - AIDS Foundation Chicago (AFC) and Cook County Health are collaborating for a special virtual event in honor of World AIDS Day, a global movement to increase public awareness and dialogue about HIV and AIDS, on Dec. ...


Gay News

VIEWS Taking care of your mental health during a COVID holiday season
2020-11-26
By Adam Ouanes - This holiday season is unlike any before, and it leaves many people feeling unsure about how to get into the holiday spirit. It's not unusual for many people to find this time of year overwhelming, but ...


Gay News

AFC holds virtual 'Gala35' celebration
2020-11-23
AIDS Foundation Chicago (AFC) marked 35 years with a virtual "Gala35" celebration and awards ceremony Nov. 19. Among the honorees were Newsweb Corporation Chairperson, Alphawood Foundation President and social-justice activist ...


Gay News

Day With(out) Art: Transmissions launches online Nov. 30
2020-11-18
--From a press release - NEW YORK, Nov. 16, 2020 — Visual AIDS, the only contemporary arts organization fully committed to raising AIDS and HIV awareness through dialogue, art exhibitions and public forums, announces their ...


Gay News

Congressional co-chairs introduce World AIDS Day resolution
2020-11-18
U.S. Reps. Barbara Lee (CA-13) and Rep. Jenniffer Gonzalez Colon (PR-At Large), co-chairs of the Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus, introduced a bipartisan resolution supporting the goals of World AIDS Day, according ...


Gay News

The Amazon Trail: Rats fleeing a sinking ship
2020-11-14
I've heard the idiom "like rats fleeing a sinking ship" often lately, and while the metaphor is apt for what's going on in the United States, at our house it's even more befitting. Merriam Webster notes, ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.