Same-sex love, once “the love that dare not speak its name,” has been affirmed by the highest court in the land. With its decision in Windsor , the Supreme Court established that the federal government cannot deny the “personhood and dignity” of legally married same-sex couples. It’s a stunning turnaround for a court that 27 years ago said gay sex was not entitled to legal protections, even behind closed doors. It’s a moment gay rights advocates deserve to celebrate.
But in our exaltation over wedded bliss, we are forgetting another kind of “til death do us part”: the bonds that tie us together as a group, across social strata, race and generations — the same bonds that helped us fight AIDS.
During the worst years of the AIDS crisis, from 1981 to the advent of effective medications in 1996, the gay community forged a new definition of love: It encompassed traditional romantic love, but it went beyond the love between two people. Often shunned by our biological families, we created our own, complete with brothers and sisters who cared and fought for one another and elders who mentored the young. You only had to be at the 1987 meeting when ACT UP was formed — as the 52-year-old playwright Larry Kramer looked down on a packed hall of people half his age, exhorting us to fight for our lives — to know that we were about to embark on a remarkable journey together.
Today, though, we’re so caught up in the giddiness of the marriage-equality movement that we’ve abandoned the collective fight against HIV and AIDS.
And yes, it’s still a fight. HIV remains the largest health issue facing the gay community. From 2008 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), new HIV infections remained steady overall but rose a startling 22 percent in young gay men. At the current rates, more than half of college-aged gay men will become HIV-positive by the age of 50…. Peter Staley -Washington Post 2012