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La...!


For many gay men, AIDS is a thing of the past. They should know better. That's why when I was invited to a viewing party of 'It's a Sin' I jumped to it. I have heard of the series, set in London in the eighties and starring Olly Alexander (from Years and Years) as one of the main characters. It's a Sin tells the story of a tight group of friends in 1980s in London who live through the beginning of the AIDS epidemic when it was considered a far away threat. These queer and straight characters tells us the story of some of the reactions and the attitudes people had when AIDS hit the UK. Also, John Gray posted about it, and my curiosity was piqued. 

It's funny, how the attitudes of people in the UK during the beginning of the epidemic were similar to the attitude many gay men have towards the disease now: it was other people's problem, it was not going to happen to them, it was not real, it was a shame. But AIDS is still here. I've lost some friends to AIDS. They all died years ago, but the idea that AIDS kills is not strange to me. My friend Marcus lived with the virus for many, many years. He participated in many a drug trial. One of my best friends lives with the virus today. AIDS for me was and is real.

With the advent of retroviral drug cocktails and Truvada, AIDS has somehow stopped being a reality for many gay men. AIDS is a nebulose, intangible threat. Something that happened years ago to other people. Gay men today think that people don't die of AIDS anymore. Nothing further from the truth. People still die of AIDS. The stigma that Rush Limbaugh used to mock gay men is not as prevalent today, but people in the United States (and the world) still die of AIDS. So watching It's a Sin was a revelation for some in our little watch parties. I watched it wit a group of friends via video conference. It lacked the fun yo have with actual watch parties but it allowed for great convos after each episode. And it provided an opportunity to talk to friends I have not seen in more than a year. 

It was a walk down memory lane, especially because the music Russel T. Davies (who gave us Queer As Folk) tells a story as touching as the miniseries itself. For many, listening to those songs is going to be bittersweet. They are going to bring memories and they are also going to remind them (as they did me) that even though those songs are thirty years old and they still sound fresh to some ears, the attitudes people had about AIDS are very similar (and as disastrous) to the attitudes some people have about COVID-19 nowadays. Like AIDS, COVID-19 affects with a more terrible urgency the bodies of people society consider less important: frontline workers in big cities and BIPOC in rural zones. Frontline workers tend to be Black, brown and people of color and for the big majority of the GOP they are do not represent their 'base'. It was clear when IMPOTUS2 did not respond to the threat and it's clear today when we learn that vaccination rate for COVID-19 still favors white people overwhelmingly. 

So yeah, if you have HBO or one of your friends have it (or you get the free trial), organize a virtual watch party and bring the popcorn. The miniseries is well worth it. You'll laugh and you'll cry and most importantly, you'll remember that the more things change, the more they stay the same.  

History repeats itself. And those who do not learn from the past pay the price in future, they say.

XOXO

P.S. I love the Pet Shop Boys.





Comments

  1. Nothing ever changes , unless we MAKE it change ... Joseph Chaplik, a RepubliQAnon Congressman in Arizona, says masks don't prevent the spread of COVID because ... wait for it, it's epically ignorant ... in the 80s people thought HIV “was going to wipe our global destruction of human bodies with AIDS ... yet no masks were required.”
    The ignorance is real and it's still with us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Whoa
      The Repugs are really the epitome of ignorance (the constituents) and the summit of gaslighting. They can get away with this kind of shit because they are one and the same.
      Really.

      XOXO

      Delete
  2. When I worked with our local AIDS organization to "celebrate" their 30th Anniversary, we did a whole series of interviews and posted them on the website. The issue we saw coming to the fore: Gay men engaging in unprotected sexual activity to deliberately become infected. Other young men who were being counseled thought the virus wasn't a problem because there were drugs to kill it. Oh, honey, no...all it does is tamp it down. You're correct, too, in that the HIV/AIDS history is repeating itself with CV-19.
    Then you have people like DeathSantis, who ensured that his wealthy FL enclaves got the vaccine first. These people are disgusting excuses for human beings.
    All that said, have a good weekend, Six. XOXO

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And that's the problem, Big. That's the problem.
      A whole generation of gay men was wiped and gay men today don't even know what that meant. I've heard of the 'breeders' and such. Inconceivable. Because there's drugs to minimize the effect of it, it does not mean they should actively pursue it!
      Oh, I read about DeSantis. Typical Repug.
      And thanks, Big!

      OXOX

      Delete
  3. I'm looking forward to watching this series too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was actually very well done and the acting is good!
      I was pleasantly surprised. It also showcases the role of women during the epidemic.

      XOXO

      Delete
  4. interesting. What I remember most is how so many felt they needed to lie when they were diagnosed, even to their gay friends. And then they withdrew from the world.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, shame has always been at the core of AIDS.
      The closet can do terrible things to people. And the fact that gay men shunned other gay men who were sick was shameful. Shameful. Guilt by association.

      XOXO

      Delete
  5. Replies
    1. Hahahaha
      Did you watch it? That cute custom they had of singing 'La..!" to each other was super adorable! It's that language you share with your friends and nobody else!

      XOXO

      Delete
  6. Unfortunately I’m without HBO but I saw the trailer and it looks like a very interesting production. And AIDS never went away, as you said. We finally got better at education and prevention. But for those who are low on the economic scale, the tools necessary to remain safe are not available to them. We have to do better with healthcare in this country. EVERYONE should be covered and safe.

    And I’m sorry you’ve lost friends to this killer. It never should have happened. Just like today.

    XOXO 👨‍❤️‍đź’‹‍👨

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, bae. It's only on HBO, one of those specials. Each streaming service has their own exclusives.
      And I cannot imagine that some people think AIDS went away. I can't. Hopefully series like this give people a new outlook.

      XOXO

      Delete
  7. Adore the PSBs. They rule. And that song was my go-to for many, many years. I was so turned off by much of what I saw produced about AIDs during the pandemic. That Tom Hanks film as a tragedy... like something from Leni Riefenstahl. And everything else felt far too constructed, artificial and manipulative. Everyone was afraid. And everybody feared 'the ugly'. Because that's what one became in the eyes of others. In real life... we bore witness to so much that was ugly. It was so scarring, not only can't I watch something like It's A Sin, I also still can't talk about it...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, the PSBs are fantastic!
      I have not been able to find many of their records . Only some 12". They're so representative of a whole era. And the films dealing with AIDS were made by straight people with straight people for straight people. Most were maudlin and contrived.
      Everyone was afraid. Everybody was in denial. They show that in the series.

      XOXO

      Delete
  8. a bit off topic, about covid19.
    Even in Italy there is someone who says that COVID is little more than a simple flu. They talk about health dictatorship etc. They are simply pathetic. But now the vaccination campaign is starting. The strategy should have been ready in January, it is not yet ready now. We are in total disorganization!

    ReplyDelete

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