Sunday, March 22, 2020

This 1966 photo of a group of gay men was made at Jacob Riis Beach,
appropriately located in Queens, New York.


  1. I always find pictures of gay men in the late 60s and 70s poignant as I I cannot but wonder how many of them managed to survive the outbreak of AIDS. We called it "the plague". I lost all the friends I hung out with - 21 of them and I got off lightly. I remember the incontinent condemnation of the time - we were told that we were being punished by God for our sins and iniquity. I remember the Chief Constable of the Manchester Police, Sir James Anderton - yes, he got a knighthood for it - claiming that gay men were in a "human cesspool of their own making" and how the government scrambled behind the scenes to keep him in post. He is now 87 and has yet to go to his Catholic heaven. I remember the swivel-eyed, ranting preachers loitering on street corners openly abusing gay men with dire threats of the endless torments and relentless agonies of the fires of Gehenna for all eternity - when they weren't telling Catholics they were going to hell. There have now been 35 million deaths from AIDS in Africa, all of them heterosexual. How the finger pointing and name calling has ceased. In the Middle Ages, it was the Jews who were blamed for the Black Death. Once again, the world is plagued with pestilence but with everyone equally under threat, it is quite remarkable how silent the bigots are. There's nothing like a scapegoat. I remember how we had to beg for help - they wouldn't even bury the bodies. Yet today, despite grumbles over delay, our prime minister has put the country on a war footing, with bailouts in the billions and the army mobilized as he tells us he will be "guided by the science". Just perhaps we have made some progress in the last 40 years and those sacrifices weren't in vain. But I won't bank on it. London is on lockdown and I hear there are now 77 cases in Hawaii. Stay safe in your paradise on earth.

    1. Yes, 77 cases and one fatality. We go on statewide lockdown tonight, but most of the state has already been on local restrictions for some time. Keep safe, everyone. I also lived through the AIDS years, so I know what you mean about that.