On this day in 1978, San Francisco’s first openly-gay supervisor, Harvey Milk, was murdered. He paved a great way for LGBT activism nationwide.
See also the San Francisco Chronicle piece that is required reading for this film, which is premiering at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco on 8 April:
Since 1981, when the first man succumbed to a disease that did not yet have a name, AIDS has taken more than 20,000 lives in San Francisco, most of them gay men, most of them decades too soon.
Students and lawyers, musicians and doctors, drugstore clerks and teachers: They were young men exploring sex and drugs, falling in love for the first time, building a political movement. They were still growing up.
AIDS gutted their generation. But not everyone died. Many men had the remarkable luck — and often brutal misfortune — to struggle on. Now some have fought AIDS for half their lives, and by the most primitive measure, they’ve won.
In San Francisco and across the country, AIDS has become an older person’s disease: More than half of those living with AIDS or HIV, the virus that causes it, are now 50 or older. In San Francisco alone, 6,000 gay men have been living with HIV or AIDS for at least 20 years. Some have been able to thrive. But most have not.
An incredible story of surviving the AIDS/HIV epidemic:
More than 30 years ago, when he learned he was infected with the virus that causes AIDS, Peter was certain his life was over. Since then, he’d lost not just his lover and his friends, but his livelihood, his community, his home.
But on this Christmas Eve, on the cusp of another new year, Peter was still here: 61, his beard flecked with gray, his eyes still a striking, youthful blue. A survivor of a plague that killed tens of thousands just like him.
“I’m the luckiest unlucky person in the world,” he often said. “No one wants to be the last man standing.”