|GMHC CEO Kelsey Louie, Larry Kramer and Jean Carlomusto at HBO headquarters.|
The documentary, directed by Jean Carlomusto, chronicles the life and work of this playwright and the most prominent HIV activist since the 1990s. His activism was previously portrayed in the movie "The Normal Heart", based on his play of 1985.
During the Q&A, moderated by GMHC's CEO Kelsey Louie, Kramer encouraged people to "make more noise" since he "don't hear that anger now".
"This is a terrible time for activism. The times of ACT UP and its power were yesterday. They were motivated by a lot of very frightened people who were afraid they were about to die. Successful activism requires being angry, being afraid, and being obnoxious. And as a population, we are not very good at a lot of that, when we have to be.... We managed to be here and we have made roads into them. We have to somehow take this moment and make it work for us", Kramer said.
Osvaldo Perdomo, Secretary of GMHC board of directors, asked him about his feelings on PrEP.
"Prep is fine. It's a chapter from here to here to find a cure (rephrased). We are still so far away a cure that it is truly depressing. It's very hard to me (to see) a globe that doesn't care about the people who are getting infected that now include hundreds of millions all over the world not just gay people... to pay attention. I get very depressed," he answered.
He also reinforced his argument that HIV crisis was a "form of genocide" by the U.S. government for ignoring it because it was affecting the gay community. Answering a question about the presence of black activists back then, he said it was "extremely difficult" to find them in these circles, but did not explained why, but added that he and others went numerous times to their communities to convince them to join the movement.
He also shared some experiences such as saying he sometimes feels "guilty" for giving his husband a wedding in a hospital but "such is life". He ended his thoughts saying he was "fighting to stay alive" but recovering.
I had the opportunity to ask him the following, which I would rephrase:
I'm 24 years old. I'm touched by what you said previously of the common experience you all in this room have of having lost someone, but I haven't lost anyone for HIV. My generation, we don't know what it is to loose someone from HIV. I think my generation don't see HIV as ours, for us it's history, to another generation. So we don't discuss it. Basically, most of them don't care. Many don't even know what's PrEp or refuses to use condoms. And the fact is that around 45% of people with HIV don't know their status. What do you think organizations or individuals could do to make young people aware or make HIV part of us as a community?Larry Kramer (there are some words missing I can't figure out due to a low audio):
“It’s very sad. There has been efforts to put information out, prevention, making people angry, making people ______ and has not succeeded... At the height of HIV in the early 90s, ACT UP was going really strong in chapters all over the world but in America there were no more than any 10, 000 thousand people in some form active around the country who were fighting for AIDS. And to this day I can’t understand how people can’t fight for their own rights.
I don’t know… As I said we have to concentrate on being proud of being gay and we want to fight not for ourselves but for our brothers and sisters. I wish the President would say something. I wish Congress would say something. I wish more people in power who would come forward and being supportive and talked about it. I know there are certainly some young people who don’t care, that they were yesterday’s mashed potatoes. Abraham Lincoln was yesterday’s mashed potato. How would be to the world to have _______ one the most important president was gay. That would be great.
Black studies was not officially considered until the mistress of Thomas Jefferson Sally Hemings who was slave and was indeed black, suddenly it was ok to teach Black studies. Suddenly, it would be to ok to teach gay studies if only with a handful of the people who I write about, the American people, would known to be gay. We have a history where…. (lost in sound)I hear what you are saying. And ______ it’s a tragedy.
“And also, Samy, I would like to add we have the data that tells us that the population of young men of color, gay, bisexual, age 18-24 is the group were HIV infections are rising at the highest rates. We have the data. We also have the tools by PeP, PrEP We always said we wanted the political will and if we did we could really make a difference. And we had the Governor Cuomo’s announcement about $200 million for HIV/AIDS care and GMHC who was integral in coming up with that plan, that blueprint, I sat on the Governors’ task force, GMHC was also instrumental in developing the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and they are aligned for the first time, I think, there is an alignment around a strategy to end AIDS and GMHC is definitely at the forefront of that work. One of the most exciting things that just happened is that we received news of a $600,000 grant over three years to expand outreach and testing efforts and what is great is a challenge grant, which means that for every year, which means that for every year we are ask to find another 200,000 per year for targeting that group of people that don’t know they are HIV positive.Edie Windsor:
"Jesus Christ! (Her phone’s alarm started to sound inside her bag). I have to believe it. I can’t find the damn phone. Sorry… " (Audience laughs).Larry Kramer to me:
“You are obviously educated and sympathetic to this problem. And if people of your age are talking to people your age that can help a lot."Kelsey Louie:
"Absolutely. While there are promises of a lot of good things to come there are still a long way ahead. And we are happy to invite you all to be part of that team that will end AIDS by 2020 in New York State, in the country and the world."Here it is the full documentary: