Hello again beautiful humans! It’s June 28, 2017. Today marks the 48th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. Let me give a quick synopsis. The Stonewall Inn was a gay bar in Greenwich Village in Manhattan. It was constantly being raided by the New York City Police Department for being such an establishment. On that summer night in 1969, the patrons fought back. They incited a riot that spilled onto the street, and lasted a few days. This night was noted as the beginning of the gay liberation movement. To learn the full story, there are tons of articles and even a movie. Just Google that shit.
It hasn’t been an easy journey since then. The AIDS epidemic took the lives of millions in the early 80’s all the way through the late 90’s. My great Uncle Teddy was a casualty of this epidemic. He died of the virus in 1997.
I was in my adolescence when he passed away. Though my memories of him are limited, they are very vivid. I liked visiting his house primarily because, he had a big screen tv. That was the coolest thing since sliced bread to me. Other than that, there was beautiful art, souvenirs from exotic places, vinyl records galore, and gorgeous decanters on a silver bar cart. It smelled like the 80’s and strawberry incense. The atmosphere birthed my fascination of art, beauty, and big ass TV’s.
My family didn’t reveal his true cause of death to me, until I was much older. I suppose they didn’t want me think less of him. Maybe the gay talk was more uncomfortable than the sex talk. It was understood, but never discussed. I would go visit him, and his friends were dudes who wore crop tops, cropped shorts, cowboy boots, and had gnarly porn staches. I just thought they were fun. I never associated them in any other category.
My uncle never came out. He just told his my mother and grandmother that he was diagnosed with Aids. My mom felt as though that was his way of saying he was gay. It was still known as a “gay disease” in the US. He died 2 years later at age 45.
I hate that he’s not here to see all the progress that’s been made. I hate that he will never get to marry his partner. I hate that he can’t see a same sex couple normalized on tv. Most of all, I hate that his life was cut short from a disease that you can live 25 years longer with today. I know there were millions of others too. RIP my dear Uncle Teddy, you’ll live on in my heart.