To honor my late family, I have opted to speak out on AIDS. Change begins with me. I am on a personal campaign to encourage women to get tested and to replace ignorance with knowledge; shame with liberty.
We Were Here has taken me on an incredible journey of rediscovery -- of forgotten details of terrible suffering, of moments of extraordinary generosity, but, mostly, of a kind of bewilderment that this whole nightmare actually happened.
We've come a long way in the battle against HIV/AIDS. However, we must remain vigilant: We cannot ignore the startling statistics of new HIV infections of gay and bisexual men, especially among black and Hispanic men.
In 2008 we began to help our students' caretakers, their elderly grandmothers. What began as a handful of guardians has blossomed into a program assisting over 6,200 grannies who are self-organized into 91 groups in three districts.
Suddenly we jumped from Miss Fire Island 1983 to Miss Fire Island 1998. Um, what? At first, I was like, "Are all those queens from the '80s and '90s really so busy they can't be here?" Then I got it: the missing queens weren't missing. They were gone.