Vito Russo, the legendary gay and AIDS activist whose achievements have already earned him a biography and several film documentaries, is best known as the author of The Celluloid Closet and as a co-founder of GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation)
When you get down to it, the word "liberation" really does fit. We do all have an inner political prisoner. That little gay boy, raised as Ian said as though he's straight, up until the moment he comes out.
In the case of Klinghoffer, as in the case of Cruising, the bottom lines for me are simple. I am concerned about some of the rhetoric and tactics of some gay radicals, but I am a lot more concerned about homophobia.
In America we celebrate many liberties, among them the freedom to publish. The logical consequence of the right to produce books is the freedom to read. Now, this may be a "chicken or egg" dilemma, but whichever way you look at it, one action should naturally follow the other.
People who have HIV/AIDS are able to live longer than ever before, but only if they can get their hands on the drugs. AIDS is still very much a crisis. ACT UP SF is calling for free meds for low-income people, more affordable meds for everyone, and more transparency.
Vito spotlights the passionate, dedicated and fierce-yet-gentle activist who help found organizations such as ACT UP, exposed negative stereotypes of homosexuals in mass-market films in his legendary book The Celluloid Closet and fought for government action during the AIDS crisis.
"Why We Fight" was a fiery 1988 speech given before a tumultuous crowd of angry ACT UP demonstrators at the New York State Capitol in Albany. Today, July 11, on what would have been Vito's 66th birthday, we present "Why We Fight" in its entirety.
Beyond his work as a film scholar, I learned about Vito's life as an activist within the early gay liberation movement, and how he integrated his love of movies with his critique of how they represented LGBT people.