THE BLOG

I Am Absolutely Furious and I Don't Know What to Do With Myself

03/12/2016 09:59 am ET | Updated Mar 12, 2016

hillary clinton

My Uncle Ward was 37 -- exactly the age I am now -- when he returned to Wisconsin to die of AIDS-related complications in the spare room in my grandparents' house. They lived next door to my family and I remember waiting by our dining room window hoping to catch a glimpse of him climbing out of the car that had fetched him and my mother from the airport and back from packing up what I imagined was his glamorous, movie-star-esque life in New York City.

It was the winter of 1990 and I was just 11 years old, too young to fully understand what had and was happening to him and thousands of other gay men like him across America but too old to not know something was very, very wrong with the world. When my uncle finally arrived I remember thinking someone was playing some kind of sick joke on me because instead of seeing the beautiful, gap-toothed young man with the sharpest, most wonderfully wicked tongue I have ever known, there was what I can only describe as a b-grade horror movie monster crumpled in his place. A gruesome sack of thin gray skin and bones that couldn't have weighed more than 100 pounds, he was unable to walk even the short distance from the car to my grandparents' house by himself and had to be held up by my mom and dad as he agonizingly ambled the short distance up the driveway.

It was the last time I would see my uncle "alive" (I use that word very, very loosely) -- by the end of April he was gone, along with an entire generation of gay men just like him.

26 years later, sitting here this sunny March morning in the same city that my uncle once called home, wiping tears off my keyboard as I type this story for the very first time, I am absolutely furious and I don't know what to do with myself.

When I think of my mother having to bury her younger brother, I am absolutely furious and I don't know what to do with myself.

When I think of the "vacation" my family took several years later to view the AIDS Quilt in Washington D.C., I am absolutely furious and I don't know what to do with myself.

When I think of the last 20 years and all of the energy that I -- and so many others like me -- have spent pleading with my own body, mostly futilely, to not be frightened of my desires, I am absolutely furious and I don't know what to do with myself.

When I think of Ronald and Nancy Reagan and how their administration literally laughed in my community's face as it was being ravaged -- as it was experiencing a literal holocaust because they didn't give one fat fuck about a bunch of faggots -- I am absolutely furious and I don't know what to do with myself.

When I think of Hillary Clinton offering her eloquent ode yesterday to Nancy Reagan for the late first lady's supposed "very effective, low key [AIDS] advocacy" -- thereby not only ignoring the horrible, evil truth of what happened but actually rewriting history and casting Reagan as some kind of hero, I am absolutely furious and I don't know what to do with myself.

When I think of Clinton then tweeting her terse, 30-word apology for "misspeaking," as if she had simply bungled some trivial sports score or box office tally, I am absolutely furious and I don't know what to do with myself.

When I read social media statuses from people who say, "Hillary said sorry, what more do you want from her," as if we are the ones who have anything to justify about what has transpired over the last 24 hours, I am absolutely furious and I don't know what to do with myself.

And when I think of my fever-hot fury and how lately it uncontrollably rushes to the surface of my skin more and more frequently and is accompanied by a crippling panic about where this country has been, where this country is going, who wants to lead us there and the things they are willing to say -- no matter how untrue, no matter how awful -- to get that chance, I am absolutely terrified and I don't know what to do with myself.

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