TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re Poor Valentine is Starving in Russia

Re Poor Valentine is Starving in Russia

Jim Stewart (
Thu, 26 Jan 2006 09:18:24 -0800

TELECOM Digest Editor noted in response:

> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: None of what you say is news to me. Red
> Cross was deeply involved on account of the politics of San Francisco
> and the gay community therein during the early 1980's. But I do not
> think Red Cross was hurt as badly from that backlash as was Glide
> Memorial Blood Services. Have you read the book by Randy Shilts (former
> reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle and gay man [now deceased]
> entitled _The Boys in the Band_. That sad story told how, among other
> things, the politics prevalent in the 'gay liberation' movement at the
> time prevented (or so it was thought) any better way of handling things.

I believe you're referring to the book 'And the Band Played On'

A truly remarkable book, both for the honest insight and its ability
to evoke compassion and understanding in borderline homophobes (such
as myself) at the time...

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: You are correct on the name of the
book. Randy Shilts in an interview once said he named the book after
thinking about 'The Boys in the Band', an earlier stage play/later
movie about some (quite frankly) sick, neurotic homosexuals at a
house party in New York City. And Shilts did lay much blame for the
spread of AIDS on the politics of the gay community in San Francisco
in those days. Not so much for doing the _natural thing_ and having
sex but for the squabbling and the politics about the possible 'cures'
for it afterward, and the 'political correctness' so apparent. I guess
they had a horrible time getting the Northern California Bathhouse
Operator's Association to cooperate at all, even when the gay bars and
other gay-based establishments were busy warning everyone in sight,
but the Bathhouse Operators were not about to lose their business by
hanging up any educational posters, etc. What really pains me is how
the fundamentalist ministers try to paint all gay people with the same
paint brush, i.e. "they all (this)" or "they all (that)", and nothing
could be further from the truth. I guess there are still many folks
in SFCA and elsewhere who feel Shilts was totally wrong on his posture
in that book. Many gay people hated him (until his dying days) for
being so outspoken on the topic. PAT]

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