Randy Shilts · 656 pages
Rating: (18.8K votes)
“How very American, he thought, to look at a disease as homosexual or heterosexual, as if viruses had the intelligence to choose between different inclinations of human behavior.”
“What society judged was not the severity of the disease but the social acceptability of the individuals affected with it…”
“We will not have any of these cases in the Soviet Union,” said a Soviet delegate confidently. Don Francis couldn’t resist saying to Marc Conant in his loudest stage whisper, “And they won’t, all right.” In a stern Russian accent, Francis continued: “You have AIDS—bang, bang, bang.” The Soviets were not amused.”
“Most importantly, the epidemic was only news when it was not killing homosexuals. In this sense, AIDS remained a fundamentally gay disease, newsworthy only by the virtue of the fact that it sometimes hit people who weren't gay,”
“Legionnaire’s disease hit a group of predominantly white, heterosexual, middle-aged members of the American Legion. The respectability of the victims brought them a degree of attention and funding for research and treatment far greater than that made available so far to the victims of Kaposi’s sarcoma.
I want to emphasize the contrast, because the more popular Legionnaire’s disease affected fewer people and proved less likely to be fatal. What society judged was not the severity of the disease but the social acceptability of the individuals affected with it…. I intend to fight any effort by anyone at any level to make public health policy regarding Kaposi’s sarcoma or any other disease on the basis of his or her personal prejudices regarding other people’s sexual preferences or life-styles”
“It was a truism to people active in the gay movement that the greatest impediments to homosexuals’ progress often were not heterosexual bigots but closeted homosexuals.”
“The closeted homosexual is far less likely to demand fair or just treatment for his kind, because to do so would call attention to himself.”
“and that it would come here too. Paul”
“The primary cause of death was listed as cryptococcal pneumonia, which was a consequence of his Kaposi’s sarcoma and Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia. Those, however, were only the obvious diseases. The KS lesions, it turned out, covered not only his skin but also his lungs, bronchi, spleen, bladder, lymph nodes, mouth, and adrenal glands. His eyes were infected not only with cytomegalovirus but also with Cryptococcus and the Pneumocystis protozoa. It was the first time the pathologist could recall seeing the protozoa infect a person’s eye. Ken’s mother claimed his body from the hospital the day after he died. By the afternoon, Ken’s remains were cremated and tucked into a small urn. His Kaposi’s sarcoma had led to the discovery in San Francisco of the epidemic that would later be called Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. He had been the first KS case in the country reported to a disbelieving Centers for Disease Control just eight months before. Now, he was one of eighteen such stricken people in San Francisco and the fourth man in the city to die in the epidemic, the seventy-fourth to die in the United States. There would be many, many more.”
“You can't fix this,' she ground out.
'That is not true. There is nothing anyone could hold over you that could not be overcome.'
'By what?' she demanded. 'Rainbows and sprites and the everlasting good wishes of your family? It won't work, Gregory. It won't. The Bridgertons may be powerful, but you cannot change the past, and you cannot bend the future to suit your whims ... You don't understand. You can't possibly. You are all so happy, so perfect.'
'We are not.'
'You are. You don't even know that you are, and you can't conceive that the rest of us are not, that we might struggle and try and be good and still not receive what we wish for.”
“Seaside gusts of wind,
And a house in which we don't live,
And the shadow of a cherished cedar
In front of a forbidden window...
Perhaps there is someone in this world
To whom I could send all these lines. Well then!
Let the lips smile bitterly
And a tremor touch the heart again.”
“When others' obsessions are not ours, we are sad for them, and we talk of how empty their lives will be if they don't achieve their empty goal: the gymnastics prize, the firm partnership. But there is a monomania in which it is the focus, the sense of transport, that is the real pleasure.”
“In the dark, Dave reached for Roger's hand as they watched the shadowed lovemaking. "Were we ever that beautiful?"
"You still are," Roger told him.
"Maybe we should make the most of the hurricane."
"This is definitely foreplay."
"It's like Tumblr, the live version.”
“Yep. The tingle in my groin is unmistakable. I've got the hots for the good reverend. I thought I was going to hell before, but this pretty much cements it.”
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