Larry Kramer

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Larry Kramer’s appearance in a 1982 news clip is emblematic both of his outspokenness and the climate of confusion into which he spoke. Kramer was among the first activists to address HIV/AIDS, and in the process shaped some of its most enduring artistic and organizational legacies: Gay Men’s Health Crisis; ACT UP (link goes to an interview with Kramer on its origins); Reports From the Holocaust, a compilation of his speeches and essays; and a twin set of semi-autobiographical plays, The Normal Heart and The Destiny of Me.

Kramer’s lack of tolerance for politicking (as seen in this clip) and his anti-promiscuity views made him a controversial figure among the gay community in his home city of New York; when he was selected to be the grand marshal of a pride parade, it was in Dallas, Texas. His speeches have continually focused on combatting apathy and historical amnesia.

Kramer married his longtime partner David Webster in an intensive care unit a month after the Defense of Marriage Act was struck down by the Supreme Court.

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