Liz Taylor remembered
The passing of Elizabeth Taylor conjured up many emotional thoughts and feelings this week. True it is the end of an era, of the golden days of Hollywood, but for many gay people Elizabeth Taylor was more than just a glamorous movie star and icon. She was our friend. She was an advocate for AIDS research for our community long before anyone, including President Regan, would dare mention the word. And quite simply she became involved because of the loss of a friend, Rock Hudson.
When she spoke up for him, she was speaking up for an entire community that was being ravaged by this disease in the ‘80s. And she never stopped, with AMFAR she raised millions of dollars to fund research for AIDS, and for this we are truly grateful.
In her own words she said that she could not be silent anymore as “the silence was thunderous.” I was living in New York City at the beginning of the AIDS crisis and I remember when she said that she would “not be silenced, would not give up and would not be ignored.” She saw that there was no “gay agenda, but only a human agenda” when it came to gay rights.
Her passing made me think back to those days in New York, and then I saw on Facebook that Larry Kramer’s 1985 play about AIDS, “The Normal Heart,” was heading to Broadway for the first time (previously, it only played off–Broadway.) This play was one of the most cathartic theatrical experiences I have witnessed and to this day remains one of the most outspoken plays ever written on the topic. I believe the timing for its revival is crucial, as there is a new generation out there that are not aware of what this disease was and how it can effect ones life. Young teenagers must be aware of what came before so that history does not repeat itself.
Elizabeth Taylor’s legacy on her fight for AIDS research and the revival of “The Normal Heart” will hopefully make future generations aware of the past. Both were, and will always be, brilliant to me.