Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Project: Calling All Young Gay Writers, I Need Your Help

The AIDS crisis in the gay community changed everything. It caused a huge backlash against gay people and thus setback the gay rights movement and suddenly created the image of the gay AIDS victim. As all educated people know AIDS has nothing to do with being gay. Anyone can get AIDS, but it did hit the gay community really hard in the 80s because most gay men did not see the need to use protection. Gays and AIDS have now  become common words to see together and sadly this still spreads the horrible idea that AIDS is some sort of punishment for being homosexual. Because the gay community is made of fighters they took on AIDS and were some of the first to stand up and fight for proper treatment, education, and prevention. In doing so much was lost. I firmly believe the gay rights movement would be in a completely different place had AIDS never happened. Generations of gay rights leaders died in the 80s and 90s from AIDS complications. It became increasingly difficult for gay rights to not be seen in the light of misconceptions about AIDS. I think we are slowly pulling out of this, but it has been a long struggle.

This crisis also changed gay literature forever. In the 1970s gay literature was finally coming out of the shadows. People no longer had to write tragic endings for their gay characters to get published, gay presses were forming, more and more gay magazines and journals were around, and then suddenly AIDS happened and a good portion of the literature turned toward the topic. Why wouldn't it? Gay men in the 80s were losing lovers, friends, and their created families. They were also trying to get the word out through their novels and poetry. This literature helped put a face with the AIDS crisis. 

A good portion of our, still popular, gay writers were of age during the AIDS crisis and still write about it today. Michael Cunningham is one of my favorite gay fiction writers and nearly all of his books deal slightly with AIDS. The poets are the much the same (great example: Mark Doty). The crisis in the 80s hasn't left these writers and still haunts much of gay literature that is being made today. 

What's my point? Well I'm interested in how young gay writers approach the topic of AIDS. I've been wanting to do a project based around this topic for quite some time and I've finally decided to jump in and do it. So I'm looking for young gay writers and wanting to get their perspective. 

First things first, what do I mean by young gay writers? Honestly I'd like to hear from anyone on the topic, but I am particularly interested in gay writers who were not of a sexual age during the AIDS crisis (I'm referring to the height of the problem for the gay community and in no way mean the crisis is over or that people, gay and straight, aren't being infected daily). For example I was born in 1982. I was clearly not having sex with men in the 80s . I'm interested in men that have been around basically as long as AIDS or close to it. So if you are a gay writer born in the late 70s or later then I want to hear from you.

I want to know if AIDS factors into your work at all. Do you feel the need to discuss it? Do you feel you have a different perspective on the situation because of when you were born? Is there an obligation that gay writers have to discuss it? Have you written about it and if so how? I'm interested in any thoughts or ideas related to the topic. Right now I'm just compiling information. I'm still unsure what form this project will take. It might be an essay or might be poems. If you are interested in helping me out you can comment right here on this blog or you can e-mail me directly at:

Also if you know of others who might want to respond to this, please send them a link. I really want as many responses as I can get. If you aren't gay or male or that young you can also share your observations. 

Thanks in advance! 

If you have questions let me know.

-Stephen (Awaiting Your Response)

1 comment:

  1. Really interesting thoughts dude. That's something I'd never have pondered, but now that the question's been raised, I'd like to hear what comes out.

    >"...this still spreads the horrible idea that AIDS is so sort of punishment for being homosexual."

    I think not having as much sex as gay people do is punishment for being straight.

    I keed. I keed. :)