Dishonest Abe?

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Years ago, when I got my first job at a newspaper — that would be, ahem, 1995 — I worked for the Provincetown Banner. A start-up weekly paper, we covered the little village of Provincetown — known as P’town to most — that sat at the very tip of Cape Cod, in ye olde Massachusetts. While the year-round population stood around 3500, in the summer, it ballooned to some 25,000 or more, thanks in large part to it being the gay Mecca of the East Coast. That meant any big gay name you could think of came to P’town at some point.

One such person was Larry Kramer. What’s that? Don’t know him? In the late 80’s and early 90’s, it was hard not to. Larry was a pivotal figure during that time, when AIDS seemed in the forefront of everyone’s mind (except Ronald Reagan’s). A man who never stopped demanding that gay people be afforded respect and that the health crisis affecting them be taken seriously by the healthcare industry, he angered a lot of people. But he wrote a seminal, polemical novel “Faggots”  (and how’s that for a title?); he penned the play “A Normal Heart.” He helped start the Gay Men’s Health Crisis in NYC and ACT UP, that activist that staged die-ins to grab the attention of those who were ignoring the death of so many people to complications from AIDS. So no surprise: Larry came to P’town.

By some chance of Fate, I got to interview him. I’d love to link to that article now but, alas, poor Yorick, the Banner’s online archive doesn’t go back that far. Or maybe that’s not so bad: I had no idea what to ask him and essentially, I just let him talk, which was like giving a child a key to candy store. He pretty much ran away with the convo. Still, I loved and turned it into an article.

I bring it up because, a little while ago, New York magazine printed a GREAT profile on Larry Kramer, who, at 74, is still out there. Even if most people don’t recall his name.

And then today, I came across a video interview with him on the NYTimes website. It’s called “Abraham Lincoln was Gay,” which I think pretty much sums it up. Take your pick. Both are great. And both reveal a man who, decades ago, led hundreds of people to the streets to fight to be heard and these days, is barely remembered.

Ahhh, history…