2020-06-23T06:20:24+00:00 weekly HIV Long Term Survivors
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Hank Trout, Pioneer & Fighter

  Hank Trout is a 65-year-old gay writer, activist, and a 29-year long-term survivor of HIV/AIDS. He has lived in San Francisco since 1980, for the last 14 years with his fiance Rick Greathouse. In the 1980s he edited Drummer, Folsom, Midwest, and Malebox magazines. Currently, he is an Editor at Large for A&U: America's AIDS Magazine, contributing features, book and art reviews, and a bi-monthly column "For the Long Run," in which he addresses the issues faced by surviving members of the AIDS Generation. He is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, for "Tornado", "Stella", and "Kintsugi".  
email Hank  2020.06.23  


ALC, Larry Kramer, and Harvey Milk Center 2020-06-23

First, you probably know that the AIDS/LifeCycle event was cancelled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So the organizers encouraged people to do something else for ALC, something related to the number 545 (the number of miles from SF to LA). Some guys did things like walking 54.5 miles around the city, or doing 545 push-ups over a certain length of time, etc. Well, I cannot ride or do those other things, so I thought and thought... and finally came up with something I can do. I cannot ride, but I can write! So I wrote a 545-word poem about Larry Kramer and gave SFAF/ALC permission to use it any way they choose. I am attaching the poem here.

For Larry Kramer

A plague!
It's a plague!
Forty million dead is a fucking plague!

Larry gripped the podium like a life raft
He leaned toward the microphone
His deeply set eyes flashing in anger
His lips down-turned in snarling disgust
His eyes scanning the room for comrades
Or for enemies

J'accuse! he yelled, J'accuse!

He called us Faggots
Drug-drenched callous sex-crazed faggots
Flitting from Manhattan to Fire Island and back
At the drop of a pair of pants
Thinking with our cocks
At the baths, in the bushes, on the piers, at the Anvil
No better than heartless rutting pigs
Straights didn't believe him, gays hated him
Because we believed him
You know what my real crime was?
I put the truth in writing

He wanted us to be better, so he told us the truth
The truth did not set us free
The truth did not make us better

We started getting sick
We started dying
1,112 and Counting he told us in 1983
And his rage flared hotter than a brushfire
The flames engulfing everything in his sight
He spewed his righteous venom on President Reagan
He accused Mayor Koch of murder
He rained hellfire on the CDC and Dr. Fauci
He damned Senator Daniel Moynihan for inaction
He excoriated The Advocate and the rest of the gay press
He poured buckets of bile on his own community
I am sick of closeted gay doctors who won't come out to help us fight
I am sick of gay men who won't support gay charities
I am sick of closeted gays
I am sick of everyone in this community who tells me to stop creating a panic
I am sick of guys who think that all being gay means is sex
And I am very sick and saddened by every gay man
who does not get behind this issue totally and with commitment - to fight for his life

For forty years Larry led our fight
With five others he founded GMHC Gay Men's Health Crisis
To educate, support, sustain New Yorkers living with AIDS
To lobby city and state legislatures for action
To fight like hell for the right to live

When Larry's fiery rage scorched the mainstream gays at GMHC
They expelled him from their club
He cried, he sulked, he hurt, and then
He fought back harder with like-willed men
They birthed the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power
And taught us how to ACT UP
We stormed the FDA demanding access to medicine
We marched, we yelled, we sat-in and died-in
We spread the ashes of our dead on the White House lawn
We covered Jesse Helms' house with a condom
We learned more about HIV/AIDS than the doctors treating us
We got stronger, louder, angrier, prouder

Those of us whose lives he saved
Revere Larry as a savior
A beautiful, loud, flawed, necessary savior

I don't want to die, he told us
I can only assume you don't want to die.
Can we fight together?

Yes, Larry, we fight together
We march, we rage, we disobey civilly,
We write, we sing, we play, we ride
We have learned to love each other and ourselves
Enough to take care of each other

We fight
For Larry
For life

by Hank Trout

Second, the annual Art and Pride Exhibit at the Harvey Milk Photo Center was also forced to go 'virtual' this year. I am sending you the link to the exhibit website. Scroll down to the big box that says 'Writing and Poetry.' You will find my introduction to the Exhibit ('Celebrating Community - and Hope'). You will also find a poem and a short story by my A&U editor Chael Needle (the story, 'A Day,' is the best short story I have read since I read E.M. Forster in college!). If you scroll down a little further, you will find a piece by my NYC buddy Bruce Ward. At the end of Bruce's Artist's Statement, there is a link to a video that Bruce and I made called 'Four by Two: A Bicoastal Reading.' In the video, each of us reads one monologue written by the other (I read his 'Last Dance,' he read my 'I Just Wanna Dance'), and then we each read one of our own pieces (I read 'Tornado,' he read a piece called 'Hanging On'). In addition to the A&P exhibit, the video has also been accepted as part of the cultural programming at AIDS2020: Virtual. I am attaching a direct link to that also.

Art + Pride 2020

Tornado: Poetry | A&U Magazine 2016.01.28
Just Another Death Sentence: Nonfiction | A&U Magazine 2016.03.09
Honoring Our Experience: Blog | A&U Magazine 2016.04.09
Last Men Standing: Blog | A&U Magazine 2016.05.10
Stella: Nonfiction | A&U Magazine 2016.06.07
Why I Write: Blog | A&U Magazine 2016.07.02
Jesus Guillen: The Advocate | A&U Magazine 2016.08.09
Celebrating the 1980s and 90s: Blog | Harvey Milk Photo Center
Guilt-Free Memories: Blog | A&U Magazine 2016.09.06
Vince Crisostomo & Elizabeth Taylor 50-Plus Network: Support | A&U Magazine 2016.09.16
Gay Gotham: Review | A&U Magazine 2016.10.07
Ghee Phua: Gallery | A&U Magazine 2016.10.13
Julie Newmar & John Newmeyer: Cover Story | A&U Magazine 2016.11.02
Fighting for Our Lives-Again!: Blog | A&U Magazine 2016.11.11
Toward a New Defintion of "Survivor": Blog | A&U Magazine 2016.11.19
Thomas McGovern: Gallery | A&U Magazine 2016.11.23
Cleve Jones: 'When We Rise': Blog | A&U Magazine 2017.01.04
Chad Needle: 'The Neglect of Survivors Must End': Blog | A&U Magazine 2017.01.11
David Duran: 'Facing Stigma: 'A Day With HIV' Participants Open Up About Stigma': Blog | The Body 2017.02.01
David Faulk & Michael Johnstone: 'Surviving Survivor's Guilt': Blog | A&U Magazine 2017.03.17
Peter Rodriguez: 'Surviving Survivor's Guilt': Blog | The Advocate A&U Magazine 2017.03.17
David Faulk & Michael Johnstone: 'Two Men & a Mrs. Vera': Gallery | A&U Magazine 2017.03.18
Hank Trout: 'Trump Policies Snag First HIV Gay Asylum Seeker': Blog | A&U Magazine 2017.04.21
Hank Trout: 'I Am My Own Best Advocate': Blog | A&U Magazine 2017.05.03
Hank Trout: 'The Prodigal Queer': Blog | A&U Magazine 2017.07.09
Hank Trout: 'Long Term Survivor Reflects..': Blog | BETA Blog 2017.07.11
Hank Trout: 'Jeff Sheehey: Advocate': Blog | A&U Magazine 2017.07.17
Hank Trout: 'Awakening: Review by Hank Trout': Book Review | A&U Magazine 2017.07.20
Hank Trout: 'What Took So Long | Our Queer Stories': Queer & LGBT Stories | Our Queer Stories 2017.07.22
Hank Trout: '"Signs by Hank Trout"': The Rest of Us Lit. Mag. 2017.08.15
Hank Trout: 'Voices of the Quilt Announces Release Party to Premiere "One by One" Music': A&U Magazine 2017.08.16
Hank Trout: 'Voices of the Quilt Workshop': A&U Magazine 2017.08.16
Jim Wigler: Gallery | A&U Magazine: A&U Magazine 2017.08.25
Hank Trout: 'NMAC`s Congressional HIV/STD Action Day, September 6, to Focus on Proposed Federal Cuts to HIV Services': A&U Magazine 2017.08.29
Saul Bromberger & Sandra Hoover: Gallery | A&U Magazine 2017.09.18
Hank Trout: 'Meet Tommy, My Tumor': A&U Magazine 2017.09.27
Hank Trout: "Excuse Me If I Don`t Share Your Magical Thinking!": A&U Magazine 2017.11.07
Hank Trout: "Kintsugi: A Survivor`s Reflection on World AIDS Day 2017": A&U Magazine 2017.11.16
Chip Livingstone: Review "Owls Don`t Have to Mean Death": A&U Magazine 2017.12.04
Martin Wong: Gallery "Human Instamatic" | A&U Magazine 2017.12.06
Hank Trout: "65 Is the New 80" | A&U Magazine 2018.01.10
Hank Trout: "Remembering Dr. Mathilde Krim" | A&U Magazine 2018.01.16
Hank Trout: "In Memoriam: Dennis Peron" | A&U Magazine 2018.01.30
Hank Trout: "Edmund White Honored by PEN" | A&U Magazine 2018.02.14
HighLights: "Dance Me To The End Of Love" | Leonard Cohen (You Tube) 2010.03.10
Hank Trout: "Dance Me To The End Of Love" | Leonard Cohen (Commentary) 2018.03.01
Hank Trout: "I Just Wanna Dance" | Diverse Elders Coalition 2018.03.13
Hank Trout: Martin Duberman "The Rest of It: Review" | A&U Magazine 2018.03.13
Hank Trout: "Marlon Bundy" | A&U Magazine 2018.03.20
Hank Trout: "Elder Abuse" | A&U Magazine 2018.03.22
Hank Trout: "Hemophilia Memorial Circle" | A&U Magazine 2018.03.30
Hank Trout: "Pushing Dead" | A&U Magazine 2018.4.4
Hank Trout: "Still AT Risk... Interview with Tim Pinckney" | A&U Magazine 2018.4.16
Hank Trout: "Russell - Dance Me To The End Of Love" | A&U Magazine 2018.6.20
Hank Trout: "Lunch With Long Term Survivors in San Francisco" | Les Enfants Terribles 2018.7.11