Larry Kramer (June 25, 1935 - May 27, 2020)

Today, I wear a black t-shirt. I wear a black t-shirt with a pink triangle on it. I wear a black t-shirt with a pink triangle and the words “SILENCE = DEATH” written in white. This shirt makes a statement. An unflinching, unforgiving statement. I wear this t-shirt to honor Larry Kramer, an unflinching and unforgiving activist. An activist who was unafraid to be enraged by the actions of his oppressors and to hold them accountable. An activist who inspires me to challenge not only those in power who wish to do us harm, but the bystanders, whose indifference, whose silence, is just as dangerous. 

Too many times have I heard those around me say that an activist who is angry is undeserving of sympathy. An activist who is angry does not deserve to be listened to. Does not deserve any respect. That they should, instead, be calm and collected in their advocacy, even in the face of hatred and intolerance and violence. Larry Kramer was vilified for his anger, both before and after his death. But it is his anger that made him one of the most powerful gay rights activists in history. His anger is what helped bring attention to the AIDS Crisis because young gay men were dying and the government didn’t give a shit about it and he wasn’t going to sit there and let it happen any longer. His anger showed the world that queer people were no longer going to behave the way cisgender heterosexuals wanted us to, because we are here and queer and you all have to get fucking used to it. His anger made him who he was, and his anger saved lives. 

larry kramer getty images

Something Larry Kramer and I have in common is our anger. Everyone who knows me knows that I am not afraid to confront someone on their bigotry. Some people call me opinionated, others call me a bitch. 

I am an angry person, and I am unafraid to be an angry person. My anger is a part of me. My anger is a part of me because my activism is a part of me, and these two things go hand-in-hand. I am angered by injustice and ignorance and hatred. I am angry for those we have lost to injustice and ignorance and hatred. I am angry in honor of those who cannot voice their anger because of injustice and ignorance and hatred. And my anger does not mean that I am undeserving of sympathy. My anger means that I am not done fighting. 

Today, I wear a black t-shirt with a pink triangle and the words “SILENCE = DEATH” to honor Larry Kramer, a man who inspires me to be unapologetically angry, and unapologetically myself.

Kellen House, 5/27/2020

 

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