So here we are, 5-6 months into a pandemic and no vaccine, confusion at every corner and new normal starting to take effect.
It all seems so new and strange to all of us, however this is not our first rodeo as we know previous generations have endured pandemics during the 1920,s and 1820’s but there’s were more recent pandemics that inflicted our older generation that we seem to have forgotten or even learnt from.
It was 1981 and the 80’s exploded into colour with life changing events as previously spoken of in my other blogs but the biggest thing to cause concern during this time was the AIDS outbreak.
It has become not only a topic that has attached such pain and sorry for many but a serious stigma in our own society today. We need to ask the question why?
The first case in America and United Kingdom were at first thought as a strain of pneumonia with no apparent origin other than it was perceived to be forming in the gay community. It wasn’t until 1984 when they actually decided to give it the AIDS title (aquired immunodeficiency syndrom).
I feel that because of the media and endless stories about the disease, very few people make the comparison to the current pandemic that is currently occurring across the world today.
With a toll of over 40,000 people in America and 5 million worldwide with the Aids crisis it’s very clear that it was indeed a Pandemic that also did not discriminate. Gay, straight, woman,man or child it affects everyone.
If we were to compare the two today the similarities are quite alarming.
First the outbreak and seemingly unhindered countries brush it off.
Then local cases start happening, you start to become concerned. People you know become sick and the alert levels become high.
Rationalizing it by thinking only gays could get the illness in order to make sense of the pandemic. (Well it’s ok I’m straight so I won’t get it) as compared to…(we’ll it’s clearly the ethnic minority and the vulnerable that seems to be catching it).
Then there’s the response from your authorities, governments.
Well it’s under control and we will implement when we think it’s of cause to concern…in other words until it’s knocking on your door!
Much like today it caused great frustration and many became outraged by the handling and procedures that weren’t being taken by those in charge.
It was the ACT UP campaign, created by Krame and Sawyer that began to revolt against the higher powers to deman answers for losing there loved ones.
Mush like what was happening here in England, with care homes and NhS staff they were forgotten about left to one side until things got worse, more death occurred and people began to speak out. We also have the Black Lives Matter movement which is at the forefront protesting for recognition and understanding for the black people killed by police in America and racism as a whole across the world.
The ACT UP campaign not only challenged the government officials but changed the way Drug Trails for pandemics are actually conducted today which we have to be thankful for.
With their, ‘inside,outside’ strategy they were able to hit hard with strong scenes on the street to shock people into waking up to what was happening, ( similar to staying ‘woke’ today).
Through perseverance and strong ethics they managed to change governments perception on handling pharmaceuticals and scientists where changing how they tested people for the virus consisting mass testing in order to find a cure quickly whereas before it was small groups install spaces which was a very slow process.
This meant that by 1987 exactly 6 years since the pandemic first occurred they had eventually created anti-viral treatment which helped to deaden the virus in the blood stream and essentially cure the orient from life threatening circumstances.
“Act Up created a model for patient advocacy with the research system that had never existed before.”
The ‘gay plague’ as uneducated idiots named the outbreak had by this stage claimed the lives of thousands devastating and changing the face of the world and this happened only 35-40 years ago people!
It astounds me the repetition of history as I watch people scramble around trying to make sense of what is happening and what will our course be when the answer is pretty much there in your history books. Read and learn how our world coped and how the government didn’t have a clue and how it took us the public to change views, to take a stand and change the world.
It took marches on Washington, a pandemic public education on gay rights, black rights, protests and determination with anger from many to change and break the governing at the top.
Think of how this AIDS pandemic was seen shortly after. It was still classed as a ‘Gay’ disease which we now know is nonsense. The media shamed those in the public eye who died from it killing our music and film industry and a massive amount of shame was on the shoulders of those who lived through it. We have campaigns and legislation, which until recently have been recognised for the moral and immoral rhetoric.
Section 28 which allowed all businesses and charities to refuse gay people from funding or association was created in ‘88’ and only changed in 2003 with a public apology from Priminister David Cameron in 2008.
And the Stonewall campaign led by Sir Ian Mckellan was given charity status in 2003 after 20 years of providing for the LGBTQIA community.
Not all things where a miss though, as I said before despite this pandemic the gay scene was louder and crazier than every sprouting vibrant fashion and music throughout the 80s and we are seeing a resurgence of that today. However I do feel it comes from people being silenced and not heard that makes society become agitated therefor creating platforms to express however they want to prove a point.
If you take a look at today’s world you can’t read this and say you are surprised by the outcome much less how we got here.
By shaming or categorizing things from the past we are by proxy saying that it won’t happen again or not in the same way and that is just bullshit to be honest. It’s a constant worldwind of denial and deception on all fronts and I can only hope that this time we see,we know and we change the face of history so that in our future there will be recognition and preparations for catastrophes like this not to happen.
I understand this is not my usual Yen blogging. However if you are a thinker like I am then you long for change and if that’s not a greater cause to Yen about I don’t know what is.
The Yenner 📠
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