My father died of AIDS in 1993. His name was Michael ‘hiv’ Norman, also known as Tanya Ransom. My father was a drag queen, a playwright, an artist, and most importantly to me, he was my father. The AIDS crisis is not over. It is 17 years after his death, and still we are fighting the disease which killed him. Still, people are unable to get medication because the drugs cost far too much. Still, we struggle to educate our youth about a disease which kills relentlessly. Still, there are those who believe that AIDS is a plague for gay people, and is sent by God to purge them from this earth.
AIDS does not discriminate based on age, gender, sexuality or creed. AIDS is preventable by wearing a condom and being knowledgeable your sexual heath.
My father was one of many artists to die in the epidemic; many of my family friends died in the 1990s. My mother attended more funerals than weddings in her 20s, and I still fear for those people I know whose lives are controlled by the disease. This is not the future I hoped for when I began educating people about the disease as a child, this is not the future I want for my children, or for anyone else’s children. This is not the future I want for our world.
Today is World AIDS Day. Get Tested. Act Up, Act Now. Fight AIDS.
— Elsa Sjunneson-Norman