The AIDS Memorial Quilt and More…

If you are a current student at SLC, you probably received an email about a part of the AIDS Memorial Quilt that is on campus. You should take the time to check it out before you go on winter break. The lobby of the Performing Arts Center (part of the building closest to Westlands) exhibits it through Tuesday, December 14th.


AIDS Ribbon on the White House

…And while I have your attention, I wanted to share some links that may be of interest.

Women and HIV/AIDS in the United States (Kaiser Family Foundation)

Grief Knows No Color: Adding Diversity to the AIDS Quilt by Rebecca Gross (NEA Arts Magazine)

Call My Name Workshop Program (The AIDS Quilt)

Mark your calendar: March 10th is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

*Photo by White House photographer Chuck Kennedy. (

From IIP Archive. Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)


No changes were made to the image.

For My Father

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

David Wojnarowicz Censored on World AIDS Day

image courtesy of the Queer Cultural Center

Adding insult to injury, I got this news about the censorship of a David Wojnarowicz piece at the National Portrait Museum on World AIDS Day. David Wojnarowicz was an artist who passed away in 1992 due to AIDS-related illness; he used a variety of media, like collage, text, and video, to share his experiences as a working-class prostitute and young, gay man with a world that was largely not ready to hear these stories. He inspired me as a high school student while I attempted to use the art media around me to construct narratives that I didn’t find in the mainstream.

My fellow queer/feminist art enthusiast and librarian pro, Kate Angell, sent me this article by Blake Gopnik at the Washington Post. Gopnik makes great arguments against censorship in art and highlights a different interpretation of Wojnarowicz’s video piece in question, “A Fire in My Belly.” The piece is a 30-minute meditation on Peter Hujar, an artist, colleague, and former lover of Wojnarowicz’s, who also passed away due to AIDS complications. Continue reading