Main | Sunday, February 03, 2013

HomoQuotable - Richard Kim

"By January 1984, New York City under Koch’s leadership had spent a total of just $24,500 on AIDS. That same year, San Francisco, a city one tenth the size of New York, spent $4.3 million, a figure that grew to over $10 million annually by 1987. The mayor of San Francisco during those years was Dianne Feinstein, who like Koch was no radical. She came from the centrist coalition that included Dan White, the city supervisor who murdered Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone, whose office Feinstein assumed in the wake. Like Koch, she had a troubled relationship with the gay community (she infamously vetoed a domestic partnership bill in 1983). And like Koch, she was, above all, a political opportunist with national ambitions who happened to live in a liberal city with a large, politically active gay population. But she was straight, and paradoxically, that made a difference in how those two cities treated people with AIDS in those formative years.

"Ed Koch might not have been in a position to accelerate antiretroviral drug development or slow the transmission of HIV on a national scale, but he definitely could have made the lives of thousands of people with AIDS in New York City a whole lot more humane, which might also have extended some of those lives until an effective treatment was available. That he has blood on his hands seems likely. That he is guilty of the curious combination of paranoia, myopia, self-interest and callousness that so often attaches to closeted public officials seems undeniable. Would the fight against AIDS been helped had Ed Koch come out of the closet? Possibly. But it definitely would have been better had he just been straight. God bless his surely weary soul. I won’t." - Richard Kim, writing for The Nation.

Read the full essay.

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