“One night I heard two, I believe, nurse’s aides—not the actual…

“One night I heard two, I believe, nurse’s aides—not the actual nurses—standing outside my door sort of laughing…[They said] ‘I wonder how long the faggot in 208 is going to last.’” – Ken Ramsauer to Geraldo Rivera, May 1983 (via “How to Survive a Plague,” by @bydavidfrance)
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[Please note, the second picture in this post is of Ramsauer near the end of his battle with AIDS; he appears, as David France describes, “in grotesque medical distress.”]
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Pictures: (1) Ken Ramsauer Memorial & Candlelight Vigil, Central Park, New York City, June 13, 1983, photo by Robert Maass; (2) Ramsauer, left, after the Rivera interview, c/o Contact Press Images, via @nymag.
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On May 23, 1983, thirty-four years ago today, less than a year after his diagnosis, and four days after he gave a nationally televised interview to Geraldo Rivera on the growing AIDS crisis , New York City hardware store manager, freelance lighting designer, and activist Ken Ramsauer died of AIDS-related illness. He was twenty-seven.
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Weeks later, on June 13, more than fifteen hundred people gathered in Central Park to honor Ramsauer, who the New York Times described as “a national symbol of the discrimination and pain suffered by victims of a condition that ravages the body’s immune system.”
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Mourners at the memorial raised candles and held numbered signs to reflect the growing number of New Yorkers lost to AIDS. In a speech, Rivera said that Ramsauer “wanted society to know the discrimination and negative publicity that has allowed this disease a mortal head start.”
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“In New York,” David France explains, “there were just 722 cases reported, half the nation’s total. It seemed they were all at [Central Park] that sweltering evening. My friend’s mouth hung open…I was speechless. We had found the plague…From there, it was an avalanche.” #lgbthistory #HavePrideInHistory #NeverForget #NeverAgain #KenRamsauer #Resist