It was warm today. Hence the dress. I like florals right now.
Randy Shilts was the first openly gay journalist in the United States. It was Shilts who first covered the story
of friend Harvey Milk’s assasination in 1978, and he went on to write the critically acclaimed book
The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life & Times of Harvey Milk. While writing at the San Francisco Chronicle in the early
1980’s, he worked full time covering the new AIDS plague. Shilts was greatly critized by the gay community when he warned
against certain homosexual practices, but he merely was trying to stop the spread of the disease he himself had aquired. In
1986, the journalist was tested for AIDS. He did not view the results until he finished writing And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic, in 1987.
He did not want the knowledge of the test results to affect his reporting. The book criticized President Reagan’s administration, the media, and parts of the homosexual community
for their delayed response to the crisis. And the Band Played On was hugely praised and won awards.
On March 16, 1987, Shiltz discovered he had AIDS.
Next, allthough he was battling the disease, Shiltz focused on homophobia in the armed forces. In 1993, Conduct Unbecoming: Lesbians and Gays in the U.S. Military
was published. The book critized homophobic military leaders and the ban of gays in the military.
Shilts held a commitment ceremony with his boyfriend, Barry Barbieri, in 1993. On February 17, 1994 Shilts died of AIDS-related complications.
Randy Shilts paved the way for other openly gay journalists and his books helped the gay liberation movement