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World AIDS Day, 1994

STORY: In 1994, I was wheatpasting posters around New York City late at night (when the police tended to be in doughnut shops, not on the streets) for ACT UP and started complaining about having turned 30 and feeling old. My partner-in-wheatpasting crime — who was positive which, back in those pre-retroviral days, was a virtual death sentence—turned and said “you know, I was really grateful to make it to 30.”

I was ashamed of my superficiality and insensitivity. An entire generation of gay men my age never had the privilege to bitch about growing old and gray hair and spare tires and wrinkles and being ignored by bartenders and twinks when out on the town. That’s why I never complain about any of those things today. I realize how lucky I am to have survived, and know how much we lost because our government could have cared less about gay lives.

– Kevin Jennings


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