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Flashback 1988: Young Republicans Stalk an ACT UP Rally


Rex Wockner has been digging up photos from his 23 years covering stories for the gay press, and has begun posting them to his blog. I look forward to seeing more.

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  1. wonder how many of them in the pic turned out to be self-hating barebackers and meth addicts? just askin.

    Posted by: bambambam | Apr 2, 2007 2:52:59 PM

  2. Young republicans out looking for dates in disguise. I had forgotten about that photo!

    Posted by: anon | Apr 2, 2007 2:59:29 PM

  3. Man, that picture has got to make Republicans feel good.

    What a bunch of pompous, entitled assholes.

    Posted by: Brian | Apr 2, 2007 3:04:28 PM

  4. God, I had that same haircut back in 1988. Regretably, I still do. Fortunately, I didn't share their outlook.

    Posted by: brant | Apr 2, 2007 3:05:59 PM

  5. Wow...that's probably the single most offensive photo I've seen in quite sometime. Definitely reminds me of the obnoxious shenanigans of my college's republican and conservative groups.

    Posted by: scientitian | Apr 2, 2007 3:06:00 PM

  6. "From the People Who Brought You Ronald Reagan and the Georges Bush."

    Now what's that again about making HRC a thoroughly "bipartisan" organization—as if it weren't fucked up enough?

    Posted by: Leland | Apr 2, 2007 3:07:36 PM

  7. republicans dressed better back then.

    Posted by: gwyneth cornrow | Apr 2, 2007 3:21:23 PM

  8. WOW!...I just read the sign...couldn't get past the face masks,haircuts & suits......totally repulsive and very sad to me..

    Posted by: tc | Apr 2, 2007 3:21:55 PM

  9. looks like extras from the set of the movie adapation of Bret Breston Ellis' "American Psycho". If you ever want to see a horror film about the Reagan 80s - it's a great start. Unfortunately the horror was living with and through these clowns.

    Posted by: resurrect | Apr 2, 2007 3:30:19 PM

  10. AIDS: Assholes In Disguises Patrol

    Posted by: Bill | Apr 2, 2007 3:55:04 PM

  11. HRC tries to be bipartisan, but it is difficult to do when the Republicans remain controlled by the radical evangelical right.

    Posted by: Aaron | Apr 2, 2007 3:59:15 PM

  12. Yes this is a sad picture. But let me remind you that Democrats and pretty much the vast majority of Americans felt the same way. People's attitudes change. I don't like how Democrats are portrayed as good and Republicans are evil. There are good and bad in both parties. I mean Lincoln was a Republican. We don't call him evil, we call him one of our greatest American Presidents.

    Posted by: Matt | Apr 2, 2007 4:00:20 PM

  13. Matt -

    Silly comparison. Equating Lincoln's republican party with todays is like equating Jesus with Jerry Falwell. Parties change, as do people, but, except for Dixiecrats, it has been a long time since democrats actively pushed for the discrimination of an entire group of American citizens.

    I'm not saying republicans are evil, as evil is a weird expression created to describe those without a soul who do horrible things. I think republicans have a soul and often to heartless things...I think that's worse.

    Posted by: nycredneck | Apr 2, 2007 4:04:21 PM

  14. Woah. I've never seen that picture before.

    Posted by: tyler | Apr 2, 2007 4:10:18 PM

  15. Digging up that photo is like digging up pictures of Democrats opposing civil rights in the '50s and '60s: It's meant to distort the present-day discussions. Republicans have helped lead the present-day fight against AIDS, especially in Africa. The GOP did not have a good record on AIDS in the '80s. But this photo isn't meant to stir debate but reinforce hate. It's unfortunate.

    Posted by: Cyd | Apr 2, 2007 4:17:08 PM

  16. "Republicans have helped lead the present-day fight against AIDS, especially in Africa."

    How so???

    Most of the US aid to those in Africa suffering from AIDS has come from NGOs.

    If anything Bush and the former Republican controlled house and senate under-funded aid to Africa. Of course that is subjective and only my opinion, however.

    Posted by: RP | Apr 2, 2007 4:39:55 PM

  17. Oh, lying Cyd. Republikkkan AIDS "aid" to Africa is only tax money funnelled to Rethuglican organizations to pocket in the name of abstinence "education" -- in other words, tax money supposedly going to AIDS "relief" is just being sent to no-show contractors, much like all the Iraq money goes to Halliburton.

    Stop the Rethuglican lies.

    Posted by: bambambam | Apr 2, 2007 4:46:38 PM

  18. Reagan’s AIDS Legacy: Silence equals death
    Allen White, San Francisco Chronicle
    Tuesday, June 8, 2004

    As America remembers the life of Ronald Reagan, it must never forget his shameful abdication of leadership in the fight against AIDS. History may ultimately judge his presidency by the thousands who have and will die of AIDS.

    Following discovery of the first cases in 1981, it soon became clear a national health crisis was developing. But President Reagan’s response was “halting and ineffective,” according to his biographer Lou Cannon. Those infected initially with this mysterious disease — all gay men — found themselves targeted with an unprecedented level of mean-spirited hostility.

    A significant source of Reagan’s support came from the newly identified religious right and the Moral Majority, a political-action group founded by the Rev. Jerry Falwell. AIDS became the tool, and gay men the target, for the politics of fear, hate and discrimination. Falwell said “AIDS is the wrath of God upon homosexuals.” Reagan’s communications director Pat Buchanan argued that AIDS is “nature’s revenge on gay men.”

    With each passing month, death and suffering increased at a frightening rate. Scientists, researchers and health care professionals at every level expressed the need for funding. The response of the Reagan administration was indifference.

    By Feb. 1, 1983, 1,025 AIDS cases were reported, and at least 394 had died in the United States. Reagan said nothing. On April 23, 1984, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced 4,177 reported cases in America and 1,807 deaths. In San Francisco, the health department reported more than 500 cases. Again, Reagan said nothing. That same year, 1984, the Democratic National Convention convened in San Francisco. Hoping to focus attention on the need for AIDS research, education and treatment, more than 100,000 sympathizers marched from the Castro to Moscone Center.

    With each diagnosis, the pain and suffering spread across America. Everyone seemed to now know someone infected with AIDS. At a White House state dinner, first lady Nancy Reagan expressed concern for a guest showing signs of significant weight loss. On July 25, 1985, the American Hospital in Paris announced that Rock Hudson had AIDS.

    With AIDS finally out of the closet, activists such as Paul Boneberg, who in 1984 started Mobilization Against AIDS in San Francisco, begged President Reagan to say something now that he, like thousands of Americans, knew a person with AIDS. Writing in the Washington Post in late 1985, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Los Angeles, stated: “It is surprising that the president could remain silent as 6,000 Americans died, that he could fail to acknowledge the epidemic’s existence. Perhaps his staff felt he had to, since many of his New Right supporters have raised money by campaigning against homosexuals.”

    Reagan would ultimately address the issue of AIDS while president. His remarks came May 31, 1987 (near the end of his second term), at the Third International Conference on AIDS in Washington. When he spoke, 36,058 Americans had been diagnosed with AIDS and 20,849 had died. The disease had spread to 113 countries, with more than 50,000 cases.

    As millions eulogize Reagan this week, the tragedy lies in what he might have done. Today, the World Health Organization estimates that more than 40 million people are living with HIV worldwide. An estimated 5 million people were newly infected and 3 million people died of AIDS in 2003 alone.

    Reagan could have chosen to end the homophobic rhetoric that flowed from so many in his administration. Dr. C. Everett Koop, Reagan’s surgeon general, has said that because of “intradepartmental politics” he was cut out of all AIDS discussions for the first five years of the Reagan administration. The reason, he explained, was “because transmission of AIDS was understood to be primarily in the homosexual population and in those who abused intravenous drugs.” The president’s advisers, Koop said, “took the stand, ‘They are only getting what they justly deserve.’ “

    How profoundly different might have been the outcome if his leadership had generated compassion rather than hostility. “In the history of the AIDS epidemic, President Reagan’s legacy is one of silence,” Michael Cover, former associate executive director for public affairs at Whitman-Walker Clinic, the groundbreaking AIDS health-care organization in Washington. in 2003. “It is the silence of tens of thousands who died alone and unacknowledged, stigmatized by our government under his administration.”

    Revisionist history about Reagan must be rejected. Researchers, historians and AIDS experts who know the truth must not remain silent. Too many have died for that.

    San Francisco Chronicle. Allen White is a San Francisco writer.

    Posted by: John C | Apr 2, 2007 4:54:54 PM

  19. Add to the above Bush and co's bullshit about Africans using abstinence instead of condoms. Fuck the Republicans.

    Posted by: John C | Apr 2, 2007 4:57:42 PM

  20. Oh and by the way, here's another Bush crony quitting his job just before being indicted for stealing and laundering tax dollars and profiteering for the Republican-connected radical religious right:

    Wade Horn, the Bush administration’s point man for welfare reform, Head Start and abstinence education, resigned Monday as assistant secretary for children and families. Horn “oversaw a dramatic increase in funding for abstinence education, which now exceeds $200 million a year” and gave more money to “faith-based groups and organizations that work to help couples improve their marriage.”


    There's $200 MILLION tax dollars that DID NOT go to education or relief...just right into no-show contractors pockets for abstinence "education."

    Stop the lies about Rethuglicans funding anything regarding AIDS.

    Posted by: bambambam | Apr 2, 2007 5:26:04 PM

  21. Thanks, John C., for the piece by Allen White [though Reagan's first speech on AIDS policy was in April, 1987, not May]. In any case, anyone who might think it couldn't have been that bad should read the following official transcripts demonstrating that Reagan adminstration silence was less the problem than gay and AIDS "jokes":

    Q: Larry, does the President have any reaction to the announcement from the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, that AIDS is now an epidemic and have over 600 cases?
    MR. SPEAKES: What's AIDS?
    Q: Over a third of them have died. It's known as "gay plague." (Laughter.) No, it is. I mean it's a pretty serious thing that one in every three people that get this have died. And I wondered if the President is aware of it?
    MR. SPEAKES: I don't have it. Do you? (Laughter.)
    Q: No, I don't.
    MR. SPEAKES: You didn't answer my question.
    Q: Well, I just wondered, does the President ...
    MR. SPEAKES: How do you know? (Laughter.)
    Q: In other words, the White House looks on this as a great joke?
    MR. SPEAKES: No, I don't know anything about it, Lester.
    Q: Does the President, does anyone in the White House know about this epidemic, Larry?
    MR. SPEAKES: I don't think so. I don't think there's been any ...
    Q: Nobody knows?
    MR. SPEAKES: There has been no personal experience here, Lester.
    Q: No, I mean, I thought you were keeping ...
    MR. SPEAKES: I checked thoroughly with Dr. Ruge this morning and he's had no - (laughter) - no patients suffering from AIDS or whatever it is.
    Q: The President doesn't have gay plague, is that what you're saying or what?
    MR. SPEAKES: No, I didn't say that.
    Q: Didn't say that?
    MR. SPEAKES: I thought I heard you on the State Department over there. Why didn't you stay there? (Laughter.)
    Q: Because I love you Larry, that's why (Laughter.)
    MR. SPEAKES: Oh I see. Just don't put it in those terms, Lester. (Laughter.)
    Q: Oh, I retract that.
    MR. SPEAKES: I hope so.
    Q: It's too late."


    "Q: An estimated 300,000 people have been exposed to AIDS, which can be transmitted through saliva. Will the President, as Commander-in-Chief, take steps to protect Armed Forces food and medical services from AIDS patients or those who run the risk of spreading AIDS in the same manner that they forbid typhoid fever people from being involved in the health or food services?
    MR. SPEAKES: I don't know.
    Q: Could you -- Is the President concerned about this subject, Larry --
    MR. SPEAKES: I haven't heard him express--
    Q: --that seems to have evoked so much jocular--
    MR. SPEAKES: --concern.
    Q: --reaction here? I -- you know --
    Q: It isn't only the jocks, Lester.
    Q: Has he sworn off water faucets--
    Q: No, but, I mean, is he going to do anything, Larry?
    MR. SPEAKES: Lester, I have not heard him express anything on it. Sorry.
    Q: You mean he has no -- expressed no opinion about this epidemic?
    MR. SPEAKES: No, but I must confess I haven't asked him about it. (Laughter.)
    Q: Would you ask him Larry?
    MR. SPEAKES: Have you been checked? (Laughter.)"

    Reagan awarded Speakes the Presidential Citizens Medal, second only to the Presidental Medal of Freedom.

    Posted by: Leland | Apr 2, 2007 6:18:09 PM

  22. Cyd: This your conscience speaking: "Feel badly about lying. You know that you're not serious when you make over-the-top statements about the Republicans doing anything good for gays and lesbians, for people with AIDS...actually for anybody in Africa period."

    Dear Dog, man, how can you live with yourself? Be up front about being a conservative who happens to be gay and feels that he can live with placing his conservative values above his sexuality. Be honest about belonging to a political party that tolerates your presence, so long as you have the occasional cocktail party fund raisers. Be forthright about the disdain you feel for gay and lesbian activists who are angry with YOUR president.

    You're clearly not a self-loather...I've seen those pictures of yourself that you've posted (Dog, why can't you be a little self-loathing? You might not post those for all the world to see.) You are, however, dishonest when you try to defend your politics on a gay blog.

    That having been said, I'd fuck any of those guys.

    Posted by: JT | Apr 2, 2007 8:15:48 PM

  23. But this photo isn't meant to stir debate but reinforce hate.
    Posted by: Cyd |

    This is unbelievable:

    -When Ann Coulter refers to John Edwards as a "faggot", it's not hate.

    -When Mitt Romney in his CPAC speech says "Massachusetts became center stage for the liberal social agenda – sort of San Francisco east, Nancy Pelosi style", it's not hate.

    -When two months later 20,000 Christian teens from Battlecry are dispatched to San Francisco, it's not hate.

    -When General Pace uses his badge to say that "homosexuality is immoral", it's not hate.

    -When Matt Sanchez is unleashed on the scene and attacks the gay blogosphere, it's not hate.

    But digging up a photo -a document that indeed exists- and commenting on it, is hate ?!

    Cyd you can't be for real with your selective attacks of morality. Such a shame...

    Posted by: Da | Apr 2, 2007 10:19:23 PM

  24. "Equating Lincoln's republican party with todays is like equating Jesus with Jerry Falwell."

    SUCH a good analogy. Lincoln was a social liberal even by today's standards.

    Posted by: mark m | Apr 2, 2007 10:45:20 PM

  25. Actually, Lincoln had a rather disparaging view of blacks on the whole, but did see them as "fully human" at least. He equivocated a lot as well.

    AIDS in Africa is not really a gay issue, though there are a lot of "down low" issues with transmission to women that gets under-reported. Most of the fight for aid to Africa is for compensation to pharmaceutical companies for lost patent revenue (in theory). The money does not really get to Africa, but goes to purchase medication from western companies, which is then rather haphazardly administered over there.

    For Reagan, one of the pivotal points in his career was the creation of the blacklist while he was SAG union chief. It scared him Republican and ever after he disassociated himself with anything leftwing, including gay men, many of whom he must have worked with in the movies. He also had built up a winning southern coalition of evangelicals to get elected and they were anathema to anything gay, of course. But the overall problem was that the country as a whole could not be bothered to help gay men in need and at the time was wholly unsupportive. The ENTIRE country was to blame, so to speak. What, for example, was the Tip O'Neill agenda for fighting AIDS? He was the Democratic speaker of the House at the time. Effective, but horrifically corrupt. Charlie Rangel, who is still in office, was a senior member even back then, and probably has one of the worst hit constituencies (particularly today). What was his reaction in 1982? You could hear the crickets chirping.

    Now, the flip side is to ask: what could have been done? Even knowing what we know now the options were limited.

    Posted by: anon | Apr 3, 2007 12:20:04 AM

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