At a ceremony last night, longtime activist, author and playwright Larry Kramer received the first-ever Larry Kramer Activism Award, named for him by GMHC. Kramer helped found GMHC (Gay Men's Health Crisis) in his living room, and his landmark play The Normal Heart tells the story of its founding in the early days of the AIDS epidemic in New York City.
Said Kramer in his acceptance speech:
"Genocide is the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or ethnic group. Such as gay people. Such as people of color. To date, around the world, an estimated 78 million people have become infected, 39 million of whom have died. When we first became acquainted with HIV there were 41 cases. The main difference between the Larry Kramer who helped to start Gay Men’s Health Crisis in his living room in 1982 and ACT UP in 1987 and the Larry Kramer who stands before you now is that I no longer have any doubt that our government is content, via sins of omission or commission, to allow the extermination of my homosexual population to continue unabated.
"It is talk like this that got the original GMHC board to boot me off and out. It is also talk like this that enabled ACT UP to succeed in getting us our own treatments. These treatments are not good enough but have been good enough to extend our lives. Unfortunately they still come with side effects and they reward their greedy manufacturers with more money than they would make locating the cure that would end this plague."
Mark Ruffalo and Joe Mantello spoke before Kramer came to the podium.
Watch the speech (Kramer begins at 9:30) and read the transcript, AFTER THE JUMP...