Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Rodger McFarlane 1955 - 2009

One of the founders of the Gay Men's Health Crisis commits suicide after a long and painful illness.

“AIDS pointed up the inequitable status of gays.  We were forced to take care of ourselves because we learned that if you have certain diseases, certain lifestyles, you can’t expect the same services as other parts of society.” -- Rodger MacFarlane in 1983

We forget how ad hoc these AIDS organizations were in the beginning.  They were founded out of desperation, in the face of deliberate policies of malign neglect from the Reagan Administration to the CDC to the insurance companies to local hospitals.  Affluent professionals found themselves together with street kids in the same public hospitals dying in agony, neglect, and destitution in those days.  

I remember, and I will never forget or forgive.


Leonard said...

I remember, and I will never forget or forgive.¨

Make that a double.

We must remain vigilant and it´s not only the obvious ¨malign neglect¨ regarding AIDS but it floods social issues too.

Obvious malign neglect when viewing Hate Crimes is another double whamy of bigotry and injustice.

I these many deadly/lazy selfish bigots wonder why we demand EQUAL RIGHTS!

amritaji said...

I got to know Rodger pretty well this past winter and I volunteered at GMHC during the 1990's. This is a terrible loss and like the other comment I will never forget the neglect and hostility and the brave men and women that I worked with then.

Mary Clara said...

Terry Gross rebroadcast an earlier interview with Rodger this afternoon on 'Fresh Air' (National Public Radio). I wouldn't be surprised if you could find it archived online. It was a very moving conversation. One thing that came out strongly in the interview was that the GMHC effort not only helped a lot of desperate AIDS patients but also trained a lot of people in how to care for the sick and dying in general. Rodger and his brother found that as their elders began to decline, they were equipped to step in and do the very best for them (regardless how well those elders had treated them over the years). So these people who had been treated as less than nothing not only took charge of the care their fellow outcasts but went on to care for others as well and to help raise consciousness about the shortcomings of the health care system.

May his name be written in the book of the blessed.

Jim said...

May he rest in peace and rise in glory.


David G. said...

I can understand why, ... been there for years ... Let His Soul find Peace!!