ACT UP Founder Larry Kramer Warns the LGBTQ Community: “The Worst Is Yet to Come”

The famed HIV/AIDS activist and writer penned a chilling call-to-action for "The New York Times."

In a new op-ed for The New York Times, HIV/AIDS activist Larry Kramer has cautioned that “the worst is yet to come” for the queer community in Trump’s America.

Kramer, known for founding both ACT UP and Gay Men’s Health Crisis in the 1980s, compared his activism during the throes of the AIDS crisis with today’s LGBTQ advocacy: “ACT UP, one of the organizations I helped start, fought for the drugs to save us, and we got them… Once we got the life-extending medicines, most of my fellow warriors returned to their lives of trying to be happy, and invisible.”

Kramer acknowledged that he is “lucky to be alive” and “fought very hard to get here.” “[But] I have never been able to answer one question,” he wrote. “Why have relatively few of us—out of so many millions—been willing to fight for their lives?”

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Now, resisting oppression is more important than ever, Kramer writes. He reiterates that the Trump administration isn’t supportive or welcoming toward the LGBTQ community—and warns that “the biggest fight for our lives is ahead of us”:

I still can’t see enough of us, in all our numbers and our splendor and our magnificence. Our activist organizations are a diminished presence. We still have no respected and accepted leaders who can speak for us as a people. And what little power we do have, lobbying or otherwise, in Washington or anywhere else, is woefully inadequate… If it weren’t for such stalwart defenders as Lambda Legal Defense and the ACLU, we’d probably be jailed by our enemies.

Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The key to enacting change, Kramer says, is mobilizing to fight against policies that oppress the LGBTQ community. But that requires greater numbers and greater dedication. Kramer alluded to the Women’s March on Washington, which saw hundreds of thousands of women and allies take to the streets in defense of reproductive justice and other feminist causes. “Where are the millions of gay people being angry and vocal and visibly fighting back?” he asked.

He doesn’t have an answer—and he truly believes that “the worst is yet to come. Again.”

Samantha Manzella is a writer and copy editor based out of the Hudson Valley. You can find her writing in a coffeehouse or searching Insta for the latest tattoo artist to hit the scene.
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