Aids: Homosexuality and San Francisco Essay

Submitted By derickwoolard
Words: 852
Pages: 4

Derick Woolard
Dr. Greaves
HDFS 240
November 10, 2012
We Were Here We Were Here is a documentary covering the AIDS epidemic that struck San Francisco in the 1980’s. In the 80’s San Francisco was a place were people in any social gruop could go, and feel accepted. The freedom and ability to express your individuality that came with living in San Francisco attracted a lot of different groups to the city, one of those groups being homosexuals. We Were Here focuses its attention on 5 individuals who, in one way or another, were severely affected by the quick spread of AIDS. The individuals interviewed in this documentary all lost friends, loved ones, and/or significant others, in a very devastating and sudden way. Alone, AIDS rapidly turned one of the most welcoming cities in the world into a place of discrimination and hate. AIDS was first discovered in San Francisco in the 1980’s, at the time it was very unknown as to what exactly the infection was, or what ultimately caused the breakout. After multiple reported cases, doctors were still confused as to where it had originated, the only facts they knew about AIDS, was that everyone that had been infected was homosexual. With the country already in turmoil toward same-sex marriage, this didn’t help the general population’s view toward the subject. Much of the population were beginning to be accepting of gay’s, until the epidemic. Immediately the infection was labeled as “Gay Cancer”, furthering hatred toward homosexuals, and instantly hindering any advancement homosexual’s had made toward equal rights. Most of the country wanted ‘Gay clubs’ shut down, and surprisingly many were in favor of quarantining the one’s that were infected. Although eventually it was determined that AIDS wasn’t just from homosexual intercourse, but rather transferred through sexual intercourse between heterosexuals as well. Homosexuals throughout history have been discriminated against. Certain laws have forbidden homosexuals from marrying, from being together, and even from having sexual intercourse behind closed doors. Up until the 80’s it was very taboo to come out of the closet because of the negative attitudes toward homosexuals. Until there was a place where gay’s could feel accepted in who they were, many decided to stay ‘inside the closet’ for fear of being harassed, never allowing them to express who they really were. There has never been a time where homosexuals have been accepted by the general population, and the AIDS breakout was a major step back in their road toward equality. Although the infection was not just a “Gay virus” many people assumed that definition and believed it themselves. A stereotype that some still believe to this day, is that AIDS is only amongst the homosexual population, even though about 90% of AIDS is spread through heterosexual intercourse. Being rejected and discriminated throughout their entire lives, homosexuals could only find a safe sanctuary amongst themselves. When together, they can stand up for each other and fight off what is considered as the ‘social norm’. As the AIDS epidemic spread, so did the negative attitudes toward homosexuals. The only place they could feel safe was amongst each other. However, instead of backing down and giving up, many did whatever they could to be proud of their sexual orientation. Instead of