The Early Writings of Rachel Crandall-Crocker, Founder of #TransDayofVisibility
For all the attention that March 31: Transgender Day of Visibility now receives, I’m willing to bet that far fewer people know about Rachel Crandall-Crocker, the social worker, therapist, and advocate who created it. For anyone wanting to understand Rachel’s work and legacy as a Trans advocate, I hope this story will enlighten, inform, and inspire.
Martin Duberman’s Stonewall: A Present-Day Reflection
For anyone who wants to understand how we went from Stonewall to Pride, Duberman helps fill in a number of crucial details. Countless LGBTQ+ organizing efforts have occurred over the years, but most have not endured. Given how organizers of the first march feared that no one would show up, it’s staggering to imagine that Pride today might not even exist, if their efforts had collapsed like so many others.
Shiltsmas at 70: First Impressions, Lasting Influence
Posted on August 8, 2021 Leave a Comment
To recognize what would have been Randy’s 70th birthday, today I am sharing some quotes from the oral history interviews I conducted for my book. Specifically, I asked each person to remember the first time they met Randy and the impression he made, and I concluded by asking them to describe what they see as Randy’s last influence in society. This is just a small sample of the many memories people shared with me, but if Randy were alive today, I think he’d be quite moved, amused, and grateful for how they still remember him.
Reporting and Reactions From Forty Years Ago: Part III
Posted on June 11, 2021 Leave a Comment
By the end of 1981, both Time and Newsweek had joined the mainstream papers in publishing cursory stories on the epidemic, but much of the credit for keeping gay cancer in the headlines lay with a small handful in the gay media who, often against the wishes of their publishers and advertisers, insisted on keeping it there.
Reporting and Reactions From Forty Years Ago: Part II
Posted on June 8, 2021 Leave a Comment
Prior to the MMWR’s announcement, Kramer had already witnessed an alarmingly rapid decline among some of his friends. “We’re appalled that this is happening to them and terrified that it could happen to us,” he wrote. “It’s easy to become frightened that one of the many things we’ve done or taken over the past years may be all that it takes for a cancer to grow from a tiny something-or-other that got in there who knows when from doing who knows what. . . .”
“This is our disease and we must take care of each other and ourselves.”
Video Blog, Pt. 2: Answering Student Questions
Posted on December 26, 2020 Leave a Comment
Here’s Part 2 of my video blog, answering students’ questions about researching and writing a biography from a social work perspective.
My First Video Blog! Answering Student Questions (Pt. 1)
Posted on December 20, 2020 Leave a Comment
A couple months ago, I was invited to give a guest lecture to a class of social work students at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. I was so blown away by their curiosity and enthusiasm, I thought it would be fun to share their questions – and my responses – through the blog.
Politics, People, and COVID-19: The Band Plays On – Again
Posted on November 16, 2020 Leave a Comment
Good science and the dogged activism of ordinary citizens have substantially improved the outlook, but HIV still affects far too many people both domestically and abroad. If scientists’ predictions hold true, it appears that in the years ahead, so will COVID-19.
Far From Home, Facing the Unthinkable: My 2016 Election Story
Posted on November 3, 2020 Leave a Comment
Shockwaves from the previous night were emanating from every corner of the news and social media, and I had another full week ahead of me. The only way I could keep calm was by focusing as narrowly as possible on why I’d even come to Oregon: the story of Randy Shilts.
From Bar Outreach to Aspiring Biographer: A Reintroduction
Posted on November 1, 2020 2 Comments
When people ask about my project and I say the name “Randy Shilts,” they almost never know who I’m talking about. When I say “And the Band Played On,” if they are of a certain age, there’s often an emotional reaction. Then, they tell me about someone significant in their lives: the uncle who’d moved out west, but then came home to die with lesions on his face; the roommate in New York, who they took care of in his final months; or the older cousin from Milwaukee, whose funeral they weren’t allowed to attend.