Larry Kramer

Larry Kramer (born June 25, 1935) is an American playwright, author, public health advocate and LGBT rights activist. His BEST selling gay novel of all time, Faggots, 1978, the primary character modeled on himself, a man who is unable to find love while encountering the drugs and emotionless sex. Kramer also witnessed the first spread of the disease, first known as Gay Related Immuno-Deficiency (GRID) that became known as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) among his friends in 1980, and he co-founded the Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC), which has become the largest private organization to assist people living with AIDS in the world. He became involved in gay activism when friends he knew from Fire Island began getting sick in 1980. In 1981, Kramer invited the "A-list" group of gay men from the New York City area to his apartment to listen to a doctor say their friends' illnesses were related, and research needed to be done. The next year, they named themselves the Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC), and became the primary organization to raise funds for and provide services to people stricken with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in the New York area.

Not content with the social services GMHC provided, Kramer expressed his frustration with bureaucratic paralysis and the apathy of gay men to the AIDS crisis by writing a play titled The Normal Heart in 1985. He came to write this while visiting Dachau concentration camp. He learned that it had opened as early as 1933 and neither Germans nor other nations did anything to stop it. He became inspired to chronicle the same reaction from the American government and the gay community to the AIDS crisis. His political activism extended to the founding of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) in 1987, that was a direct action protest organization widely credited with having changed public health policy and public perception of people living with AIDS (PWAs) as well as awareness of HIV and AIDS diseases. He has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for his play The Destiny of Me (1992), and has been a two-time recipient of the Obie Award.

Tragedy was a speech and a call to arms that Kramer delivered five days after the 2004 re-election of George W. Bush that he turned into a book. Kramer found it inconceivable that Bush was reelected on the backs of gay people when there were so many more pressing issues. “Moral values” was top of many lists of why people supported George Bush. Not Iraq. Not the economy. Not terrorism. "Moral values." In case you need a translation that means us. It is hard to stand up to so much hate. Kramer currently lives in New York City and Connecticut.