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Monday, September 5, 2011

The Song In My Head

Were he still alive, today would be Freddie Mercury's 65th birthday. MAN, time flies. It's been 20 years since the greatest natural voice rock has ever had died from a disease nobody really talked about. Sure, Rock Hudson and Liberace had passed, but to us they were old. Freddie was legendary, to be sure, but he was still highly culturally relevant when he died. Still, he withered away physically and denied the reason like so many others did.

Now, a lot of people I used to know are gone as well. A much as people will say that some deserved it and some didn't, I'll tell you that there's no "good" way to get HIV. A person sounds the same dying of aggressive pneumonia; Kaposi's Sarcoma looks the same, whether you acquired HIV from a blood transfusion or your boyfriend. Trust me- I've seen it up close and personal dozens and dozens of times. 

Today, people reminisce fondly about Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, but that warmness is not usually exhibited by those who have lost friends, spouses, or kids from the disease. Between Reagan's "ignore the disease because it's just about homos" philosophy to Thatcher's outwardly homophobic policies which made gays even more marginalized, a ton of people got sick and died horrible deaths in the prime of their lives. It took the deaths of people like Freddie to make people wake up to the fact that, as my worn-out ACT-UP shirt says, silence equals death.

Freddie Mercury knew there would be no cure for his condition, but hoped that his final admission could be of some help to someone. If the only afterlife is in the memories of others, Freddie Mercury's had a monumental life after death. Over a billion people watched the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, raising millions of dollars and opening the minds of people across the globe. 

For Freddie, The Show Must Go On. And it continues today.

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