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‘The Normal Heart” Author Larry Kramer Talks About What’s Missing From Gay Activism

“Since the publication of Faggots in 1978, Larry Kramer has been speaking truth – as he sees it – to power.” Wow, can you imagine the impact a publication called Faggots would have had in 1978? To get that impact today, in 2011, that punch must be much harder. Larry Kramer says the feeling of “being uncomfortable is healthy”and I believe a force needed in creating pro-action from individuals  searching for comfort in society. Mike Enders


What’s more unusual, Kramer has been telling his uncomfortable truths to those who, like him, claim to be fighting that power.

Kramer, 76, is comfortable making others uncomfortable. Anger, he says in his cluttered, book-filled apartment off Washington Square Park in Manhattan, is ”a wonderfully healthy emotion.”

Although Faggots brought him attention, it was a few years later, as he began to witness the devastation of the strange disease that would become known as AIDS, that Kramer became an immovable object in a then-radical resistance that began with the founding of Gay Men’s Health Crisis. GMHC begat his play, The Normal Heart, which debuted at The Public Theater in the East Village in 1985. That play begat the founding of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, better known as ACT UP.

The Normal Heart‘s story of an unrelentingly aggressive activist who is fighting for research, drugs and community activism in the face of a new illness that is killing gay men is Kramer’s story. Kramer’s sequel to The Normal HeartThe Destiny of Me, opened off-Broadway in 1992 and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1993.


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