The movement saved my life. It’s not hyperbole. It’s not rhetoric. I was a 15-year-old kid getting ready to kill myself and the movement saved my life. I moved to San Francisco. I realized my life wasn’t over. And then they killed Harvey [Milk] and I thought it was over, but we rose up and were even stronger. It wasn’t over.
And then AIDS came and my friends began to die and I thought, “It’s over now.” But it wasn’t over. We fought back. And then I got sick. And I thought, “Now, it’s really over! I’m going blind and I can’t walk and I’m not going to make it. It’s over now!” But ACT UP stormed the FDA and NIH and got the drugs released that saved my life. It wasn’t over.
And last, a couple of Novembers ago, sitting in my room like all of you were watching the news coming in and Pennsylvania went and Florida went. And I’m calling my boyfriend and he’s younger than me. We text a lot. And I said, “Honey, it’s over now!” And he said, “No, it’s not over. “ And then Florida goes and “It’s over now! We’re going to lose everything we fought for, everything we dreamed of. It’s all gone. It’s all gone. We’ve lost everything!”
And he said, “Honey! Are you alone in the apartment?“ And I said, “Yes.” And he said, “Well, get down to the streets!“ And I went down to Castro [Street] and . . . there were hundreds and then there were thousands and then there were tens of thousands. And we marched all night. We’ve been marching ever since and I want you to know, it’s not over. I am 65-years-old. I’m healthy. I’m happy. I’m in love and I’m not done fighting.