Part 1: Our Hall of Fame

Any celebration of the The Advocate's founding in 1967 must honor the heroes for LGBT rights that we've covered for 45 years. With one honoree named per year, the list will be announced in parts and culminate in an event in Los Angeles this month.

BY Advocate Contributors

March 14 2012 2:00 AM ET

HEROES 1982 HENRY WAXMAN X560 | ADVOCATE.COM

Few figures loom as large in LGBT history as Larry Kramer. Kramer was a screenwriter — he wrote the 1970 film adaptation of D.H. Lawrence’s Women in Love — before he turned the publishing world on its head in the late ’70s with his novel Faggots, which criticized his fellow gay men for sexual promiscuity and lack of emotional commitment.

But it was the AIDS crisis that transformed Kramer the Writer into Kramer the Activist. After his New York friends began falling victim to HIV, he cofounded the Gay Men’s Health Crisis (still very active today) and started the influential organization ACT UP, which took leaders like New York mayor Ed Koch and President Ronald Reagan to task for their lack of action on the disease. His semiautobiographical chronicle of the AIDS fight, The Normal Heart, premiered off-Broadway in 1985, while a Broadway revival swept the 2011 Tonys.

Kramer’s writing — from Just Say No to The Tragedy of Today’s Gays — is nothing if not ambitious. His latest project: a narrative of a nation, titled The American People: A History.
—Neal Broverman

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