Larry Kramer was kicked out of Gay Men's Health Crisis over 30 years ago for his fiercely vocal brand of HIV activism. And it appears not much has changed in the intervening decades.
The Normal Heart writer gave a rousing speech at a benefit thrown by the prominent HIV organization, which after a long period of estrangement had decided to honor its estranged cofounder with an award Monday night.
Kramer, who is on the cover of The Advocate's current issue, took the podium at the GMHC Spring Gala, titled "Renewal," to reiterate his long-standing belief that systemic discrimination against LGBT people and other minorities is linked to the absence of a cure for the virus.
"HIV/AIDS has been our plague for 34 years," he said. "We should have known more about this plague by now. Thirty-four years is a very long time to let people die."
"I think more and more about evil. I believe in evil. I believe evil is an act, intentional or not, of inflicting undeserved harm on others. Genocide is such an act. I believe genocide is being inflicted upon gay people. Genocide is the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or ethnic group such as gay people, such as people of color."
The 79-year-old activist went on to say that he no longer has "any doubt that our government is content, via sins of omission or commission, to allow the extermination of my homosexual population to continue unabated," pointing blame at the U.S. president, Congress, the National Institutes of Health, and the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, for their inaction.
"Seventy-eight million people have become infected. 39 million have died. I no longer hear the word 'cure' from anyone. It is time to hear it from everyone. Led by GMHC. We demand a cure!"
Watch the speech below, and read the full transcript here.