Right up until his death on Wednesday, Larry Kramer was a force. The founder of Gay Men's Health Crisis and ACT UP fostered a relentless drive for accountability — from government, pharmaceutical companies, the Catholic Church — on HIV and AIDS; his confrontational tactics would change the public's perception of the disease and force progress. Nearly 40 years after a "gay cancer" was first identified, HIV is no longer a death sentence but a chronic, manageable condition. Kramer helped oversee that monumental change by pushing for affordable medications and a proactive government response. Without Kramer, HIV would have remained a disease of undesirables into the 1990s, with thousands of more deaths silently accepted by the mainstream world.
Kramer's legacy will be dissected for months and years to come. For now, here is how some of the most influential individuals reacted to his passing.
Larry Kramer’s passing is the saddest news. We have lost a giant of a man who stood up for gay rights like a warrior. His anger was needed at a time when gay men’s deaths to AIDS were being ignored by the American government: a tragedy that made the Gay Men’s Health Crisis and ACT UP movements so vital. He never stopped shouting about the injustices against us. His voice was the loudest and the most effective. Larry Kramer captured the outrage and spirit of these turbulent times in his brilliant play “The Normal Heart” along with his many other writings. I was proud to know him and his legacy must be maintained. My heart goes out to his beloved husband David Webster. Love, Elton @ejaf #RIP