Sam Pancake, who’s been an out working actor since he first started in the business in 1990, has delivered a speech about the toll of HIV and AIDS that ended with an impassioned plea for young LGBTQ people to “respect your elders,” which is now going viral on Twitter.
During an episode of Lovett or Leave It (The Rural Jurors), Pancake, 51, delivered an incendiary rant about a young gay man in the comedy business who said he’d rather be dead than be Pancake’s age.
“In the ’80s when I was in my teens and early 20s, it was a terrible time to be a gay person, as we all know with AIDS. Men were dying, men had HIV. We lost so many people,” Pancake said.
“Go to a party, look around at your five closest friends. Two years later they won’t be there anymore.”
Pancake then regaled the audience with a few interactions with a particular gay man who’s in his early 30s who criticized Pancake for being as old as he is.
“You’re either going to be my age or you’re going to be dead,” Pancake told the guy at a gathering.
“I would rather be dead than your age. I would rather be dead,” Pancake said the man replied.
That’s when Pancake launched into a speech about ageism in the gay community, also known as “gaygism.”
“I should say this to this person’s face, and hopefully they’ll listen to this. And maybe I’ll just to say it them. I’ll be like, ‘Bitch, do you know how many of my friends wish they had lived to see this age? How dare you, as a young gay man, say you’d rather be dead,’” Pancake said.
“Bitch, my friends did die. My uncle died, my boss died, so many acquaintances, people I worked with at Johnny Rockets when I first moved here. The best guy in the world — two weeks later you come back and he’s dead. That’s how life was for us back in the ’80s and early ’90s.”
“I fought for you, bitch. You couldn’t be out and be an actor when I first moved here. I fought for you, I marched for you. Not just me, but all the guys my age, a lot of whom died, made the world OK for you now,” Pancake continued. “So have some fucking respect for your elders — the lesbians that helped us, all your gay elders, because a legion of men and women died to give you the world you have now.”
Watch Pancake below.
Pancake later tweeted his thanks for the support he received.