Irish LGBT+ community pay tribute to legacy of pioneering HIV and AIDS activist Larry Kramer

Following the passing of playwright and activist, Larry Kramer, on Wednesday, Irish LGBT+ activists and artists commemorate his powerful legacy.

Larry Kramer
Image: Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

The Irish LGBT+ community honour the memory of playwright Larry Kramer by speaking about his legendary life campaigning for HIV and AIDS awareness. 

On Wednesday, May 27, it was reported that the author had sadly passed away in Manhattan, New York City. Speaking to media outlets, his husband, David Webster, said pneumonia was the cause of death. 

Larry Kramer dedicated his life towards fighting for LGBT+ equality and visibility. His tenacious attitudes and love for the community sparked multiple movements which paved the way towards securing full representation. He founded the Gay Men’s Health Crisis in 1982 and in 1987, he went on to launch ACT UP. 

In light of Kramer’s passing, the LGBT+ community are speaking out about his monumental legacy. Director of MPOWER, Adam Shanley, wrote, “Although I never met him, he taught me so much about activism, courage, and righteous rage. Reading FAGGOTS and the Normal Heart as a young gay man changed my life – and that’s not hyperbole.”

Speaking power through activism and writing, Kramer mobilised a generation into action and furiously stood against stagnant government powers. Queer creator and activist, Will St Leger wrote a heartfelt message, “RIP Larry – Listening to Larry Kramer’s unapologetic anger at the political complacency in the fight against #HIV and #AIDS was one of the reasons I joined.”

Director of THISISPOPBABY, Philly McMahon shared, “Larry Kramer – Queer agitator, AIDS activist, significant artist and New York hero. Truly legendary. Rest In Power.”

Irish LGBT+ youth services, BeLonG To, commemorated Kramer’s memory by writing, “Deeply saddened to hear of Larry Kramer’s passing overnight.  Larry was a tireless HIV/ AIDS activist and a talented writer and a founder of the global @ActUpDublin movement. A huge loss to global #LGBTI+ community and the world. May he rest in Pride.”

Dublin Pride spoke about the activist’s incredible strength, “Larry Kramer, Playwright and Outspoken AIDS Activist, Dies at 84. He sought to shock the US into dealing with AIDS as a public-health emergency and foresaw that it could kill millions regardless of sexual orientation. Rest In Power.”

This Is Me campaign founder, Noah Halpin, expressed, “Very sad news today. One of our own. Thank you for paving the way. Rest in Power.”

ACT UP Dublin activist, Thomas Strong, opened up about the inspiring power of the late playwright, “We can’t find our copy of Reports. So it must be at the office. When I was in college I wanted to write like Larry Kramer: like a prophet. He changed my life. I always said my three heroes were: Madonna, Muhammad Ali, and Larry Kramer. I’m sticking with that answer. RIP.”

Through righteous rage and resilience in the face of institutionalised and societal discrimination, Larry Kramer inspired others to act by never backing down. Across the world, the LGBT+ community remembers him as a hero who passionately fought for inclusivity. 

Head of Programming at the GAZE Film Fest, Seán McGovern, wrote, “Larry Kramer, what a complex figure! A powerhouse of activism in the fight against AIDS. And lest we forget, an Oscar-nominated screenwriter (WOMEN IN LOVE) and playwright. Death is inevitable, but this is truly a shock and a loss. RIP, Larry.”

Following his passing, ACT UP New York tweeted, “Rest in power to our fighter Larry Kramer. Your rage helped inspire a movement. We will keep honoring your name and spirit with action. In the spirit of ACT UP, join us and chant this (three times). #ACTUPFightbackENDAIDS.”

Irish filmmaker in New York City, Paul Rowley, posted on Instagram, “Larry Kramer. 1935-2020. He saved and inspired so many lives with his anger and determination.”

Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, Peter Tatchell shared, “ACT UP’s efforts helped save the lives of millions of people worldwide and Larry was part of that achievement. His often angry tirades against President Reagan, the New York Times, drug corporations and the medical establishment were searing and effective. I counted him as a friend and comrade. He will be missed and remembered for decades to come.”

Irish queer activists and artists are highlighting the power of Larry Kramer by paying tribute to his life. In a 2015 interview, the playwright shared a poignant message for the community, “Be bold. You’d be surprised how strong you are capable of being.”

© 2020 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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