Advertisement

AIDS and the Movies

April 04, 1993

I was dismayed that two of the three letters published last Sunday about the documentary "Silverlake Life: The View From Here" seemed more concerned with the manner by which the film's subjects--Mark Massi and Tom Joslin, who were lovers of 20 years--contracted HIV than with the tragedy of their deaths.

Twenty years ago, when AIDS was unknown and the sexual revolution in full swing (pun not intended), a substantial number of people, straight and gay, questioned the need for monogamy in committed relationships, legally sanctioned or not. Moreover, gay men, never having received societal support for their lives and relationships, created same-sex families out of necessity, generally having been rejected by their natural families. From this arose their rejection of the heterosexual model as irrelevant to the homosexual experience.

Two decades ago, gay couples, with no opportunity to raise children, saw no need to emulate Ozzie and Harriet.

If Massi and Joslin mutually agreed that their relationship would be open to partners outside their primary commitment to each other, that was their business. Such an agreement could not have been made with reckless disregard for each other's life because the unreasonable risk, exposure to a deadly virus, was beyond anyone's imagination at the time.

It must be noted that it was the gay and lesbian community, once the spread of AIDS was discovered, that acted most responsibly by immediately mobilizing to reduce HIV transmission through education and political action, while the government and the straight community ignored the impending health emergency.

ROBERT J. SWITZER

West Hollywood

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|