Silence = Death: This was a battle cry for we AIDS activists in the ’80s. Those with the virus, or a positive exposure test, needed to speak up so that the size and scope of the epidemic could be understood. So that it could no longer be ignored. The first outbreak recognized as being of this ‘something previously unlabeled’ occurred in gay male communities, and called G.R.I.D. (Gay Related Immune Disease). The poster that launched the phrase in NYC was created by a political collective before the formation of ACT UP. See Avram Finkelstein writing on the NYC Library site for more background on that initial poster, and its call to action.
I don’t casually re-purpose such an iconic phrase; it’s an important aspect of gay history. I know the price we’ve paid as queer folk, and in the larger society; the millions of deaths, the hatred, the politicking. The power of the image and of the history it represents speaks to me of what we survived, and how. And that we will again. Sadly the message is still valid.
The federal US election of 2016 has reminded we who survived the 1980s of just how quickly our reality can be upended. Events since then have made it clear to even the most naive and hope-filled dreamer that none of the progress we fought (and comrades died) for is guaranteed.
Queer folk, minorities, anyone oppressed for their ethnicity, heritage, financial situation, or personal beliefs will be ignored if unheard. Our stories, our voices, must be heard. Our history must be shared and preserved. The lessons we learned must not be lost.
Then, Now, Always
With that in mind, I have decided to offer my version of the message, updated. The Pink Triangle is a large element as a reminder of the source of the phrase and its potency. Please note that the bulk of the selling price goes to the Production Partner for custom production of your order and all the back-end work involved in processing your order.