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Randy Shilts
Please vote to return to collections (Voting Results will appear on Right Sidebar).
    (August 8, 1951-February 17, 1994)
    Born in Davenport, Iowa
    Reporter for the 'Advocate' and 'San Francisco Chronicle'
    Wrote the books 'The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk' (1982), 'And the Band Played On: Politics, People and the AIDS Epidemic' (1987), and 'Conduct Unbecoming: Gays and Lesbians in the US Military' (1993)
    Died of AIDS
    He was egotistical.
    He was spat on in Castro Street after calling for the closing of San Francisco's bath houses to slow the spread of AIDS.
    Several members of the scientific community complained that his portrayal of the scientific establishment in 'And the Band Played On' was inaccurate.
    Although he tested HIV-positive in 1987, he kept his condition secret until 1992.
    His mother was an alcoholic and he was beaten and emotionally abused as a child.
    He was the first openly gay reporter for a mainstream newspaper.
    He kept his HIV-status secret because, 'Every gay writer who tests positive ends up being an AIDS activist. I wanted to keep on being a reporter.'
    National Gay and Lesbian Task Force leader David Smith said, 'He broke through society's denial and was absolutely critical in communicating the reality of AIDS.'
    The American Society of Journalists and Authors named him the Outstanding Author of 1988.

Credit: C. Fishel

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