On Sunday November 9th, while the California GLBT community was marching and protesting the passage of Prop 8, a fighter and hero for the GLBT community had died. Hank Wilson, an activist since the early 70’s, has passed.
Wilson is known as a champion for the GLBT community, for people with HIV/AIDS, and a thorn in establishments sides. He dedicated his life to preventing the spread of AIDS.
Pushing lawmakers to acknowledge and fight the AIDS Epidemic. Stopping hate in it’s tracks. Warning and educating people on the dangers of “poppers”. Never has there been such an activist for gay men’s health and freedom.
Many young people aren’t that familiar with his efforts, which is an shameful thing. You should know his works. He fought against the “Briggs Initiative”. Which was an effort to ban gays and lesbians from teaching in schools. He fought and rallied the community to force the SF Board of Education to add Sexual Orientation to the district’s nondiscrimination policy.
He spent years advocating for the prevention of HIV/AIDS. Getting federal and state funding to researchers and community groups. At the beginning of the epidemic leaders and lawmakers wouldn’t even talk publicly about AIDS let alone push for funding. But Wilson used rallies and marches to get them talking and most importantly funding the fight.
We, as a community, owe a lot to this legend. He was our friend, our brother and our hero.
Official statement of passing:
Henry “Hank” Wilson, who for more than 30 years has been a leader of both the Queer Liberation and AIDS Communities, died peacefully at 4 P.M. Sunday November 9th in Davies Hospital. A long-term HIV/AIDS survivor and “Thriver” he succumbed to Lung Cancer. I had seen him in the hour before; Hank was under sedation and was sleeping deeply, so I did not wake him. I am thankful that his passing was so gentle. I will post more as information becomes available.
Remembering one of my heroes,
What others are saying:
The death of a consummate gay men’s health activist By Chris Bartlett
Hank Wilson, Longtime Gay AIDS Survivor, Has Died By Michael Petrelis
One more thing.
How will you remember and honor Hank Wilson? Will you continue his work? Will you be more than just a voice for change?
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