Stories from Silent Survivors of Divine Punishment: Faith and Loomy Juice (Pt. 2)

I’ve heard people say the story of our lives is best told in the snapshot of those who show up for our funeral. Final services for members of the LGBTQ+ community in the South are often layered with stigma and controversy. Due to grief (and sometimes denial), families often eulogize the person in a way that is more reflective of who they wish the person was (rather than who they actually were at the time of their passing).

Stories from Silent Survivors of Divine Punishment: JJ and Lamont

Stories from Silent Survivors of Divine Punishment: JJ and Lamont

The denial of HIV’s early impact was so severe in some African American faith communities that ‘church cancer’ became the colloquial term used when explaining the cause of death for the formerly embraced, now stigmatized (and socially-abandoned) gay men who passed away from AIDS complications.

Randevyn Pierre discusses “Black Healthcare Stigma and Its Impact: Fowlkes’ 40-Year Fight for Health Equity in HIV”

“Imagine working in an office where you know that everyone who comes through the doors is gonna die.
I remember telling one of my clients who was dying that I didn’t know if I could continue doing the work anymore, because I wasn’t making a difference and I couldn’t keep watching people die.
He told me I had an obligation to help everyone I saw, even if I only saved one life in all the time I worked in HIV/AIDS. That was over 30 years ago.” – Earl Fowlkes