I don't know how to feel about this, really. It's big news, but so much remains undone.
When I was in college, I used to work in a record store, across the street from Mac's, a gay bar that was in downtown San Jose. It was a narrow, crowded, occasionally seedy bar with very little to distinguish it except for its very low drink prices and the camaraderie that grew out of so much life being packed into such a small space. Practically everyone who worked in the bars, clubs, stores, and restaurants downtown went to Mac's, as did many of the clubgoing regulars, who would make a pubcrawl inbetween concerts and dancing. If I didn't go there to hang out with the local regulars, I would be in there hanging out with my friend adaeon,, with the owner of the record store, who was a lesbian, or simply to grab a quick drink and play a game of pinball in the back of the bar. Nobody cared much what anyone's sexual orientation was, and a good time was had by all.
And yet, behind it all was a considerable amount of pain and loss. Photos and polaroids on the wall of people who were no longer there anymore. People's family, friends, and lovers... and monthly magazines in the corner where you could read memorials for the latest dozen or two people who died. And there would also be occasional times when someone came into the bar who was obviously not in the best of health, only to disappear from site later, eventually winding up as yet another picture behind the bar.
I'm sure I knew several of those who got their pictures behind the bar, but like many of us hanging out at Mac's, I was able to live largely untouched by that reality. I have had a friend of mine through LJ die of AIDS. I suspect that one of our old housemates and a friend of Kirsten's since high school committed suicide rather than face death by AIDS and the scorn of his very Catholic family. He always made it clear that he would kill himself if the worst happened. For many, AIDS was the absolute worst thing that could happen to you. For many, it still is.
Maybe I should be happier about this news, but it's hard for me to celebrate too much right now.