The Fourth of July weekend 1987 I will never forget. My brother came home with his “friend” and looked like hell. He was sixteen years older than me. He was my hero. He had looked perfectly healthy at Christmas but there was a virus going around.
A couple years later he was gone. My parents were never really able to process what happened. My mother somehow clung to the belief he had caught AIDS in the Caribbean while working as an auditor for FEMA. She never really got over his death.
They loved him though. His friend, partner, became another much loved member of our family to this day. No one talked about being gay in Ohio back when I was growing up. When my teens and now twenty somethings complain the world is hopeless I tell them how lucky they are to be alive now. Anything the local schools can do to promote tolerance and acceptance is a blessing.