Before Wikipedia, some of the best all-in-one sources of information were local and national almanacs. Released annually, almanacs compile facts ranging from the winners of elections and championships, significant changes in public policy, population growth around the world and a listing of national organizations. Forty years ago, these almanacs, like most other media in the early 1970s, barely included LGBT people. The staff of PGN took note of this omission and began the push to have the community included.

 

For the first year of the AIDS crisis, 1981, nobody knew what to call the disease. “Gay cancer” was a commonly used term, but medical professionals didn’t name it Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome until over a year after the first media reports surfaced. The playwright Eve Ensler once said, “Naming things, breaking through taboos and denial is the most dangerous, terrifying, and crucial work.” While AIDS remained nameless, the government denied research funds and the homophobic Moral Majority spouted falsehoods, resources including PGN tried to find the truth and share it with those affected. Here is a timeline of the AIDS articles published in PGN during the first year of the outbreak.

In the Jan. 3, 1976 issue of PGN, Harry Langhorne wrote an article about Bill 1275, which was introduced in City Council in the spring of 1974. The bill sought to amend the city’s Fair Practices Act to prohibit sexual orientation discrimination in housing, public accommodations and employment.

This new column, which we’re titling Our History, Our Future, will focus on one story from GN archives and explore how the issues in the article are relevant to the community today. We believe that remembering our history and the people who shaped it is vitally important to preserve and strengthen our future. As the philosopher George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Sometimes we have to look back in order to look forward.

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