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Between Certain Death and a Possible Future

Queer Writing on Growing Up with the AIDS Crisis

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Between Certain Death and a Possible Future: Queer Writing on Growing up with the AIDS Crisis offers crucial stories from this missing generation in AIDS literature and cultural politics. This wide-ranging collection includes 36 personal essays on the ongoing and persistent impact of the HIV/AIDS crisis in queer lives. Here you will find an expansive range of perspectives on a specific generational story – essays that explore and explode conventional wisdom, while also providing a necessary bridge between experiences. These essays respond, with eloquence and incisiveness, to the question: How do we reckon with the trauma that continues to this day, and imagine a way out?

Contributors

Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore

Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore is the author of two non-fiction titles and three novels, and the editor of five non-fiction anthologies. Her latest title, The Freezer Door, is a New York Times Editors' Choice, one of O - The Oprah Magazine's Best LGBTQ Books of 2020, and a finalist for both the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award and a Lambda Literary Award. Her memoir, The End of San Francisco, won a Lambda Literary Award in 2014, and her novel Sketchtasy was one of NPR's Best Books of 2018. Her anthology Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?: Flaming Challenges to Masculinity, Objectification, and the Desire to Conform was an American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book. Her latest anthology (her sixth) is Between Certain Death and a Possible Future: Queer Writing on Growing Up with the AIDS Crisis, publishing in fall 2021. Her nonfiction book Touching the Art will be published by Soft Skull in 2023. She lives in Seattle.

Chapter Title Abstract Contributors Pages Year Price

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The editor of the collection frames introduces the volume by exploring his youthful feelings about his sexuality, and the onset of the AIDS epidemic. 6 $0.60

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In this chapter, the author reflects on their time in Los Angeles in the 1990s, and her friendship with someone who was dying of AIDS. 12 $1.20

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In this essay, the author writes about his childhood relationship with his close cousin Dee, who was also gay, and Dee’s death of AIDS-related penumonia in 1998. He posits that Dee’s … 15 $1.50

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This chapter explores the author’s feelings about AIDS as a young man; he believed that if he did not admit he was gay, he would not contract the disease. He also believed that, since the … 9 $0.90

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In this essay, the author describes the importance of adult bookstores in his sexual awakening, and his relationship with, and marriage to, an HIV positive man. 8 $0.80

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This chapter details the author’s sex education at school, her being tested with a friend for HIV, and how fear of AIDS influenced her romantic life as a lesbian. 7 $0.70

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This chapter examines the author’s experiences with AIDS and HIV as an inmate in the Florida Department of Corrections. 9 $0.90

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In this chapter, the author describes her mother’s ailing health and eventual death from AIDS. 18 $1.80

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This chapter concerns the author’s youthful sexual experiences, and how he felt that he was going to die because he was gay. 10 $1.00

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This essay details the author’s HIV diagnosis in the late 1990s, and how he feels discomfited by the Bay Area because of his history there. 10 $1.00

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In this chapter, the author describes his realtionship with a sexual health nurse. 4 $0.40

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This essay concerns the youthful experiences of a Jewish woman as she confronts the anti-queer predudice of her mother. 7 $0.70

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This chapter describes the author’s friendship with their uncle, who was gay and died of AIDS when the Moore was young. 7 $0.70

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This chapter is a dialogue betweeen two activists who met at the International AIDS Conference in 2008. 9 $0.90

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In this chapter, the author discusses how he "grew up on a steady diet of AIDS fear," and the impact that has had on adult life. 10 $1.00

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In this essay, the author recounts seeing bathroom graffiti reading "Got AIDS Yet?" at age 8 or 9, and feeling frozen in terror. He grew up with a deep fear of sex that was only … 6 $0.60

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In this conversation, the authors share their experiences accessing health care, their thoughts on trans representation and chosen families, their relationship to the HIV/AIDS crisis, and their … 12 $1.20

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In this chapter, Betancourt explores the personalization of AIDS in Columbia, where it was known as El Sida. 11 $1.10

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This chapter explores the historicization of the AIDS epidemic, and discusses some myths about Gaëtan Dugas, the so-called "Patient Zero." 9 $0.90

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In this chapter, the author discusses his attempts to create a performance piece that juxtaposed images from his childhood with stories and images from the lives of gay artists who had died of … 11 $1.10

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This essay describes the author’s experiences as a homeless "baby dyke," and how terror surrounding AIDS effected her at a young age. She later received the kind of sex eduation … 7 $0.70

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This chapter details the author’s experience with his school’s abstinance only sex education, which was stigmatizing, and the structural oppression that governed the lives of queer … 11 $1.10

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In this chapter, the author examines the deaths of her two uncles from AIDS, and the stigma and shame that charactarized her family’s response to this tragedy. 11 $1.10

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This chapter explores the author’s experience teaching an "Anthropology of HIV and AIDS course" at a Catholic University. 8 $0.80

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In this chapter, Lemoon discusses the impact of her bipolar disorder on her life as a sex worker, and how the public dialogue about safe sex needs to expand beyond exhortations to use condoms. 8 $0.80

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This chapter details the author’s experiences growing up as a gay man in Eqypt, and his work with refugees and migrants who have been affected by HIV. 12 $1.20

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In this chapter, the author explores her feelings for her mother, who died of AIDS when Mayer was 3 years old. 5 $0.50

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In this chapter, the author suggests that people like her – a trans Chicana sex worker who is chronically homeless – are terrorized by America’s obsession with pathogenic medicine. 5 $0.50

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In this chapter, Birch explores the many meaning of "disclosure" among gay men. 8 $0.80

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This chapter explores the lingering effect of a date-rape on the author’s romantic and sexual life. 18 $1.80

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This chapter explores St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, where the author has regular blood work. He writes that it inspires a sense of community, and it is where he feels safest from stigma. 5 $0.50

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In this chapter, the author discusses gay music, music claimed by gay people, and music that, sometimes retrospectively, narrates the gay experience. 14 $1.40

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This chapter revolves around the author’s reading of Paul Monette’s Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir. 11 $1.10