Brad’s Story: Meeting Michelangelo Signorile

Sometimes a boy has to bash back

COVID19 has me flashing back painfully to the worst of the AIDS pandemic, so I’m writing Brad’s story, a true tale of one of the best people I ever knew.

“Roll over and let me see that cute butt!”

Hurt in an infamous anti-gay pipe bombing, Brad spent a night in the ER showing off (or trying NOT to show off) an embarrassing wound. The next morning, he and 1000 other LGBTQ folks took back the streets!

Read the chapter —

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Brad is not always a reliable narrator, so be careful with what he says. I’m telling his story the way he told it to me. I’m keeping some inconsistencies for charm and authenticity. Nobody’s memory is perfect, and I don’t want the story to be too “slick.”

Case in point: When Michelangelo Signorile jumped up on a marble platform in that church, he shouted, “This is no man of God. He is a devil.” But he was not in fact addressing a pope. He was shouting about Cardinal Ratzinger, who would later become Pope Benedict.

St. Vincent’s Hospital was perhaps the best place in NYC for a queer person to seek healthcare. Situated just down the street from the LGBTQ community center in the heart of the Village, the hospital was staffed by professionals who were exceptionally LGBTQ-accepting. The hospital also had a large HIV/AIDS practice, and their staff were among the most knowledgeable and sensitive in the nation during those tragic days.

The Waverly Diner is one of the oldest continually operating establishments of its type in NYC. Slinging hash and eggs, burgers and fries, the Waverly is open 24/7. I had breakfast there all the time, sometimes with Brad. He always ordered french toast.

The Waverly is one of the oldest continually operating diners in Greenwich Village

I’m building a tag list to include people who’ve told me they want updates on this series or who have read the first chapters. If you don’t want a tag, please just let me know in a comment or email me at I’ll cheerfully remove you from the list.

— Jim

Phil Stevens, Gurpreet Dhariwal, Saryn, Donald Robb, Chris Cohlmeyer, Left Wisdom, Ronald C. Flores-Gunkle, KM Bernard, Bjoern-Erik Hartsfvang, Chris Hedges, David Wade Chambers, clell tamayo, Karen Latham Everson, Carla Post, BFoundAPen, Josh, Greg Burns, Stephen Sovie, James Knight, xmastree, Brindusa-Katalin Poenaru, Corey Raley, Artemis Shishir, neil chapman, Brian Fehler, Esther Spurrill-Jones, Gutbloom, Carl Rebeiro, Catherine Caruso, Guérin-Kairu Asante, Fred Shirley, Bernd Weiser, Adam, Diabetic Cyborg, Michael Kupperberg, Andrew Sykes, Phoenix, monica d’auria, Elle Beau ❇︎, Alyssa Ferguson, Judy McLain, Jonathan | sex & theology, Paul Holzapfel, Ron Nelson, Rattasat khongthinthan, Sadie Seroxcat, Sherrye Richardson, Andrea Linn,

Writer. Runner. Marine. Airman. Former LGBTQ and HIV activist. Former ActUpNY and Queer Nation. Polyglot. Middle-aged, uppity faggot.

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