New Brad Chapter: Dying In

Brad is 21, gay, and wrecked by the death of his boyfriend Luke. He’s fighting AIDS and cops by protesting with Act Up … to stay sane and plugged in to love. But at one die-in, dark thoughts seduce. How will Brad manage to cope with his loss and the worst of times he finds himself living in?

Read the chapter —

No Medium membership? Click here to read for free →

Author’s Notes —

The history of Act Up is patchy at best, not least because many leading members didn’t survive. Some of what history is left has already coalesced as dust motes from the air, to form myth.

Like Brad, many of my own memories are hazy. The only sharp images I have of this action somewhere on Long Island are of sparrows exploding out of trees when the bullhorns sounded, of the cops lined up with shields and batons, and of Brad pressed against me on the grave we “died” on.

I hope this chapter serves as something of a personal history, as an impression of a powerful movement, and a reminder that all history is intensely personal at its core.

Archive photo from Act Up Chicago. What was this man thinking and feeling? Had he lost someone?

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, Gigi J Wolf, John Westphalen, Amir Elkabir, Pierre Trudel, kurt gasbarra, Claire-Édith de la Croix, Hole Maximus, @briangilad, Lyle Gowers, Tobias Zane, Bob Basque, Andres Lopez, Darrin Atkins, James Helton, James Patrick Nelson, Alessandra Magalhães, Veer Mudambi

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

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store