New Brad Chapter: Movie stars and love songs

In the age of AIDS, chosen family was often the only family LGBTQ people had. Brad was part of my “private queer nation,” and this crazy chapter dishes the dirt about how we got started being family. I hope you’ll enjoy reading as much as I enjoyed remembering and writing.

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Author’s notes —

I won’t be spending too much time in this account telling stories about my late partner Lenny. This is Brad’s story, not Lenny’s and mine. But I enjoyed writing this bit, because it’s a very important part of Brad’s story.

Without Lenny’s genuine love for Brad, everything that came next would have been very different. For better or worse, who’s to say, but the two of them became very close.

The garden at the LGBT community center in Greenwich Village was a magical spot. It really was the kind of place where somebody might spontaneously burst out in a song from a Jeanette MacDonald operetta.

Just in case anyone is curious, I know the day must have been Tuesday, because Act Up general meetings were always on Monday nights. Lenny worked part time by then, mostly from home, and when the weather was nice, he often strolled down 8th Avenue to sit in the Center garden.

Obviously, I wasn’t at work that day, but I have no recollection as to why. If I hadn’t had the day off, I wonder how things would have gone with Brad.

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

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

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