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Now you can see all 48,000 panels of the AIDS Memorial Quilt online / GayCities Blog

Now you can see all 48,000 panels of the AIDS

We are in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic but let’s not forget one of its horrendous predecessors, HIV/AIDS, which has taken a huge toll on gay men and continues to wreak havoc across the globe.

To bring awareness to the 40-year struggle of AIDS — a story of heartbreak, remembrance, social justice, activism, resilience, and hope —  the National AIDS Memorial is launching a new web platform where you can see every panel contributed to the AIDS Memorial Quilt.

“The National AIDS Memorial stands as a marker in the national landscape to the tragedy of HIV and AIDS and this new web platform provides an important tool in helping share the stories of the pandemic,” said John Cunningham, executive director of the National AIDS Memorial. “As a person living with AIDS, I never thought I would have to live through two pandemics. While very different, there is a thread that pulls through connecting them together, rooted in stigma and discrimination. The Quilt and storytelling efforts can help us learn from the past to positively change the future.”

Through this unique storytelling initiative, the memorial features stories every week showing the intimate human experience of AIDS during the 40 years of the pandemic. The first 21 features have been selected from the memorial’s own storytelling programs and from other public sites. These stories testify to the long struggle of AIDS with the aim to educate, to remember, to reflect, and to support the work yet to be done.

—The 2020/40 stories include a moving memory about the panel made in the honor of two lovers lost to AIDS, along with the letters written in support that are part of the Library of Congress Quilt Archive.

—The story of AIDS activist Reggie Williams speaks to the courage of those who raised their voices to call for government responsibility and accountability.

—Stories from survivors, like Marcy Fraser, a nurse in the AIDS ward at the San Francisco General Hospital during the darkest days of the pandemic express the trauma of the early phase of the pandemic.

—Stories about Cleve Jones, the founder of the AIDS Quilt, and Jack Porter, a long-time volunteer, and historian of the National AIDS Memorial Grove, recount the efforts of survivors who dedicated themselves to activism, education, and commemoration.

—Stories of hope highlight current AIDS activism by young people like Antwan Matthews, a recipient of the Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Scholarship, who organizes HIV education programs within communities of color.

“These stories help connect people in a very personal way to the AIDS pandemic, not just from 40 years ago, but today,” said Josh Gamson, a dean and professor at the University of San Francisco and National AIDS Memorial board member who co-chairs its storytelling programs. “The face of AIDS has changed over time and this effort shows how the history and lessons from the AIDS pandemic are important today, as our country faces another pandemic and is once again torn apart by social injustice, bigotry, and fear.”

Overwhelming majority Gen Z trans people have only come out online

Overwhelming majority Gen Z trans people have only come out

Just 13 percent of LGBT+ Gen Z Tinder users said they had come out to family and friends. (Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty)

Almost eight in 10 Gen Z transgender people have only come out online and are still closeted in real life, according to a report by Tinder.

One year on from the introduction of its orientation feature, which allowed daters to pick up to three sexual orientations to find better matches, Tinder has conducted research into Gen Z attitudes towards LGBT+ issues.

Gen Z, described in the Tinder research as 18 to 25-year-olds, were more likely than other age groups to use the orientation feature, were most likely to include more than one sexual orientation, and were more likely to choose more than one gender descriptor.

Of the 3,453 Gen Z Tinder users surveyed, one third said they had become more open to dating different genders within the last three years, and one fifth said they would explore polyamory.

But despite this openness towards gender identity and sexual orientation, the generation still faces difficulties with living authentically in real life, with just 13 per cent of LGBT+ Gen Z users saying they had come out to family and friends.

A huge 78 per cent of Gen Z transgender people surveyed said that they have been open about their identity online, but not with people in their real lives. Forty-one per cent of those who identified as gender fluid said the same.

The internet has become a safe haven for Gen Z, and 71 per cent said online platforms had allowed them to connect with others, and three quarters said dating apps help them to get to know themselves better.

While 86 per cent believe their generation is more tolerant that their parents’ generation, they are clear that there is more work to be done.

Forty-three per cent said they needed better education and guidance on LGBT+ issues, with more than a quarter using TV and movies to educate themselves, and almost a third learning from social media and influencers.

Tinder’s orientation feature is available in the US, UK, Canada, Ireland, India, Australia and New Zealand, but the dating app has said it will now be rolling out the function globally.

Elie Seidman, CEO of Tinder, said: “Our younger members, Gen Z, are leading the way to a more inclusive world and we know that with our scale, we can help make a difference with our product.”