Honoring Resiliency and Loss: World AIDS Day 2023

Growing up in the Bay Area in California, I was first introduced to the HIV and AIDS epidemic in 1982, and like so many stories my introduction started with a loss. 

Our family friend, Lorenz. At the time we didn’t have the words and diversity of representation to understand that Lorenz was a trans identifying person. What we did know, is they had a buoyant, overflowing personality, full of life, full of joy, full of song, full of dance. They were quite frankly one of the absolute highlights of this period in my life.

Because of Lorenz’s legal status, they didn’t hold a traditional job. Instead, they lived across the street with their family, most of whom were undocumented citizens. To earn income, they were the neighborhood beautician. The mobile hairdresser long before the Dry Bar or traveling hairstylists were made popular. In our community, everyone knew if you wanted the best haircut, your roots touched up, edges laid, or flyist look from the Salt’n Peppa video, Lorenz was the person to do your hair.

While they truly belonged to the community, I felt like they were especially a friend to my family. For the three years that we knew them, they spent birthdays, holidays, and celebrations with our family. After weekends of being missing in action, Lorenz would regale us with their indulgent and fun evenings in the city. And shared stories of the amazing celebrity parties they attended. They truly made me look forward to coming of age.

All this came to a crashing end in 1985 when suddenly Lorenz became ill. We didn’t know what it was, we didn’t know why they were sick. All we know is that it came faster than we could ever have imagined. One minute they were with us and the next minute they were gone. I know so many of us have similar stories from the 1980s. About the loss of beloved ones. Stories like this are what sparked Pride Foundation’s humble beginnings.

Pride Foundation’s founders had the generational vision to create something that would support, advocate, shelter, and care for our communities in the good and bad times.

Not all stories are as heartbreaking as Lorenz’s story. I know many other individuals who thanks to modern medicine and developments in treatment and prevention are thriving and here today to see their children and grandchildren.

The National Aids Memorial has an incredible story project that seeks to ensure that stories and lessons of the epidemic are captured curated and retained for future generations. I encourage you to visit and listen in to these surviving voices which depict the strength, power, hope, and resiliency that are so important to our community.

At Pride Foundation we are honored to work alongside grantee partners across the Northwest, doing an incredible job of providing care to people living with HIV and AIDS as well as providing critical prevention, education, and advocacy efforts.

Thanks to your support, they have the resources to do this very critical work. We have already seen the results of our work and know there are even better things ahead. This year the World AIDS Day theme is #RockTheRibbon, I hope you’ll join us in wearing your red ribbon to honor individuals living with HIV and remember those we’ve lost on our journey.

With Pride,

Jamila Taylor
Director of Community Engagement and Communications

Current Pride Foundation grantee partners providing critical HIV and AIDS prevention and advocacy support:

Alaskan AIDS Assistance Association (Anchorage, AK) 
Centro de Comunidad y Justicia (Boise, ID) 
Inland Oasis (Moscow, ID) 
NIAC (North Idaho AIDS Coalition) (Coeur D’Alene, ID) 
Open Aid Alliance (Missoula, MT) 
SAFE Harbor (Ronan, MT) 
Western Montana LGBTQ+ Community Center (Missoula, MT) 
Bradley Angle (Portland, OR) 
CAP – Cascade AIDS Project (Portland, OR) 
Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon (Portland, OR) 
HIV Alliance (Eugene, OR) 
TransPonder (Eugene, OR) 
AHAT Homecare (Tacoma, WA) 
Blue Mountain Heart to Heart (Walla Walla, WA) 
Entre Hermanos (Seattle, WA) 
Gay City: Seattle’s LGBTQ Center & The AMP: AIDS Memorial Pathway (Seattle, WA) 
Liberation Medicine School (Seattle, WA) 
Medical HxStories (Seattle, WA) 
Odyssey Youth Movement (Spokane, WA) 
PCAF – Pierce County AIDS Foundation (Tacoma, WA) 
Rainbow Center (Tacoma, WA) 
Spokane AIDS Network (Spokane, WA) 
Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network (Burien, WA) 
Yakima Pride (Yakima, WA)


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