AIDS Activism Needs The Next Elizabeth Taylor, Says Cheyenne Jackson

CJIt’s been more than two years since legendary screen siren Elizabeth Taylor died at age 79 and her loss is not only felt by the entertainment industry and her legion of fans but by LGBT activists, as well. Among them is out entertainer Cheyenne Jackson, who has served as an international ambassador for amfAR for the past seven years. The powerful AIDS advocacy group is a result of the combined relentless determination of Taylor and Dr. Mathilde Kim to fund research and education about the disease.

Following the Outfest screening of The Battle of amfAr, a documentary from Oscar-winning director Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, on Sunday, Jackson expressed that he is irked that some young people are so uneducated about the struggles gay people have faced and their general indifference to the AIDS epidemic.

“It’s the arrogance of youth,” Jackson suggested. “The lack of education, especially among the twenty-somethings, they don’t know their history and it pisses me off. I talk to these 22 or 23 years olds and there is so much rampant unsafe sex and they think, ‘Oh, I’ll take a pill’…Half of them don’t even know what Stonewall is and I just want to knock their heads together.”

Jackson, whose gorgeous new pop album, I’m Blue, Skies, is now available, also finds it lamentable that no high-profile celebrity has stepped up to take over Taylor’s mission.

“I’m baffled that some people don’t even know what amfAR is,” he said. “I think we need this generation’s Elizabeth Taylor – someone beautiful and well spoken like Jennifer Lawrence.”

Photo: By Doug Inglish/

h/t: GayStarNews

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  • Dixie Rect

    Why doesn’t he do it then?

  • oilburner

    @Dixie Rect: no sh** huh. Why doesn’t he

  • ted72

    Met him in a album signing in SF. He’s a real personable guy. He should do it. All he said about young gay men is very right – they know squat about the history of our fight for equality during the age of Stonewall and their nonchalance over HIV.

    Cheyenne is a beautiful man. He’s married too (to a guy, naturally).

  • Scribe38

    @Dixie Rect: I think he was thinking of a bigger name than himself.

  • Fitz

    He’s close. What it really needs is the next Rock Hudson.
    Young gays have gotten SO freakin nonchalant about seroconversion.
    The baths are re-opened, now called sex clubs. Even the bars with
    play rooms are opening again. Lessons learned: zilch.

  • the other Greg

    @Fitz: Yes, as long as they bareback with someone they meet online, they’re totally safe? (sheesh.) The public venues are not necessarily the problem, in fact they always had an educational role.

  • Wilberforce

    Expecting a celebrity to do what ignorant ghetto queens are too lazy to do. How typical.
    Here’s a thought. Try setting adult standards in the community.
    Why is that so easy for straight people, and impossible for us? Why? Because so many of us are filled with internalized homophobia, emotionally stunted, and self destructive. And we refuse to confront each other about it.
    Stop coddling irresponsible people. Draw a line in the sand. And stop HIV now.

  • Fitz

    @wilberforce: in a culture obsessed with celebrity, seeing a public figure get sick is more powerful than 300 queens or old fagots like me coming into some kid’s face to tell him to take care of himself. I have ZERO sway with that crowd, except when I am (rarely) at one of these venues and they are begging to get BB’d by their daddy.

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