Proud Warrior

Larry Kramer will take on COVID-19 in his latest play

Larry Kramer is planning to take his epic battle and chronicling of the AIDS pandemic to a new one: the COVID-19 crisis.

At 84, Kramer already begun work on An Army of Lovers Must Not Die. The writer told The New York Times that the plot deals with “gay people having to live through three plagues.”

The three plagues are COVID-19, HIV/AIDS and the decline of the human body: in other words, aging. True to form, Kramer intends the play as an indictment of US government complacency.

“The government has been awful in both cases,” Kramer told the Times. “They were terrible with AIDS and they’re terrible with this thing. One wonders what will become of us.”

Kramer was an outspoken critic of the Reagan White House’s inaction on the plague in the early 1980s. Although the disease was identified in 1981, Reagan refused to mention it publicly until a news conference in 1985 and then in speeches in 1987. By then, thousands already had died and preventable transmissions spread like wildfire. At least 30 million human beings have lost their lives since then, with the vast majority resulting from heterosexual transmissions. It took Reagan’s Christian conservative Surgeon General, C. Everette Koop to battle the disease almost single-handedly from his bully pulpit, refusing to give in to the inaction of antigay activists within the White House who saw the disease not as a virus but as God’s punishment for gay sex.

The world has had the misfortune of two pandemics falling under Republican Administrations who prioritize politics over public health.

In response to Reagan’s inaction, Kramer founded the Gay Men’s Health Crisis to provide services to those hard hit by AIDS as well as ACT UP, a street protest group that demanded prevention and treatment for the disease.

Kramer is also known for his novel Faggots about queer culture in the 1970s and The Normal Heart, a play about the toll of AIDS.

This year he published volume II of American People: The Brutality of Fact. Volume I, American People: Searching for My Heart was published in 2015.

Related: The true love story behind Larry Kramer’s classic, furious novel ‘Faggots’