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My Desire for HistoryEssays in Gay, Community, and Labor History$
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Allan Berube, John D'Emilio, and Estelle B. Freedman

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780807834794

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807877982_berube

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Caught in the Storm : AIDS and the Meaning of Natural Disaster

Caught in the Storm : AIDS and the Meaning of Natural Disaster

(p.147) Chapter 9 Caught in the Storm : AIDS and the Meaning of Natural Disaster
My Desire for History

Allan Bérubé

University of North Carolina Press

In this essay, Berube writes of the need to grieve and mourn as well as to acknowledge the horrific human cost of the AIDS epidemic. At the same time, he takes strong issue with those who try to impose meaning on the tragedy. Some of the responses to AIDS, Berube argues, continued a long historical tradition of scapegoating gay men for their sexual desires. Instead, Berube sees AIDS as “a profound tragedy” and mourns the loss of “our old shelters,” where, through sexual expression, gay men had found warmth, companionship, pleasure, and community. “Caught in the Storm” is the first of several long essays that Berube composed in which he mined his personal experience for broader insights into both the past and the present. Berube published it in Out/Look, a Bay Area publication with a national reach that was founded in 1988, just as the AIDS epidemic was leading to a revival of radical critiques of American society and more militant gay activism.

Keywords:   Berube, AIDS epidemic, scapegoating, gay men, sexual desires

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