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Larry Kramer

Larry Kramer was an American playwright, author, film producer, public health advocate, and gay rights activist.

Born in Connecticut, Kramer graduated from Yale College with a degree in English and began a career in film writing and production. His screenplay adaptation of D.H. Lawrence’s Women in Love earned him an Oscar nomination. 

In the 1970s, Kramer started integrating LGBTQ+ themes in his writing. While his openness alienated some people, it also helped bring attention to the urgency of the AIDS epidemic. Kramer had no interest in political activism before, but as he watched his friends dying, and saw the government’s bureaucratic and half-hearted response, he got angry.

In 1980, Kramer co-founded the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, a NYC-based nonprofit that has grown to be the world’s largest private organization assisting people living with AIDS. He also co-founded the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) in 1987, to raise public awareness to help to fight the AIDS crisis. 

Kramer learned he was HIV-positive in 1988. In 2001, he fought for the right, as a gay person, to receive a liver transplant. “We shouldn’t face a death sentence because of who we are or who we love,” he said. He received the transplant another two decades, dying from pneumonia in 2020 at the age of 84.

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