Profiles of LGBT people, from the past and today – and celebrating their birthdays! All Birthdays →

Larry Kramer

One of the highest profile AIDS activists in the United States, Larry Kramer was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut and educated at Yale.  He was already a successful screenwriter when he published Faggots (1978), a novel that used humor to criticize the sexual norms of gay life.  In the early 1980s, when gay men in New York started getting seriously ill and dying, Kramer and some friends formed the Gay Men’s Health Crisis.  In 1983 he published the essay “1,112 and Counting,” an effort to rouse the gay community to “anger, fury, rage, and action.”  Two years later, his play about AIDS, The Normal Heart, opened in New York; the lead character, Ned Weeks, was a thinly disguised version of Kramer himself.  Since its opening, there have been hundreds of productions around the world.  In a 1987 speech at New York’s Gay and Lesbian Community Center, Kramer put out another call to action.  Two days later, hundreds of activists came together and formed the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT-UP), a militant direct action group that is credited with changing the course of the epidemic and the politics of AIDS in the U.S.   In 2014, HBO aired a film version of his play, The Normal Heart.