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Walking the Rainbow: 11/02/08
The 1970s should have been a decade of civil rights advancements for gays and lesbians. It started out the way but then a mysterious illness started to crop up. Called at first "gay cancer" it was later more properly named HIV and AIDS. Although it's not a disease exclusive to the gay community it unfortunately became associated with it and a way for bigots to spread panic. Richard René Silvin's memoir Walking the Rainbow chronicles the progress of the virus and how it personally affected him.
Silvin worked for a company that built state of the art hospitals. His access to doctors top in their field gave him inside knowledge of the disease long before it was common knowledge. At the same time, he was a young man trying to come to terms with his own sexuality.
Walking the Rainbow is divided into four sections: Life Before AIDS, Tim, Bob and The Arc of Triumph. Tim and Bob were his two partners, both died of complications from AIDS. Tim's life and death was tragic both for what the disease did to his body but to the way he was treated by his family, the medical practitioners and by society. Bob's life and death was very different. He had the support of friends and family and access to better medicine. The Arc of Triumph section shows what Silvin has learned from his two partners and how he has learned to "thrive with AIDS."
I enjoyed the memoir, although there are times when the focus seems to swing too much towards his work. The book eventually evens out and it is worth the effort to read through those intense first pages.