Pilgrimage: healing the horror of AIDS

In 1987 I found out I was HIV positive. In 1988 AIDS took my best friend Alvin. Less than two years later my boyfriend Tony’s body was flown in a coffin from LA to his mother in New York. That same year the LA Gay & Lesbian Center began treating my HIV even though I had no money and no insurance. My mentor, Gustav died from AIDS only weeks before the protease inhibitors came out that began literally saving lives of people like me and those newly infected.

Tomorrow I begin, for the fifth time, a 7 day bike ride from SF to LA to raise money to help people like the kid I was way back then. We also raise the money to prevent new infections. 
But many of us do this because there is little else we can do with the pain of the horror we’ve lived through. 
Every donation, every bit of applause, every hug, smile, and show of support, bring hope to the future. 
But this event also works as a communal salve for those of us on this annual pilgrimage who are exorcising our demons from an unimaginable past that still stalks us each day. 

Author: Mikel Gerle

I write about life as a contemporary gay man in Hollywood, CA. I have a passion for spaces where gay men explore their authentic selves and thrive as a result. I'd like this blog to be one of those places. I write and teach yoga. During my life so far, I've been a Mormon, a ballet dancer, a city bureaucrat, an AIDS era survivor, International Mister Leather, and a yoga teacher. All of these journies have informed my philosophies on being human, being gay, and being awesome.

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