This is a very informative interview that covers many aspects of gay history involving safe sex activism and where we are headed today. Richard Berkowitz was a sex worker who became a writer and involved himself with safe sex education during the AIDS epidemic in the gay world. I quoted some parts that I never seen before but found to be thought provoking. It is amazing to me that Berkowitz was considered "controversial or radical" by mainstream gay politics and probably still is by some.
Berkowitz wrote in 1983 " It has certainly been easier to fuck each other. But has it become any easier to love each other? Men loving men was the basis of gay male liberation, but we have now created "cultural institutions" in which love or even affection can totally be avoided. If you love the person you are fucking with--even for one night--you will not want to make them sick. Maybe affection is our best protection. Hard questions for hard times. But whatever happened to our great gay imaginations?"
"In his Cooper Union speech Larry (Kramer) said that he always knew promiscuity was the central problem when AIDS began; in Sex Positive he said that we couldn't talk about it because people "wouldn't have sympathy." But Michael Callen and I felt that gay men at risk needed to be warned, not just about AIDS, which Larry was doing, but about sex, which Callen and I were pilloried for doing.
From the start, any suggestion that many urban gay men's prodigious sex in the 1970s played any role in the development of AIDS was the third rail of AIDS politics. Callen and I knew it was politically dangerous, but we confronted it head-on in our writing. I'm glad we did, because it led us right to safe sex."
"This May marks the 30th anniversary of How to Have Sex in an Epidemic, but you won't see it noted or celebrated. It wasn't mentioned anywhere in the gay or AIDS press on the 20th or 25th anniversary. The 30th is sure to be the same.
How to Have Sex in an Epidemic was more conservative than it needed to be. It basically said that all safe sex means for a gay man is "don't get sperm inside your rectum when you don't know your partner's status." There was never any reason in the U.S. to waste millions of dollars trying to fool people into thinking that we are all equally at risk. Now, after 30 years, even the CDC has admitted that gay men have disproportionately born the brunt of AIDS all over the world."