“The Pox Lover: An Activist’s Decade in New York and Paris” by Anne-Christine D’Adesky— A Personal History

D’Adesky, Anne-Christine. “The Pox Lover: An Activist’s Decade in New York and Paris”, (Living Out: Gay and Lesbian Autobiography), University of Wisconsin Press, 2017.

A Personal History

Amos Lassen

Anne-Christine is a pioneering American AIDS journalist, lesbian activist, and daughter of French-Haitian elites who now shares her personal history of the turbulent 1990s in New York City and Paris in her memoir “The Pox Lover”. She makes sure that we can never forget “’the poxed generation’ of AIDS—their lives, their battles, and their determination to find love and make art in the heartbreaking years before lifesaving protease drugs arrived”. I have long hoped that the women who were activists and caretakers during the AIDS epidemic would put their stories in writing and this is finally happening. Tim Murphy in his spellbinding novel, “Christodora” gives us the women’s view of what was happening and now we have this memoir that takes us into the East Village of Manhattan where we are part of protests and civil disobedience to bring awareness to the world that our community was shrinking quickly because of a disease that our governments turned its back on. The writing will haunt you long after you have closed the covers of the book.

That is not all we have here, however.. we read about the good times back then as well. There were all night parties, the Lesbian Avengers and ACT UP. Going to France as a journalist, a whole new world of adventure awaited. Anne-Christine D’Adesky remembers walking along the Seine late at night (or early in the morning and meeting exiles from the Balkans, Haiti and Rwanda. She was in France when the last of the French Nazis was on trial and when the new National Front began its rise to power and we see her as one who not only lived a life but took part in that life. She tells us to do the same—life is about connecting with others, fighting for what is right and remembering. Her family was one of privilege and colonialism and there were questions to be asked and answers to be found. D’Adesky was very aware of politics and she tells us that the way one responds to politics shapes lives. She loves her life and shares that love with us. Seeing her life played out against the AIDS epidemic made her aware of its value and so she decided to live each day anew. Most of us will never have the opportunity to see and do what D’Adesky has, so we do so through her and we realize how great it all is.

 

 

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