In the 1980s when the AIDS epidemic first struck and the convenient assumption was that it was a “Gay Cancer”, those in charge of the country sat quietly by because “They” were dying, not “us”.
It was only later, when it was discovered that it had actually been killing “Us” all along, that anything happened to fight it.
In those early days, the 80s, Broadway was hit hard as the theater had been safe employment for Gay people.
Besides the famous people who died, there were also those who were in the chorus, the dance line, the writers. and set and costume designers who were lost, and Broadway was hit hard, and the memory remains both of the inaction and those unnecessarily lost
Michael Bennett, David Carroll , Michael Jeter , Alvin Ailey, Warren Casey, James Kirkwood, Jr., Erik Bruhn, Raymond “Ray” Sharkey, Jr., Albert Paul Shenar, Keith Prentice, Charles Braun Ludlam, Leonard Frey, Richard Warwick, Larry Kert, Tom Eyen, Christopher Chadman, A. J. Antoon, Nicholas Dante, Jeffrey Mylett, Robert Joffrey.
These are some of the out-front people connected to Broadway, and does not include the set designers, the costume designers, the make-up artists, and the many people back stage.
So bigotry and its consequences are a real thing to those connected to the Broadway theater, especially when you look at those on stage who represent the diversity in the country, many who remember who was lost and may have experienced bigotry themselves, and probably still do, and might continue to especially by the likes of those who are all upset that a barista at Starbucks does not want to be used as a political tool by being forced to yell “Trump” when they just want to do their jobs.
Mike Pence has advocated and signed laws that would allow discrimination against Gay people,.
He voted against the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act of 1990 when it came up for renewal when he was in Congress, an Act that covered the federal government’s efforts to improve the quality and availability of care for medically under-served individuals and families affected by HIV/AIDS.
In his opposition to same sex marriage he claimed,
“Societal collapse was always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family,”
He also stated that Congress should oppose same-sex marriage, oppose efforts to give LGBT people anti-discrimination protections, and stop giving federal money to Aids/HIV groups because they “celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus”.
He advocated that that money be diverted from supporting groups providing critical HIV/Aids care to vulnerable people to “those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior”, code for Conversion Therapy that is often unregulated, and uses electro-shock therapy to “cure” people of being Gay, and is outlawed is five states.
He also said,
“Donald Trump and I simply believe that all of these issues are best resolved at the state level. Washington has no business intruding on the operation of our local schools,”
when it came to the Trump administration’s doing away with federal guidance to the states issued by the Obama administration for protecting transgender students.
Student safety and equality would be a patchwork in the country, and where one lives would decide how cruel or hatefully a student is treated.
Although he has said,
“No one should be harassed or mistreated because of who they are, who they love, or what they believe”,
He has also made it clear that he wasn’t going to deviate from his religious conservative ideology, so he wouldn’t support any legislation that would reduce religious freedoms even though doing so would extend state civil rights protections to Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender citizens in Indiana.
In 2007, when he opposed GLBT work place protections he claimed on the floor of the U.S. House that it would result in attacks on religion.
“If an employee keeps a Bible in his or her cubicle, if an employee displays a Bible verse on their desk, that employee could be claimed by a homosexual colleague to be creating a hostile work environment.”
He opposed including sexual orientation in hate crime legislation when he said in 2009,
“This will have a chilling effect on religious expression, from the pulpits, in our temples, in our mosques and in our churches, and it must be undone.”
Apparently hateful acts are examples of religious expression.
Considering the campaign talk, the admonitions to punch people, and the hate that has yet to be addressed formally by the president- elect, and considering the experience of those on Broadway, is it any wonder that with a multi-ethnic and multi-racial cast Pence was addressed at the end of the play during the curtain call ?
“We, sir, we are the diverse America, who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. But we truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.”
This to Trump, a man who made fun of a man with a handicap, who insulted Rosie O’Donnell in a totally irrelevant comment during a primary debate, and questioned voting for Carly Fiorina because she was not a 10, is bullying that must be addressed while acts of hate are left alone.
The cast of Hamilton knows the consequences of hate, and asked not to have to be the victims of it again.
Don’t forget the book