Bill Larmer

Bill Larmer believes that we all should try to leave the world a little bit better than how we found it.

Moving to NYC in June of 1969, Bill has built his roots in the neighborhood Chelsea.  On his first night out in New York City, Bill was at Julius Bar and took a cab uptown hours or minutes before the Stonewall Rebellion began.  He didn’t even know what had happened until he read the newspaper the following day.  Let’s just say his first night out in NYC didn’t involve arrests or any type of fighting, but a different perspective on how gay life was for a new transplant coming from Virginia Beach, Virginia.

The truth about Bill is that he has done more for the gay community than he or any of us are able to fully comprehend.  In 1981, overwhelmed with his own sexual prowess, Bill and some other fellas founded an organization that allowed gay men to organize to discuss promiscuity in the community.  It is nearly impossible to know how many people are alive today because of this organization forming prior to the AIDS epidemic.

JOHN SZUBISKI

John is still one of the most confident fellas born in 1943 standing 6’4” above the ground and fearless of chatting up younger men.

Having living a sexually repressed younger life attending catholic school and later joining the navy, John didn’t discover his sexual freedom until his late twenties.  Boy, did he find it.  He dated and fucked and dated and fucked until he met his lover, Tim, whom he stayed in an open relationship with throughout their relationship.  Tim was diagnosed with AIDS in the 80s and John’s life changed from lover to caretaker.  John describes those last months with Tim as some of his proudest moments saying “I got to be there for him and he needed me, and that is something I wouldn’t take back for anything.”

John continues to help young LGBT members in the navy as a mentor.  He was paired with a young, gay man to pass his naval alumni sword to.  He quickly learned that this younger counterpart had proclaimed that she is not a gay man, but rather a transgender female.  John had never heard of anything like this before, and suddenly became an advocate to helping transgender people find their place in the U.S. military.

Don and Sal

One might think that gay couples can’t stay monogamous for more than a decade, but Don and Sal have been committed for over five decades.

They met each other cruising on their favorite corner in Brooklyn Heights, New York City in 1965.  Sal was driving around and rolled his car window down to say hey to Don.  At the time, Don was fearful that Sal may be a police officer, but Sal was listening to classical music that allowed Don to believe Sal was really a gay man interested in him.  They opened a framing business together and have been business and life partners for over fifty years.

Despite working and living together for several decades, Don and Sal had never talked about being gay to their family.  In Christmas of 2012, Don and Sal gathered their family together to tell them that they wish to get married.  They were nervous since they had never actually spoken about being gay to their family before, and after a quick silent moment, their entire family broke into cheers that they had finally “come out” and were going to get married!

Peter Staley

A hero is someone that inspires, saves lives, and puts others before themselves and that is just a fraction of what Peter Staley has done for the LGBT community.

Living life in the closet for the first half of his life, Peter was diagnosed with HIV in 1985 and could not remain silent.  Watching others around him get sick and pass away made Peter stand up and become one of the most prominent leaders in the AIDS epidemic.  Peter argued, fought, protested, got arrested, and came out in several interviews as HIV positive to help bring awareness of the lack of government assistance to those dying of AIDS throughout the country.

Though Peter had fought alongside several other leaders that have died of AIDS related illnesses, Peter is still very much alive and fighting.  He will be fighting until his very last breath, and for that, Peter Staley will be known as one of the greatest heroes of our generation.

Reginald Brown

Reginald has received enough unconditional love from his mom to make him one of the proudest gay men to walk the streets of New York City.

Reginald moved from a predominantly white community in Kansas City, Missouri to NYC in 1975.  He left NYC to dance in Europe, where his darker skin made him an exotic commodity in Greece and other European countries.  He lived a fabulous life full of lots of lovers and beautiful moments.  In 1986, he found out he was HIV positive while visiting his mother in the States.  Despite how supportive his mother was to him, he was only able to finally tell her about his HIV status toward her final days.  He promised himself that he would live until he died, and he is still very much proud and alive.

Reginald recently faced eviction from his home in NYC and has been struggling to find a new place to live.  He has become an advocate for LGBT seniors in NYC to share his story to ensure other seniors like him don’t lose their place of residence.

Bruce Ward

A writer and advocate for longterm HIV survivors, Bruce has spent much of his life bearing witness to the first fifteen years of the AIDS epidemic as well as shedding light on the issues facing longterm survivors.

Bruce became deeply entrenched in AIDS work in the 1980s, working for the NYC Health Dept. and Columbia University.  He was the Director of the CDC National AIDS Hotline and remembers the phone calls going from a little to a lot the day after it became known Rock Hudson had AIDS.  Bruce sang with the Gay Men’s Chorus during the peak of the AIDS epidemic and has continuously found ways to introduce creative arts as a means to educate others about his experiences.

Bruce has struggled with HIV-related fatigue for 28 years and it has become a second skin to him.  He lives each day trying to find new ways to accept his limitations, help others, and bring light to the experiences of his generation.

Brian Belovitch

Brian has experienced the overcoming of an underprivileged upbringing, an abusive childhood, and various struggles with addiction and gender identity to shape him into becoming one of the most lovable people around!

Brian began his new journey living as a full time pre-operative trans-woman in 1974 and changed her name to Natalia Belo.  A pioneer in the early trans movement, Natalia faced many obstacles and intense discrimination to pursue her dream of a life in theatre.  During this time she married an army man and lived as a housewife/model/actress.  After the break up of her marriage, unmoored Natalia became drug addicted, spiraling out of control in 1987.  Later that year, Natalia de-transitioned back into a man and called himself Brian Belovitch once again.

Now a longterm survivor of HIV, Brian has overcome many obstacles in his life to find himself in a great place with his wonderful husband.  He has transformed his hardships into a deep-rooted passion to help others as a substance abuse counselor to those who have been in similar situations as himself.