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BGSQD presents: What Our Friends Left Behind – Grief and Laughter in a Pandemic (Book Launch)

October 22, 2023 @ 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Grieving a friend is hard.

Grieving a friend during a pandemic is even harder.

Join writer, speaker and activist Victoria Noe and writer/performer Charles Sanchez, openly living with HIV, for a conversation about her new book, What Our Friends Left Behind: Grief and Laughter in a PandemicWe’ll talk about the challenges we faced during COVID as we struggled to nourish our friendships, and adapt to new ways of grieving. Has your appreciation of friendship changed since 2020? What lessons have we learned from HIV long-term survivors in their second pandemic about resilience and loving our friends? And how do we find new ways to cherish those friendships?

Copies of What Our Friends Left Behind: Grief and Laughter in a Pandemic will be available for purchase at the event. To reserve a copy, please write to us at contact@bgsqd.com with “reserve a copy of What Our Friends Left Behind” in the subject line. Thank you for supporting the Bureau by purchasing books from us!

Registration is not required. Seating is first come, first served. Suggested donation $10 to benefit the Bureau’s work. All are welcome to attend, with or without donation. We will pass a bag for donations at the start of the event, but we can also take credit card donations at the register or on Venmo @bgsqd


Deep into her fourth career, St. Louis native Victoria Noe is a Chicago-based award-winning author, speaker and activist with two degrees in theater. Her Friend Grief series – the result of a promise she made to a dying friend – recognizes the importance of friendships in shaping our lives and illuminates an often disrespected form of grief. Noe’s long-time HIV/AIDS activism then led her to write F*g Hags, Divas and Moms: The Legacy of Straight Women in the AIDS Community, the groundbreaking book that honors the women who changed the course of the epidemic. An accomplished public speaker, she has presented to a wide variety of organizations and events, including ACT UP/London, Mt. Sinai Hospital, the Muse and the Marketplace, BookExpo America, and Open Hand/San Francisco, as well as libraries and bookstores around New York state and the Midwest. During COVID, she led workshops for Let’s Reimagine and Global Grief Network, and led writing groups online for Honoring Our Experience. Noe’s newest book, What Our Friends Left Behind: Grief and Laughter in a Pandemic, shares the challenges faced by people who grieved a friend during COVID. Try to keep up with her at victorianoe.com.


Charles Sanchez is very busy being good at a lot of things, especially being gay. A writer openly living with HIV, he is a contributing editor for TheBody.com, and his work has been featured in leading publications like POZ MagazineHuffPost’s Queer VoicesPositivelyAware.comThem.us, and more. Charles’ ground-breaking web series, Merce – a musical comedy about a person who is living with HIV and isn’t sick, sad, or dying – garnered him several awards including Best Actor in a Web Series at the Official Latino Short Film Festival. He also created the hilarious HIV public service campaign, “The More You Can Ho.” His lifelong dedication to the arts and activism has been recognized on Healthline.com‘s List of HIV Honors: The Most Influential Voices and POZ Magazine‘s POZ 100. When he’s not busy writing, performing, baking, or generally making the world a better place, Charles can be seen charming audiences and his guests on “At Home With,” his popular Instagram Live talk show featuring prominent members of the HIV and LGBTQ+ community.


Registration Required:
Youth Only:
Arts and Culture
October 22, 2023
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm


Custom Sources
Bureau of General Services Queer Division (BGSQD)
Event Language
Event Topic
Arts and Culture
Registration Required
Youth Only