“I can still remember the room was filled with emotions, energy, and determination—it felt like The Center was truly the epicenter for AIDS activism.”
“The Center runs many threads through my life. The first time I visited was April 1987 for an ACT UP meeting in Room 101. At that time, The Center had a reputation that, if you were a queer New Yorker, you had to make a pilgrimage there to witness what was going on. I can still remember the room was filled with emotions, energy, and determination—it felt like The Center was truly the epicenter for AIDS activism. I quickly became invested in the group, and The Center provided the space for everything we needed to build a movement.
In the 2000s, The Center again played a big part of my life during my crystal meth addiction. I attended 12-step meetings there multiple nights a week along my path to sobriety. At first I felt very alone, but as people raised their voices in communal concern and began to move from words to action—which I’d witnessed so many times before—I found a fellowship and community of loving, embracing queer people who were taking care of each other. In both cases, from the AIDS epidemic to the surge of crystal meth addiction among gay men, we were a community under siege and the only path to safety was by coming together. For us to have a physical space on West 13th Street where we could tap into that communal power was extraordinary.
Because so much of my activism and healing took place at The Center, it felt like a full-circle moment for me to host my book launch there, as the first in-person Arts & Culture event since the building had closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While reading my memoir aloud, it occurred to me how many people were back in the very same room where, 30 years prior, they had helped change the world. We are still a community under siege on multiple fronts, and I’ve witnessed the transformation of The Center to support, serve, and be a home for the entire community in all its diverse colors and identities. The Center is a marvel of a place!”