Key West, FL
United States
White Street/Atlantic Boulevard, foot of pier Key West AIDS Memorial since 1 December 1997
1000 names
Key West AIDS Memorial @ Key West
Moving further up the sidewalk, I had come across the granite Key West AIDS Memorial and a pier going out to the sea. There I had stood for few moments thinking of a span of 20 years of life.
My thoughts had started out with a memory of participating in an AIDS vigil in 1995. From there, I had reflected on the experience of coming out against the backdrop of dark times in the LGBT community. Since then I had known friends to test HIV positive and die of AIDS. Like the etching on this granite memorial, the echoes of this disease and stigmas of being homosexual were like an unresolved musical phrase by the collective consciousness of this minority today. This was a direct contrast to the environment which I had encountered at age 22 searching for my identity. Back then, love and sex were associated with societal ostracization and death. There was a lack of happy glee in that notion; however, I had marched forward in self-realization peeling back the layers of ego. The path forward was framed through looking-glass of affection for my best friend in college. It was a necessary yet, slow evolution in difference to years of assertions to being straight. Perhaps this was why the quotes from Robert Frost and Alfred Tenyson resonate so well with me in this construct.
Photos © Mark A.Z.P. Garza garzafx

25 May 2014
Mark A.Z.P. Garza, unknown