The 80s and 90s were a difficult time for gay men. We lost so many beautiful, talented people to AIDS. Other communities suffering from other diseases would have been offered compassion. We were largely offered blame, shame, vilification, and rejection. It was a lonely, scary, and exciting and oddly hopeful time (when hope, even unreasonable hope, is all you have, you cling to it fiercely).
Now, HIV is largely treatable if detected in time (and if one can afford the treatment) and we know how to prevent its spread and we continue to hope for a cure. More people of influence are "out" as same-gender loving (or as allies to same-gender loving people). Marriage equality is a reality in many places and is an open discussion everywhere. Somehow, we changed the world; and some of us were lucky enough to survive while doing it. Today, I remember those who lost their lives in the struggle. I honor them. And I give thanks for the progress we've made even as I remain aware that there is still so much to do.