BORN IN 1962, Malcom Gregory Scott, is an American writer, activist, and AIDS survivor. As a young man he joined the U.S. Navy, but in 1987 he was discharged for homosexuality. Upon his release, Scott also learned that he tested positive for HIV. A decade later, his battle with AIDS nearly ended his life. Miraculously, with the emergence of protease inhibitors coupled with medical marijuana, he survived, and he survives today.
In the years that followed his discharge from the military, Scott dedicated his life to activist efforts that included legal challenges to the Department of Defense for anti-gay discrimination, support for medical cannabis, and advocacy work for organizations such as ACT UP and Queer Nation. Through TV appearances, speeches at huge rallies and small workshops, organizing protests, guerilla tactics, you name it, Scott became one of the most effective LGBT activists of the 1990s.
As we find ourselves in politically and socially perilous times, I interviewed Scott via e-mail relay. In what follows he reflects on his life and work, shares the story of his near-death episode, and offers his take on what today’s activists need to do to succeed in advancing the cause of LGBT rights.