FOR MORE than three decades, John-Manuel Andriote has been a critical voice on hiv-aids in such periodicals as The Advocate and The Washington Post. In 1999, he published Victory Deferred: How AIDS Changed Gay Life in America, his landmark book on the LGBT community’s transformation from disenfranchised isolation into a self-affirming political and social force even while grappling with illness, death, and bigotry.
His latest book, Stonewall Strong, is a hybrid memoir and historical narrative chronicling his own and the LGBT community’s struggles with trauma and resiliency. Andriote illuminates pivotal periods in LGBT history, from the Mattachine Society’s striving for assimilation in the 1950s to Gay Liberation in the ’70s, the devastation of AIDS, and the struggle for marriage equality. The experiences of some of the men and women in these movements exemplify the spirit of resiliency that Andriote wants to document. Framing the historical sections are Andriote’s personal reflections, analyses of research, and interviews with LGBT people who have overcome the effects of childhood abuse, stigma, addiction, depression, and suicide as they move toward self-acceptance, building supportive communities, and achieving wholeness through resiliency.
Andriote contributed a piece based on his book to the March-April 2017 issue of this magazine. The following interview was conducted via email last November.
John R. Killacky is executive director of Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, Burlington, VT.