... I'll be doing the AIDS/LifeCycle Ride!
As you may already know...every year in early June over 3,000 Cyclists, Roadies and Virtual Cyclists participate in AIDS/LifeCycle, a 545-mile bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise funds for the life-saving services offered by San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Los Angeles LGBT Center. Last year my boyfriend, Brian, did the ride for the first time. I went to visit him at the Ventura stop and I was blown away. I'd heard about it for 20 years, but not until I was in the midst of it did I understand the love, camaraderie and purpose of the ride. I was so inspired, I signed up that night. And now it's that time!
Why I'm doing it:
1)AIDS is not over. But, it could be within our lifetimes...what seemed unthinkable now appears to be possible. With enough resources, research and action, we may be able to put the nail in the coffin of this epidemic and relegate it to the status of something old, Gothic and Bronte-esque for future generations.
2)LGBT Youth Need Our Support. A lot of the money raised on the ride goes to support the the Los Angeles LGBT Center. The folks at the LGBT Center help a ton of people in lots of different ways from mental health services to medical treatment to legal advocacy. They are instrumental in HIV treatment and prevention here. One of their most important programs provides housing and support services for homeless youth, who - unfortunately - are disporportionately represented here in LA.
3)I Want to Honor The Sacrifices of Past Generations. Fear, homophobia, racism and paranoia from the onset of the AIDS/HIV epidemic made a huge terrifying impression on me as a young gay kid. The message I got from the media in the 1980s was that gay=illness, shame and death. But thankfully there were tens of thousands of people who powerfully rejected that storyline, banded together and took action even when things seemed hopeless. Thanks to their strength, grit, sacrifices, and creativity the tide was turned - both in terms of the culture and the medical advances. I'm riding this year to remember those who lost their lives in the fight. And to celebrate everyone else who has fought against illness, stigma and ignorance. I'm forever grateful to them on a very personal level and this ride is my opportunity to thank them and help continue their fight.
Will you support me by making a donation today?