Body Counts: A Memoir of Activism, Sex, and Survival
As a politics-obsessed Georgetown freshman, Sean Strub arrived in Washington, DC, from Iowa in 1976, with a plum part-time job running a Senate elevator in the US Capitol. He also harbored a terrifying secret: his attraction to men. As Strub explored the capital's political and social circles, he discovered a parallel world where powerful men lived double lives shrouded in shame. When the AIDS epidemic hit in the early 1980s, Strub was living in New York and soon found himself attending "more funerals than birthday parties." Scared and angry, he turned to radical activism to combat discrimination and demand research. Strub takes you through his own diagnosis and inside ACT UP, the organization that transformed a stigmatized cause into one of the defining political movements of our time. From the New York of Studio 54 and Andy Warhol's Factory to the intersection of politics and burgeoning LGBT and AIDS movements, Strub's story crackles with history. He recounts his role in shocking AIDS demonstrations at St. Patrick's Cathedral as well as at the home of US Senator Jesse Helms.
With an astonishing cast of characters, including Tennessee Williams, Gore Vidal, Keith Haring, Bill Clinton, and Yoko Ono, is a vivid portrait of a tumultuous era: "A page-turner...[with] the suspense and horror of Paul Monette's memoir Borrowed Timeand the drama of Larry Kramer's play The Normal Heart...What a lot of action-and life-there is in this gripping book" (The Washington Post).