RANDY SHILTS was one of the first journalists to recognize AIDS as an important national issue and, in the early 1980s, he began to report on AIDS full time for the San Francisco Chronicle, making him the only journalist to do so. He was also the author of The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk and Conduct Unbecoming: Gay and Lesbians in the U.S. Military. Shilts died of AIDS-related complications in early 1994.
Known as "The Mayor of Castro Street" even before he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Harvey Milk's personal and political life is a story full of personal tragedies and political intrigues, assassinations at City Hall, massive riots in the streets, the miscarriage of justice, and the consolidation of gay power and gay hope.
The Mayor of Castro Street is a story of personal tragedies and political intrigues, assassination in City Hall and massive riots in the streets, the miscarriage of justice and the consolidation of gay power and gay hope.
Harvey Milk has been the subject of numerous books and movies, including the Academy Award–winning 1984 documentary, The Times of Harvey Milk. His life is also the basis of a 2008 major motion picture, Milk, starring Sean Penn.
When three-month-old Lia Lee Arrived at the county hospital emergency room in Merced, California, a chain of events was set in motion from which neither she nor her parents nor her doctors would ever recover. Lia's parents, Foua and Nao Kao, were part of a large Hmong community in Merced, refugees from the CIA-run "Quiet War" in Laos. The Hmong, traditionally a close-knit and fiercely people, have been less amenable to assimilation than most immigrants, adhering steadfastly to the rituals and beliefs of their ancestors. Lia's pediatricians, Neil Ernst and his wife, Peggy Philip, cleaved just as strongly to another tradition: that of Western medicine. When Lia Lee Entered the American medical system, diagnosed as an epileptic, her story became a tragic case history of cultural miscommunication.
Parents and doctors both wanted the best for Lia, but their ideas about the causes of her illness and its treatment could hardly have been more different. The Hmong see illness aand healing as spiritual matters linked to virtually everything in the universe, while medical community marks a division between body and soul, and concerns itself almost exclusively with the former. Lia's doctors ascribed her seizures to the misfiring of her cerebral neurons; her parents called her illness, qaug dab peg--the spirit catches you and you fall down--and ascribed it to the wandering of her soul. The doctors prescribed anticonvulsants; her parents preferred animal sacrifices.