Remembering the impact of AIDS on artists, friends, and the community

AMP Stories

An AMP Interview Stories, Historic, AIDS Organization / Leader, Family / Loved Ones, Activism, LGBTQ Communities, Women
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Karen Taylor

Karen Taylor has been a community witness to the AIDS crisis in Seattle from the 1980s through today. In the early days, she saw first hand how healthy men in various arts organizations faded away from AIDS, and at the same time how institutional homophobia had other impacts (such as being denied leading roles). Karen remembers the need for education in the medical profession for women’s health, for example “thrush” was identified as an indicator for AIDS in men, but for women a yeast infection was often overlooked. Eventually, groups like the Northwest AIDS Foundation (now Lifelong) started women’s support groups and helped educate the community. Karen describes how the Pride Foundation was created to provide caring and support for LGBTQ people in the region, and how she served as development director until a backlash from a “Gay Card” by a local bank ended her career there. Karen also notes the generational differences in our community inform our understandings, from older men who used to bring a female friend to an event as cover, to a current generation that sees visible same-sex relationships and marriages as a given.

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