Civil rights activist and former King County Councilmember recalls how his family responded with love and caring to his brother Patrick's illness

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An AMP Interview Stories, Historic, Family / Loved Ones, LGBTQ Communities, Men, Black / African American
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Larry Gossett

Most people in Seattle know Larry Gossett from his decades as an elected official, but for decades before that he was a community activist. He considers his time as a VISTA volunteer in Harlem to be a signature experience in his life. When he came back home to Seattle in the 1960s, he had helped educate his five siblings about the Black Power movement, including his youngest brother, Patrick. In 1976, Patrick joined the military and during his years of service discovered that he was gay. He stayed in Aurora, CO and didn’t tell his family. It wasn’t until the late 1980s, that two friends of Patrick’s came to Seattle for a conference and revealed that he had AIDS and was struggling with addiction. His stepfather was successful in driving down with a U-Haul and bringing Patrick back to his loving family. Many family members took it upon themselves to attend classes and educate themselves on HIV and AIDS, which Patrick appreciated. He was one of the first residents of Bailey-Boushay House, and later moved to a north-end AIDS hospice. It was there, at peace with himself and with the love of his family, Patrick passed away in 1997.

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