Shilts is elevated as the closing speaker for the Fifth International AIDS Conference in Montreal, Canada in June 1989. Despite the esteem of the speech invitation, members of ACT-UP and others interrupt his remarks with heckles. The contrast of the prestigious speaking engagement contrasted to the simmering feelings of resentment and anger toward Shilts and his writing on/about HIV and AIDS is on full display. This conflict is symbolic of Shilts’s entire career where great honor and respect often resided alongside great scorn and vitriol. The complexity of Shilts’s attempt to be an openly gay reporter writing for a mainstream newspaper about gay subjects presents a need to more fully consider Shilts’s understanding of the societal or cultural role of the journalist.
Keywords: International AIDS Conference, Montreal Canada, AIDS pandemic, ACT-UP, AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, M. Brian Mulroney, Kenneth D. Kaunda, San Francisco Chronicle, David Perlman, GRID, Gay-Related Immune Deficiency, gay cancer, pneumocystis pneumonia, Kaposi’s sarcoma, blood supplies, hemophilia, WHO, World Health Organization, CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, network news coverage of AIDS, Kaiser Family Foundation, Rock Hudson, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Arthur Ashe, Walter Lippmann, John Dewey, Harvey Milk
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