Mark S. King
Mark S. King

Author King to speak on ‘Coming of Age With Grit and Grace’

BELLOWS FALLS-Senior Solutions and Bellows Falls Pride jointly sponsor a special presentation in celebration of Pride Month. On Thursday, June 20, at the Bellows Falls Opera House, Mark S. King, author of the book, My Fabulous Disease, will speak about sexual politics, the twin epidemics of addiction and AIDS, and how he has navigated sex, love, and family as a gay man living with HIV for nearly 40 years.

He has been writing personal reflections on gay life, sex, addiction and his family since shortly after testing HIV positive in 1985, only weeks after the test became publicly available.

"I wanted to put something down on paper while I could," King explains, "something that said we were here, and this is how it felt. No one is more surprised than I am that I'm still writing it down."

The result has been nearly four decades of moving, sometimes hilarious, accounts of what it was like for a young gay man to make it out of the 1980s alive - and what came next.

Those who were in their 20s in the 1980s when the AIDS crisis began are now in their 60s, and 53% of Americans living with HIV are now over 50. This presents a new demographic challenge for agencies serving seniors and for medical and health professionals.

"We have little data or research on the interaction between HIV medicines and other medicines frequently used by seniors," organizers said in a news release. "In addition, seniors living with HIV are at serious risk of social isolation due to having lost friends to the disease, a personal reluctance to share their stories freely due to stigma, and the statistical likelihood of not having children or extended family care networks."

King will address the audience with a multi-media presentation drawn from his lived experience and will hold a question-and-answer session following his presentation.

Admission is free, but due to the expected turnout, advanced ticket reservations are recommended.

Tickets are available at the Bellows Falls Opera House box office and at Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; the event starts at 7:30 p.m.

This Arts item was submitted to The Commons.

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