oral history

“I’m not going to lie.This is my life”

Viviana Maldonado’s father was a Baptist preacher serving the Hispanic community in their small Nebraska town. She recalls how her family banded together when he was diagnosed with HIV—and how they drifted apart after his death.



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The Language of Secrecy

By the time Marco Roth started high school in the 1980s, his medical researcher father was dying of AIDS. He’d supposedly accidentally infected himself with a needle years earlier. In this original essay, Roth, co-founder of literary journal n+1 and author of The Scientists: A Family Romance, investigates how his family survived a legacy of secrets and lies.

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"I wanted to be strong”

ACT UP rabble-rouser Bob Rafsky was a star of the 2012 Oscar-nominated documentary How to Survive a Plague. His daughter Sara—whose home movies appear in the film—talks about the tough decision to publicly share her most painful moments, and what it’s like to receive a condolence letter from the President.

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Like an Onion

In this excerpt from Victoria Loustalot’s 2013 memoir, This is How You Say Goodbye: A Daughter’s Memoir, Victoria remembers the day her father revealed two secrets that would radically transform her family.

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