I was so young, things were great I thought
Last updated: March 2023
Living a wonderful life
My wedding was in two weeks. On a friend's yacht 3 miles off the coast of key west to my beloved Geoffrey.
I would travel early in the morning nearly 100 miles to tape the morning show and to go school. Return to heritage on the afternoon to tape one more show and do voice over or corrections.
I had just finished helping my friend Tammy Sue finish her album sixteen as a backup and was about to embark on my own album.
On the weekends I would fly to Key West to be with my partner.
I was able to locate a man named Troy Perry who said he would gladly officiate our Holy Union.
My life was wonderful.
I found him in tears
We had our union and honeymoon. I had to remain back in NC to finish my school year for another two 2 weeks I was about to be a junior and would be graduating early 1987.
I will never forget returning back to the keys and getting the cab home and finding Geoffrey in tears. He told me he had tested positive for GRID. We were to go to the doctor immediately. Like a hurricane in time we took off. He said if I find out I gave this to you I will kill myself.
My HIV positive diagnosis
Of course almost a month later the doctor gave me the news, but not ever, even till the day he died did I tell him. I did not want Geoffrey to kill himself.
I graduated high school with perfect attendance and flew home to spend what would be the last 3 months with my love.
Following his passing
Now at 17 I was saying goodbye to what I thought would last me forever. It was 2am I called Tammy on the phone and could only get her name out. Within a couple hours she was in Key West. I never saw his body and the state took away our home because in his will it was stated I was his his and and confidante which made it null and void at the time. I now had no home.
We flew back to Charlotte PTL went under, no job, Jerry Falwell turned all my masters and work along with many others on a pit declaring it works of Satan, no album, and I was not allowed to go to Oral Roberts University.
I wound up leaving to India which started a long and painful journey of two years, then returned to the state in Atlanta GA.
I promised I would help others living with HIV
I had promised Geoffrey and myself that I would do everything I could to make sure this did not happen to others. I would stay with people and make sure no one took anything and would provide all the support I could to the surviving partner. I did so for almost 10 years. Never getting sick myself, but losing so many. Marching the streets. Protesting.
Fighting work discrimination
I was now going to Emory University working at Winn Dixie and was let go because they found out about my illness and labeled it on my separation notice.
I wound up being on the news over the case and then ACT Up became involved and catapulted the story. I fought for two years eventually winning but only because of a good woman that saw me on TV being interviewed about the firing and recognized me. She saw me almost every morning sitting at her husband's tomb at the King Center eating my breakfast then I would leave. Ms King graced my case in court helping me to win.
I know this is jumpy but I just can't be detailed and would love to get help getting this story down.
Learning about my pulmonary hypertension
So fast forward I am in Phoenix. Still never sick but was rushed to the ER. I could not breathe. After discharge I had to make an outpatient appointment for a routine heart Cath.
When I woke from the procedure I was told I had been in a coma for 2 weeks and I had severe pulmonary hypertension caused by my virus. It's not curable and I would kill me.
So much has happened, of course, much much more.
But my Gosh I was there, I lived it.
I want people to know why I still cry. I want them to understand I feel so lost still.
I wish you all the best in this life
I just want people to know it was and is the hardest thing I ever had to go through.
I would not even change a single thing.
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