Jim Parsons recalls Larry Kramer’s legacy – diversity2 min read
I feel a little tongue-tied when I want to say something about Larry Kramer; Part of the reason, even though I know him, I don’t know him as much or until a few of my friends and colleagues. But most of the time I think I’m nervous because I believe that Larry Kramer is one of the most influential, important people in the gay community who has ever been to this world and I fear that I will never be able to do him justice. And, to be honest, I probably wouldn’t, but I’d say it:
When I signed up to be part of the Broadway production of “The Normal Heart” in 2011, I was terrified to meet Larry. I was gay, I was on a national television sitcom and I never had my “big come” news. “And here I was going to do a final work on the AIDS epidemic, written from that moment on by a leading leader who believed that only by showing our faces, as gay people, did we stand a chance of gaining? The respect and equality we wanted and deserved. Larry Speaking in the language of change, when I feel most comfortable saying “yes, ma’am” and “no, sir.” I was afraid Larry would think I was weak – or worse, he found a way to force me on the cover of People magazine.
But my experience did not look that way. Instead, Larry was not only extremely kind to me, but our production was a success that sent us all across New York feeling that the spring-summer season at several awards shows felt, in many ways, like a long celebration. After our show closed, Larry came to the theater as many nights in his traffic-cone-orange jacket to deliver HIV-related informational flights to those arriving at the Three Theaters. While we were doing the play New York legalized gay marriage one night, from the stage I heard men and women crying many evenings towards the end of the show and often I couldn’t keep it to myself and I joined them. It all ended on stage accepting the Tony Awards.
I was ready for the summer that Larry Kramer would slap me for being “good gay”, but instead he, his game and the people who feel the urge to work as part of his work and watch his work, they all love me a change that is mine Life and career have been affected ever since. And I’ve struggled with Larry Kramer full of incredible little changes in a world-sized bucket. As gay people, as human beings, we have lost a warrior who was also a historian (where he had the power to do so much beyond me) but we have certainly gained a saint.