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This Queer Webseries Imagines a World Where Poppers Cure STDs & AIDS Doesn’t Exist

This Queer Webseries Imagines a World Where Poppers Cure STDs & AIDS Doesn’t Exist

This Queer Webseries Imagines a World Where Poppers Cure STDs & AIDS Doesn’t Exist
Leo Herrera

"AIDS needs to live in our imagination, and not just in our deepest fears,” says filmmaker Leo Herrera.

Imagine a world where AIDS never existed -- a world where the virus didn't decimate so many in our community, and the sexual, queer liberation of the '60s and '70s continued on, uninterrupted. It's a world, says queer filmmaker Leo Herrera, "in which the virus didn't decimate so many communities, and the lessons and joys of 1960s and 70s gay and queer liberation continued uninterrupted." Herrera's webseries Fathers "imagines what would have happened if the resources AIDS took from us would have been used for other purposes to help the LGBT community." In anticipation of World AIDS Day on December 1, OUT is exclusively premiering the second episode of Fathers.

Herrera's project tackles our current stigma -- that trauma from the AIDS Crisis is still pervasive for queer people, leaving sex and danger inextricably linked. "I refer to it as our Hiroshima, a defining incident which destroyed so many lives, and continues to mutate the way we see sex and queerness," says Herrera. "In order for us to imagine what could have been, we can go back to the late 1970s, and see the joy and advancements wemade in dealing with our own self-loathing and shame." The wound left by the AIDS epidemic "psychologically altered the entire course of our history."

Through historical research and interviews with survivors, Fathers recreates a generation of queer artists, activists, and professionals who, rather than dying in such horrific conditions, thrived and changed the world.

Herrera reveals that talking to survivors was the most emotionally challenging part of the project. "What they tell me is that we would have had so much more in terms of nightlife and its ability to not just free people from shame and bring them joy, but its ability to mobilize queer people and voters....I imagine that without AIDS, we would have figured even more amazing ways to integrate nightlife into our lives." In the second episode of Fathers, the expansion of gay nightlife leads to a development of a cure for STDs through medicated poppers.

"AIDS needs to live in our imagination, and not just in our deepest fears, because it is the only way we can find creative solutions to the damage it's caused us," says Herrera.

Watch the second episode of Fathers below:

FATHERS Ep 2, by Leo Herrera 2018 from Herrera Images on Vimeo.

Related | Fathers Is A New Web Series Imagining A Queer Utopia Where AIDS Never Existed

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