Here are the reasons why the new Nancy Reagan stamp provoked backlash from the LGBTQ+ Community

LGBTQ+ members call a new stamp featuring Nancy Reagan, former first lady, a "slap in their faces" because it was revealed at Pride month and because Reagan's involvement in the 1980s AIDS crisis.

NewsEditor
NewsEditor
09 June 2022 Thursday 06:07
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Here are the reasons why the new Nancy Reagan stamp provoked backlash from the LGBTQ+ Community

LGBTQ+ members call a new stamp featuring Nancy Reagan, former first lady, a "slap in their faces" because it was revealed at Pride month and because Reagan's involvement in the 1980s AIDS crisis.

Sarah Epperson, an artist and illustrator queer who is focused on politics and social justice, said that "It just brings up just the overwhelming, underlying grief" "We lost an entire generation of our elders to the AIDS crisis in 1980s aEUR," you'll recall. Stories that we won't ever have, people we will never meet. ... We also lost so many people. We would have had so many more if we hadn't lost so many of them."

This stamp features Reagan's 1987 official White House portrait by Aaron Shikler. Reagan was born July 6, 1921. The commemorative Forever stamp celebrates her centennial, but was postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

First lady Jill Biden, first postmaster general Louis DeJoy, Reagan's niece Anne Peterson, and Fred Ryan (chairman of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute) unveiled the stamp.

DeJoy stated that the Postal Service takes pride in its mission to unite the nation and that the Nancy Reagan stamp will allow the public to join together in the commemoration and remembrance of this great American.

The backlash quickly followed the news announcement. People on Twitter criticized the Biden administration for the timing and highlighted the actions of the first lady during the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s.

One Twitter user shared the story of Rock Hudson, a film star who was a friend to the Reagans. He sought aid in getting AIDS treatment at a French military facility. Nancy Reagan declined to participate after receiving the message. Although Hudson was eventually admitted to the hospital for treatment, his disease had advanced too far. After returning to the United States, Hudson died several months later.

Epperson created her own stamp of Nancy Reagan with the words "JUST SAY NO!" following the discussion about the unveiling of the Nancy Reagan stamp. Epperson wrote "JUST SAY NO!" in red over Nancy Reagan's head. This slogan is a result of a campaign that Nancy Reagan launched to raise awareness about drug abuse.

Epperson stated, "It's important that we don’t just whitewash history and let it continue to be skimmed over." "Just Say No" didn't convince anyone to stop using drugs. Rock Hudson, her friend, asked her for her assistance. That was essentially her response to him. [Reagan] also acknowledged the many people suffering from HIV/AIDS and offered his help.

For several years, President Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan remained silent on HIV/AIDS. The president waited until 1985 to address the issue directly while answering a reporter’s question. He would not make his first major speech on the issue until 1987, two years later.

Brandon Cuicchi, an activist with ACT UP (the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), said that Ronald Reagan's silence was a legacy from negligence.

Cuicchi stated that the slowness of Reagan's administration in dealing with AIDS has cost tens and thousands of American lives. This is still the case even during the COVID pandemic.

"Reagan's negligence was the reason activists demanded that [then President Donald] Trump address the COVID epidemic." It was impossible to imagine COVID being ignored or not addressed for many years, while millions of people were suffering and thousands were dying.

The White House responded to backlash by pointing out that the timing of the backlash was related to Nancy Reagan's centennial and Tuesday's opening of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute building, District of Columbia.

Michael LaRosa (press secretary for the first lady), stated that President Biden and First Lady have a proud history of supporting, fighting and leading on LGBTQ+ rights and those with HIV/AIDs. "Just last month Dr. Biden visited a shelter for HIV/AIDS patients in Panama and announced $80 million more in PEPFAR funding for the region.

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