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Wednesday, July 17, 2013


He tells GSN: 'I'm baffled that some people don't even know what amfAR is'

Cheyenne Jackson showed up at LA's Outfest film festival on Sunday to help remind people - especially young people - that there is still no cure for AIDS.

'It's insane. Too many people don't know what's going on,' the Tony Award nominee told Gay Star News following a screening of the documentary The Battle for amfAR.

For the past seven years, Jackson has served as an international ambassador for amfAR (The Foundation for AIDS Research) the landmark AIDS advocacy group spearheaded in 1985 by Dr. Mathilde Kim and Elizabeth Taylor.

But now that AIDS is no longer a certain death sentence for those who have access to the life-saving drugs that have been developed, Jackson says he is 'baffled' by the indifference many young people show towards the disease.

'It's the arrogance of youth,' he said. 'The lack of education - especially among the twentysomethings - they don't know their history and it pisses me off. I talk to these 22 or 23 years olds and there is so much rampant unsafe sex and they think, "Oh, I'll take a pill."'

He added: 'Half of them don't even know what Stonewall is and I just want to knonk their heads together.'

But instead of konking heads, he is getting the word out and traveling to wherever he is needed by amfAR.

'The technical term is I'm their bitch,' Jackson joked during a panel discussion after the screening. 'I'll do anything for them. I'm literally their bitch and I love it. It has totally enriched my life. I know we are going to find a cure in my lifetime and it's such a blessing to be a part of it.'

AmfAR succeeded in lobbying the government to fund AIDS research and HIV treatment education. The story of how it was formed during the early days of the AIDS crisis is told in the new short documentary from Oscar winners Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman.

There is dramatic footage of Taylor, who died in 2011, lobbying for funding before the US Senate and saying to the senators: 'I will not be silenced and I will not be ignored and I will not give up. ... I will come back again and again and again.'

It was Taylor's star wattage that helped to bring attention and funding to amfAR's work and Jackson says a superstar of that caliber is needed now to connect with those in their 20s.

'I'm baffled that some people don't even know what amfAR is,' he said. 'I think we need this generation's Elizabeth Taylor - someone beautiful and well spoken like Jennifer Lawrence.'


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