Victoria Noe

Award-winning Author, Speaker, Activist

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Women's History Month - Andrea Johnson

Women's History Month - Andrea Johnson
Mar 29, 2016 by Victoria Noe
Andrea Johnson

My final guest blogger for Women’s History Month is Andrea Johnson. As is often the case, we’ve never met IRL (in real life) but our paths have crossed. She found out she was HIV positive in 2007, when she was tested after learning of her ex-husband’s affair. Isolated and depressed, she made the decision to devote her life to reaching out to women most at risk or living with HIV. You will not find a more passionate advocate.

 

“How do I LOVE a woman living with HIV without acquiring HIV?”

It’s a question I get all too often from men that are HIV negative that find out a woman he may be interested in is HIV positive,...

Women's History Month - Eileen Dreyer

Women's History Month - Eileen Dreyer
Mar 22, 2016 by Victoria Noe
Eileen Dreyer

I’ve known Eileen Dreyer since the Beatles were still together, so that’s a long time; in fact, we saw them perform. While I was raising money for AIDS organizations in the late 80s and early 90s in Chicago, she was on the front lines in St. Louis. The anger is still there, as it is for many of us. Her story continues Women’s History Month:

 

I hadn't realized how angry I still was until I watched The Normal Heart. Seething angry, unresolved angry. Wishing there were someone I could scream at angry. Because I was there. I saw the beginning of the epidemic. And I'm not sure I'll forgive us for how we faced it.

I worked...

Women’s History Month – Rosa E. Martinez Colon

Women’s History Month – Rosa E. Martinez Colon
Mar 15, 2016 by Victoria Noe
I had to go Washington, DC for the US Conference on AIDS last September to meet the amazing Rosa E. Martinez-Colon. If she looks familiar, it’s because we led a lively discussion on women and AIDS on World AIDS Day at Women & Children First bookstore in Chicago. This is her story:

I remember the first time I heard about AIDS was around 1984 or so; I was still living in Puerto Rico. A neighborhood friend who was an injection drug user died after a short stay in the hospital. The rumor spread rapidly that he had “died of AIDS” – “se murió de SIDA”. Soon after, a couple other neighbors died as well; coincidentally they were either sexual partners or...

Women's History Month - Nancy Duncan

Women's History Month - Nancy Duncan
Mar 08, 2016 by Victoria Noe
Nancy Duncan

For Women’s History Month I’m sharing stories from women in the AIDS community. First up is Nancy Duncan, who I had the pleasure of meeting through ACT UP/NY. She is long-term survivor, an inspiration and a friend. My thanks to her for sharing her story.

 

Being a heterosexual woman in the early days of HIV/AIDS was very different than now. I’m 58 years old and have been living with HIV for going on 31 years. I was first diagnosed in 1990, infected by having unprotected sex with a man who didn’t know he was HIV+. I’d walked around for five years not knowing because I had no symptoms.

I didn't know anyone else who was living with...

Time for an Update!

Time for an Update!
Jan 26, 2016 by Victoria Noe
It’s time for a bit of an update: First, I’ve set a tentative release date of April 12 for the final book in my series, Friend Grief and Men: Defying Stereotypes. I’m very pleased with the way it’s shaping up and I think you will be, too. If you subscribe to my weekly newsletter, you’re eligible to receive a free copy. Just sign up in the upper right hand corner of this page. Once that’s released, the entire Friend Grief series of six books will be available in a bundle. I have two events coming up in February. In Chicago I’ll be presenting “Public Speaking for Shy Authors” for the Chicago Self-Publishing Meetup Group. I’m also one of the speakers for “The Library...

Putting 2015 to Bed

Putting 2015 to Bed
Dec 22, 2015 by Victoria Noe
batangamedia.com

In the newspaper world, “putting to bed” means finishing something and moving on to the next level. Today is my final blog post of 2015, so I thought it was appropriate to put the year to bed and look ahead, too.

You probably make a list of resolutions each New Year’s, only to realize the list is largely undone by the time Christmas rolls around again. I know that’s true for me. Sometimes we’re overly optimistic; sometimes we’re delusional. And sometimes life just gets in the way.

This year marked a few serious changes of direction, most of them planned and thought-out. I committed to changes in my marketing: increased public speaking and more deliberate involvement in the...

Friend Grief and Men (ACT UP Edition)

Friend Grief and Men (ACT UP Edition)
Dec 15, 2015 by Victoria Noe
Jim Eigo receiving his award from Stephen Spinella

One of the men you’ll meet in the final book of my series – Friend Grief and Men: Defying Stereotypes – is Jim Eigo.

When I walked into my first ACT UP/NY meeting almost three years ago, Jim was the guy who waved me over to an empty chair in the circle. That kindness morphed into a friendship I treasure.

He has a long resume, which I’m sure was recounted when he was honored at Treatment Action Group’s (TAG) Research in Action Awards on Sunday night in New York. Playwright, editor, writer, activist: words that cannot convey the depth of his talent and commitment to fighting the epidemic that is now...

CrowdFunding Isn't Only About Money

CrowdFunding Isn't Only About Money
Dec 08, 2015 by Victoria Noe
leardon.com

My own crowdfunding campaign began this time last week on RocketHub, to support research expenses for my book Fag Hags, Divas and Moms: The Legacy of Straight Women in the AIDS Community. So I thought I’d share what I’ve learned so far:

  Running a crowdfunding campaign is hard work. I knew, thanks to the detailed training materials from RocketHub and New York Foundation for the Arts, that a lot of planning goes into a successful crowdfunding campaign. I took time to set up the campaign itself – timeline, incentives, etc. – and began posting on social media before it began. Every day I thank donors on the site, as well as Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and various pages...

World AIDS Day - And A Big Announcement

World AIDS Day - And A Big Announcement
Dec 01, 2015 by Victoria Noe
Bus shelter poster, 1991

Dec. 1, 1988. I was in London, at a performance of The Secret of Sherlock Holmes with Jeremy Brett and Edward Hardwicke. At the curtain call, Brett made a speech about that being the first World AIDS Day. The ushers passed around collection buckets for donations to AIDS service organizations in London. What a concept, I thought: the whole world thinking about AIDS.

Over the years I’ve spent World AIDS Day conducting fundraising events, attending religious services, discussing issues. Tonight I’m leading a conversation on women and AIDS – how women were treated at the beginning of the epidemic and where we are now - at Women & Children First Bookstore in Chicago.

Today is also...

Why This Writer is Thankful

Why This Writer is Thankful
Nov 24, 2015 by Victoria Noe
Washington Square Park

It’s almost Thanksgiving, and for the first time, I’m spending it in New York. I decided to combine a research trip for my 2017 book Fag Hags, Divas and Moms: The Legacy of Straight Women in the AIDS Community with a chance to cross something off my life goals list (sounds better than bucket list, doesn’t it?). So on Thursday morning, I’ll be watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in person with my family. That opportunity has me thinking about what else I’m grateful for this Thanksgiving, related to my writing.

 

 

 

Brooke Russell Astor Reading Room, NYPL

I’m grateful for research librarians. I’ve always loved school and public librarians, but research librarians...

Friends Helping Friends

Friends Helping Friends
Oct 06, 2015 by Victoria Noe
As promised last week, I have another new announcement related to my new book project, Fag Hags, Divas and Moms: The Legacy of Straight Women in the AIDS Community.

Last week I unveiled a new Facebook page dedicated to that book. Yeah, I know: the book itself won’t be out until 2017. I figure it will be about a year before I finish research and begin to write. So why open up a new page now?

Well, as I’ve found here in this blog and other social media platforms, people are interested in the process of writing a book. Sometimes they’re readers who are curious about what goes into writing a book. Sometimes they’re writers who are curious about how other writers...

Ghost Friends

Ghost Friends
Sep 22, 2015 by Victoria Noe
Looks like the car I saw.

It happened again.

It’s probably happened to you, too.

I was walking towards the elevators at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, DC, between sessions at the US Conference on AIDS. For some reason, in the crush of people, one man caught my eye.

I gasped. It was someone I used to work for, except it wasn’t possible: that guy died over twenty years ago.

One of the men I interviewed for my next book, Friend Grief and Men: Defying Stereotypes, talked about seeing ghosts. When he walks down certain streets he’s transported back to when his friends lived and worked there, men who have been dead for decades.

The conference felt a little like that anyway....

Sometimes Your Calling Chooses You

Sometimes Your Calling Chooses You
Sep 15, 2015 by Victoria Noe
Last week I spent four days in Washington at the US Conference on AIDS. I’ve attended single-day conferences and meetings in the AIDS community over the years. But the last time I attended a multi-day conference was also in Washington, DC. It was an advocacy conference where we were lobbying for the authorization of the first Ryan White Care Act, now 25 years old (and in danger of being defunded, but that’s another story). The theme of the event was “The Numbers Don’t Lie: It’s Time to End Disparities”. We heard a lot about how the South represents 1/3 of the population of the US, but 50% of those living with HIV or AIDS. We witnessed a powerful #TransLivesMatter demonstration during...

Straight Women in the AIDS Community

Straight Women in the AIDS Community
Sep 01, 2015 by Victoria Noe
With my assistant, Steve Showalter, at the first Chicago House gala, September, 1990

Next week I head to Washington, DC for the US Conference on AIDS, Sept. 10-13. I’ve never attended it, but it promises to be an intense few days. I’m looking forward to seeing friends and colleagues and making new ones, in part because of what I’m about to share with you.

I’ve already announced the final book in the Friend Grief series – Friend Grief and Men: Defying Stereotypes – will be out late this year (or January, depending on how it goes). While I work on that, I’ll be starting another project: bigger, more complex, and loosely related to what I’ve already written. That’s...

Grieving Friends Lost in Two Different Wars

Grieving Friends Lost in Two Different Wars
May 26, 2015 by Victoria Noe
When I was writing Friend Grief and the Military: Band of Friends, I was struck by the stories of grief and survivor guilt. Though many of the stories came from those doing the actual fighting, there were also those that came from non-combatants: war correspondents, medics, chaplains, nurses, even a little drummer boy.

As I read them, I couldn’t help feeling a sense of déjà vu. It wasn’t that I’d necessarily heard these stories before, but rather stories that were very similar. Only after several weeks did it become obvious to me: not all those who experience war faced an enemy armed with guns and bombs. Some faced off against a virus.

Activist/author Larry Kramer referred to AIDS as a plague. It...

News about Friend Grief and AIDS

News about Friend Grief and AIDS
Mar 29, 2015 by Victoria Noe
It’s that time of year again! I’m pleased to announce the 2015 update of Friend Grief and AIDS: Thirty Years of Burying Our Friends.Each year about this time I update the resources and statistics in my book. That's one of the advantages of publishing today - nothing ever has to be out-of-date.You can find the updated ebook on Kindle, Nookand Kobo. The updated paperback will be available in about a week.If you have a previous version, just go to the AIDS UPDATE page here for new information on the epidemic.And as always, 25% of the retail price is donated to one of my favorite organizations in the fight against the epidemic: Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

National Women and Girls' HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

National Women and Girls' HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
Mar 10, 2015 by Victoria Noe
I was on staff at Chicago House when we opened the city’s first hospice for people with AIDS in January, 1990. At that time, there was only one funeral home that would accept the bodies. Nursing homes and stand-alone hospices refused anyone dying of AIDS. Sympathy was extended only for those who contracted the virus in a way that defined them as “innocent victims”: blood transfusions or birth. It was a beautiful old house near the lake shore, donated to our organization. The doctor who lived next door was opposed to it, but once he understood that people would arrive in an ambulance and leave in a hearse (unlike crowds lined up for the overnight shelter he imagined it to...

World AIDS Day 2014

World AIDS Day 2014
Dec 01, 2014 by Victoria Noe
Today, December 1, is the 27th annual observance of World AIDS Day.Since that first year, when I dropped a few pounds in the collection can at the curtain call of a play in London, I’ve marked the anniversary.The second year I coordinated a fundraising event. Some years I went to a special Mass or memorial service. Other years I simply made note of it and went about my business.This year I’ll be part of a reading and panel discussion at Women & Children First bookstore in Chicago about the generation gap in the AIDS community. This reflection on Huffington Post last week will give you an idea of what that means in terms of fighting the epidemic.The theme for World...

Avoiding Grief at Work

Avoiding Grief at Work
Sep 26, 2014 by Victoria Noe
He looked great in a tux, tooI’ve been working hard lately on the next book in my series, Friend Grief in the Workplace: More Than an Empty Cubicle. But I struggled to find some validation about the importance of friendships at work.There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence: stories you’ll read in the book. What I wanted was something more objective. Maybe I needed to conduct my own survey, a daunting prospect I was not prepared to seriously consider. So I ignored the issue for a couple days. As luck would have it, just such a survey presented itself yesterday morning.You’ll learn more about the survey results in the book, but one of the obvious truths in it was the evidence that we...

Veterans in the War...Against AIDS

Veterans in the War...Against AIDS
Sep 18, 2014 by Victoria Noe
Last night I attended an emotional event at Gay Men’s Health Crisis, in commemoration of National HIV and Aging Day (September 18). “We Aren’t Dead Yet! What Do We Do Now?” was billed as a community discussion, with an impressive panel of experts: Dr. Judith Rabkin, Columbia University Dept. of Psychiatry and Dr. Perry Halkitis, professor at NYU and author of The AIDS Generation: Stories of Survival and Resilience spoke along with two long-time HIV+ survivors, Jim Albaugh and Kevin Oree, and my friend Jim Eigo, long-time HIV- survivor and fellow ACT UP NY activist.The event was held in order to get feedback on the kinds of support and services needed by this often-forgotten, often-stigmatized group of people in my...