Victoria Noe

Award-winning Author, Speaker, Activist

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COVID-19

Reflection on COVID-19 - More from Trudy James

Reflection on COVID-19 - More from Trudy James
Jun 05, 2020 by Victoria Noe
Trudy James

As I said last week, Trudy James is one of the most remarkable women in my book, Fag Hags, Divas and Moms: The Legacy of Straight Women in the AIDS Community. Her advocacy and activism - in HIV/AIDS and the death and dying communities - was recently honored by AARP Washington. She had so much to say about facing a deadly pandemic, that I decided to share more of her thoughts. I hope you find them comforting, too.

  In addition to the “Speaking of Dying” film and workshops, I often give presentations, workshops, and consultations on the subjects of grief and loss. For many people this is new information. In these “Excited States of America” we have never...

Reflection on COVID-19 - Guest Post by Trudy James

Reflection on COVID-19 - Guest Post by Trudy James
May 29, 2020 by Victoria Noe
Trudy James

If you've read my book Fag Hags, Divas and Moms: The Legacy of Straight Women in the AIDS Community, you were probably surprised by the story of Trudy James, a hospital chaplain in Arkansas in the late 1980s. I know her story surprised me, too! She is now a leader in the field of death and dying, as well as grief and loss awareness. In the first of two guest blogs, Trudy shares an email she sent out on March 30, not long after the lock downs began:

I was enjoying a long-anticipated vacation in Italy with my friend, Jane. We were visiting my son and daughter-in-law who were planning to live in Umbria (mid-Italy, not...

A Reflection on COVID-19 - Guest Post by Krishna Stone

A Reflection on COVID-19 - Guest Post by Krishna Stone
May 16, 2020 by Victoria Noe
As you can tell by her photo, Krishna Stone possesses a joie de vivre that inspires everyone lucky enough to be around her. It was my pleasure to include her in Fag Hags, Divas and Moms: The Legacy of Straight Women in the AIDS Community. Though the personal losses have been many, she has found a way to honor her friends and keep fighting...while dancing. "It is time to dance. Who will I dance for tonight who has died of AIDS?" During the 1980s and 90s, when I was volunteering and then becoming an employee at Gay Men Health Crisis, visiting with friends who were living with AIDS and then attending memorial services for those who had died of AIDS, dancing was...

Reflections on COVID-19 - Guest Post by Rosa E. Martinez-Colon

Reflections on COVID-19 - Guest Post by Rosa E. Martinez-Colon
May 08, 2020 by Victoria Noe
Though we both live and work in Chicago, Rosa E. Martinez-Colón and I met at the US Conference on AIDS in Washington, DC in 2015. I knew right away that her AIDS work with the Latinx community in the Humboldt Park neighborhood had to be featured in my book Fag Hags, Divas and Moms: The Legacy of Straight Women in the AIDS Community. Her experience right now, though, is both familiar and very different. On March 15 the Governor of Puerto Rico decreed a new law, effective immediately, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. At that time, I was wrapping up the project in Puerto Rico, where I had worked for the past year, and was getting ready to go back...

Reflections on COVID-19 - Guest Post by Nancy Duncan

Reflections on COVID-19 - Guest Post by Nancy Duncan
May 01, 2020 by Victoria Noe
Another woman in my book, Fag Hags, Divas and Moms: The Legacy of Straight Women in the AIDS Community, Nancy Duncan, has been living with HIV for going on 35 years, working and volunteering in the HIV field for 22 years.  She’s a New York State Certified peer worker and has been doing HIV test counseling for 13 years with Planned Parenthood of Greater New York.  Nancy also works at the Center for AIDS Research and Treatment at Northwell, where she produces a monthly newsletter and facilitates a medication adherence group.  In addition, she volunteers on the Nassau/Suffolk HIV Health Services and is involved in many other endeavors in her community to stop HIV and end the epidemic.

As a woman...

Reflections on COVID-19 - Guest Post by Kathleen Pooler

Reflections on COVID-19 - Guest Post by Kathleen Pooler
Apr 24, 2020 by Victoria Noe
This week I turned my blog over to one of the women in my book (Fag Hags, Divas and Moms: The Legacy of Straight Women in the AIDS Community). Kathleen Pooler worked as a emergency room nurse in upstate New York at the height of the AIDS epidemic. Like many of us, that experience influences her response to the current pandemic.  

As I write this post, I am sitting in a wheelchair in the rehab facility where I have been for two months to heal from a femur fracture sustained after a fall. I have plenty of idle time to immerse myself in the constant coverage of our current pandemic and reflect on what it all means. I’m a retired nurse...

Passing on the Lessons of the AIDS Epidemic

Passing on the Lessons of the AIDS Epidemic
Apr 17, 2020 by Victoria Noe
Elizabeth Taylor, testifying before Congress

When I was writing Fag Hags, Divas and Moms: The Legacy of Straight Women in the AIDS Community, I sometimes heard the voices of the women whose stories I was sharing. It was more of a feeling that they were in the room, reading over my shoulder. I’d had something very specific in mind when I began, but that idea changed, in large part because these women guided me. They made it a much better book.

Many of the women are no longer alive, so they don’t have to face another worldwide pandemic. But I realized that they and the ones still with us have a lot to say. 

Dr. Molly Cooke, on facing...

My Second Pandemic - Part 2

My Second Pandemic - Part 2
Apr 10, 2020 by Victoria Noe
winghill.com

When I wrote my latest blog post I hoped it would be the only time I wrote about COVID-19. I certainly did not want to write anymore about how this virus triggered painful memories of the early days of the AIDS epidemic. 

I was grateful that the response to that post was immediate and positive. I heard from other members of the HIV/AIDS community who were in a similar place. Our conversations, mostly on Facebook, were emotional and oddly uplifting: we’d discovered a new connection. I figured I said my piece and I was done.

In the past couple of weeks, articles have popped up on various websites. Most have been written by long-term survivors in the HIV/AIDS...

My Second Pandemic

My Second Pandemic
Apr 01, 2020 by Victoria Noe
wired.com

I’m not sure what the first trigger was. It might have been a picture like this one, medical personnel dressed in ‘space suits’ to remain safe from their patients.

It might have been the word ‘pandemic’.

It might have been ‘only certain people will get this virus, not me’.

It might have been stories of meal deliveries left on porches, or recommendations that counters and doorknobs be wiped down with disinfectants. 

It might have been a Republican president indifferent at best to the suffering of those whose lives he did not consider important.

It might have been the blame, the pointing fingers, the demonizing. 

It might have been the insistence of many people to carry on their lives as usual, no matter...

Still Connected, Even if Not Physically

Still Connected, Even if Not Physically
Mar 19, 2020 by Victoria Noe
March 13, 2020, 7pm, 5th Ave & 86th St., NYC

Like most people, my life has turned upside down this month.

Last week I was in New York, for what would turn out to be a five-day visit instead of a three-week trip to four cities. I’d been there less than 48 hours when the emails started popping up: cancellations and rescheduling. The one event that wasn’t cancelled was drastically downsized. My hotel was emptying quickly, crowds were disappearing. Everyone was scared. What would have been a busy and lucrative month was now a financial disaster. Fear of the unknown - and so much is unknown about COVID-19 - overwhelmed every other consideration.

Still, I remained oddly calm. All...