Tuesday, March 26, 2013

AIDS Writer Nathan Fain's Niece Needs Info on Her Uncle

Remember that nine-page letter from gay and AIDS pioneer Nathan Fain to Larry Kramer from 1983 I shared recently? It generated a moving note from a young relative of Nathan's, and reading her words brought me to tears recalling friends and lovers from those early epidemic years and just how hated queers and people with AIDS were back then.

Two generations of our gay brothers were stolen from us because of a virus, and our blood and self-created families need to hear their lost loved ones' histories and their heroism. I, and you, have a duty to bring forward the tales of our dead and remind everyone they lived and fought in a great war.

I shared some of my pain with Jennifer Fain and requested permission to share her letter, to assist her in learning more details about her uncle. If you knew Nathan and want to pass along stories and whatever, please get in touch with her at jenniferfain[AT]gmail[dot]com.

This is the letter she shares:

My name is Jennifer Fain, and I am the niece of the late Nathan Fain. In doing some research to find more information that regards my uncle and his contributions to the movement to bring awareness to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, I came across your blog posting of his letter to a Mr. Larry Kramer of New York, NY. 

I am sorry to confess that my research is going poorly and that I know very little about the context or substance of my uncle Nathan's writings and research. Like many families that felt the impact of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, mine has been very tight-lipped about Nathan, his sexuality and his journalistic contributions. 

At first, this was to protect my brother and I, as we grew up in a small, conservative town in rural East Texas, as Nathan did. Then, it was out of mercy for my late grandmother, Lucille Fain, who was buried in a family plot not by her husband but by Nathan himself. 

Now, I think little is communicated because very little is known or remembered. I will go against the family grain and try to remain brief. If there is any information or direction you can give me in my search to know more about my uncle's life, his character and his contributions to the gay community, I would be eternally grateful if you would oblige. 

After graduating from Rice and teaching public school in New Orleans for two years, I now live in the Montrose neighborhood in Houston, Texas, very near where Nathan lived during his time in Houston. I've had the great pleasure to meet a few men here who remember Nathan, but, unfortunately, none of them know much about his later years and writings while he lived in New York. 

Thank you in advance, both for your work to bring awareness to the history of the movement and also for any help you can provide in my personal efforts to know more about my uncle.


Unknown said...


My name is Krishna Stone and I work at GMHC in the Communications Department. Jennifer can contact me at krishnas@gmhc.org and I will see if we can be of help.

Thank you.


Michael Petrelis said...

Thanks for the note and offering to help Jennifer. I'll share your note with her today.

Steven Sobota said...

I would be glad to share my memories of Nathan(I knew him well from 1978 until his death
both in Houston and New York
Jennifer your Uncle was a truly fine man in so many ways
I can be contacted my name is Steve Sobota(sjs2328@gmail.com)

Steven Sobota said...

I knew Nathan well from 78 until his death(a fine man in so may ways)
I would be happy to share what I can