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One Day

By , Crozet, VA
Sensation. Hungry. Suicide. Invisibility. Suffocation. Virus.¬¬¬

These words burn my eyes. Every time I read David Wojnarowicz’s Untitled (One Day This Kid…) I am silenced. Vague yet intense autobiographical text sandwiches a youthful photograph of Wojnarowicz himself—an artist, a homosexual, a victim.

I first stumbled upon Wojnarowicz’s work while researching for a paper about American art in the 1980s. While I thoroughly enjoyed the topic, none of the artists I learned about stuck me with quite the emotional power that Wojnarowicz did.

As is revealed in the text of the picture, Wojnarowicz suffered from depression and abuse for being gay. On top of being condemned by priests, declared mentally ill by psychologists, and discriminated against by lawmakers, Wojnarowicz died from AIDS at 37. Before his death he devoted his time to speaking out against homophobia in his writing and photography.

To me, Wojnarowicz’s story is a challenge. It is a challenge to change the world I come from. Could we be closer to curing AIDS if there was less discrimination against stereotyped victims of the disease? Have humans really allowed such powerful artwork to go underappreciated because of prejudice? I cannot fathom why any person would have to suffer so extremely just because of who they are.

Regardless of where I work or what I accomplish as I grow up, I know that I want to fight for Wojnarowicz’s cause: to eradicate homophobia. Whether this means promoting equality legislation or assisting the fight against AIDS, I have to accomplish something in my lifetime that will do justice to the unsettling pain experienced by David Wojnarowicz and so many others.





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