I thought Dan was an incredible speaker. He seemed very approachable, which I think is part of why the discussion afterwards was so valuable- people were able to speak up and say things without being nervous, so what they said was more thoughtful. The talk itself occasionally included some things that I wasn’t very comfortable with (I don’t remember everything he said, but I think there was a Holocaust comparison that I disagreed with somewhat), but overall the points he made were really interesting and well tied together.
I think one of his strongest points (and one of his main points, obviously) was that the current queer generation doesn’t really know what to do with itself, because it has very few predecessors since so many of them died of AIDS in the 1980s. I had never thought about the absence of gay men of that age group, since I grew up with an uncle and his partner who are of that age, and it never really came to mind. But when Dan talked about all the artists who had passed before their time, especially the ones who hadn’t yet hit their prime or made their great work, I realized how huge of an epidemic this really was. It was before my time, but the effects it has had on my time—on people I would have looked up to, members of the queer community whose influence and experience and ideas I will never learn from—are immense.Dan Fishback