The life and career of Leslie Jordan through the years
As an openly gay man in the 1980s and 1990s, Leslie Jordan was terrified by the devastating HIV/AIDS epidemic. “Back then it was a death sentence,” he said. HuffPost in 2017. While losing countless friends, Jordan became one of the original 12 members of Project Night Light and used to sit with dying patients, handing out banana popsicles to soothe their drug-dry throats.
“We realized very quickly that no one was going to help us,” Jordan reflected later. The Guardian, explaining how the disease was ignored for years. “I remember one time I showed up and it was just a guy sitting in a diaper and it broke my heart. So I sat with him all afternoon.” The actor found that his ability to talk for hours was helpful to AIDS patients dying alone, but he was still an unconventional volunteer. “My friends and I would take little hits of meth, then we’d go dancing, so I’d stay up the whole next day and sit with people,” Jordan recalled, admitting he was still dependent on drugs at the time. “…At least they had company. I was wonderful company.”
In his memories, the actor recalled how moved he was by the response from the LGBTQ+ community. “When the AIDS epidemic hit, I jumped into the trenches. We all did,” Jordan wrote. “…And looking back on those days, I don’t remember sadness, I remember love.”
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