At the age of 29, a Chicago man with piercing green eyes, a talent for drawing, and a pet bird occasionally perched on his shoulder was diagnosed with HIV. Danny Sotomayor, an openly gay man, was one of the tens of thousands of people diagnosed with HIV in the 1980s and ’90s in the United States. During that time, HIV/AIDS was erroneously seen as a “gay disease,” but it did not differentiate its victims. Sotomayor would become one of the loudest voices in Chicago as he fought for his life and the lives of others suffering from a disease that, at the time, was almost a guaranteed death sentence. With his pointed political cartoons, no patience for some of the city’s politicians, and a passionate personality, Sotomayor helped lead major protests that spilled out into Chicago’s streets – and sometimes the balconies of government buildings. Though Sotomayor would not survive his fight with AIDS, his friends and fellow activists remember … Read more
Danny Sotomayor received what amounted to a death sentence in 1988 — he was diagnosed with AIDS. At the time, there was no cure, drugs designed to combat the disease were expensive and hard to come by, and people often died within weeks of the first failures of their immune systems. Twenty-nine-year-old Danny Sotomayor was terrified. Feeling the clock ticking on his life, the cartoonist set out to confront the AIDS crisis as only he knew how: by making a spectacle.