HIV/AIDS: A Literary History

Panel Conversation
ONE Gallery

626 N Robertson Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069

Queer writers and oral historians are largely responsible for the survival of queer stories chronicling our community’s experiences on the margins of societies. Ted Kerr, Abdi Nazemian, Rasheed Newson, and Eric Wat are authors whose lives and works have been impacted and informed by HIV and AIDS and will discuss the condition’s impact on the evolution of art and the literary world.

This program may not be suitable for all ages.


Abdi Nazemian is the author of Only This Beautiful Moment, the Stonewall Honor Book Like a Love Story, The Chandler Legacies, and The Authentics. His novel The Walk-In Closet won the Lambda Literary Award for LGBT Debut Fiction. His screenwriting credits include the films The Artist’s Wife, The Quiet, and Menendez: Blood Brothers and the television series Ordinary Joe and The Village. He has been an executive producer and associate producer on numerous films, including Call Me by Your Name, Little Woods, and The House of Tomorrow. He lives in Los Angeles with his husband, their two children, and their dog, Disco. Photo credit: Michelle Schapiro

Theodore (ted) Kerr is a Canadian-born, Brooklyn-based writer and organizer. He is the co-author of We Are Having This Conversation Now: The Times of AIDS Cultural Production, with Alexandra Juhasz (2022, Duke University Press). For the US National Library of Medicine, Kerr curated the travelling and online exhibition: AIDS, Posters, and Stories of Public Health: A People’s History of a Pandemic. In 2019, Kerr was the editor of What You Don´t Know About AIDS Could Fill a Museum for On Curating. In 2016 / 2017 Kerr performed 10 interviews for the Smithsonian Archives of American Art’s Visual Arts and the AIDS Epidemic: An Oral History Project. He teaches at The New School and Manhattan College. He is a founding member of What Would an HIV Doula Do?

Rasheed Newson is a television drama writer, producer, and novelist. Along with his television writing partner, T.J. Brady, he co-developed and is an executive producer of the drama series Bel-Air. Rasheed and T.J. have also worked on The Chi, Animal Kingdom, and Narcos, among other drama series. 

In addition to his career in television, Rasheed is the author of My Government Means to Kill Me, which examines the political and sexual coming of age of a young, gay, Black man in New York City in the mid-1980s. The novel was a 2023 Lambda Literary finalist for Gay Fiction and was named one of the “The 100 Notable Books of 2022” by The New York Times. Rasheed lives with his husband and their two children in Pasadena. 

Eric C. Wat is the author of Love Your Asian Body: AIDS Activism in Los Angeles (2022), which won the best book award in History from the Association of Asian American Studies in 2023. His Los Angeles Times-bestselling novel SWIM (2019) was described as “San Gabriel Valley’s Bright Lights, Big City–an exploration of a man grappling with drug addiction, relationships and family drama in the heart of the Chinese American community in Southern California.” Storytelling is not only fundamental in his oral histories and creative writing, but also in his movement work through evaluation, facilitation, and coaching.

This program is organized by Lambda Literary as part of the 2023 Circa: Queer Histories Festival, presented by One Institute.

  • For over 30 years, Lambda Literary has championed LGBTQ books and authors. No other organization in the world serves LGBTQ writers and readers more comprehensively than Lambda Literary. We believe that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer literature is fundamental to the preservation of our culture, and that LGBTQ lives are affirmed when our stories are written, published, and read.