R.E.M singer Michael Stipe: I was afraid to get tested for HIV in the 80s
R.E.M frontman Michael Stipe has said that he was reluctant to get tested for HIV in the 1980s.
The singer, who has previously described himself as “80% gay”, said on Logo’s TV special Trailblazers that he is proud of the progress made towards gay rights.
He said: “In the early Eighties, as a 22-year-old queer man living during the Reagan-Bush administration, I was afraid to get tested for HIV for fear of quarantine, the threat of internment camps and having my basic civil rights stripped away.
“I waited five years to get my first anonymous test.
“I am happy that attitudes have matured and changed, and I feel lucky that I live in a country where acceptance, tolerance and policy toward HIV/AIDS and LGBTQ issues have advanced as far as they have.”
Stipe was the lead singer of band R.E.M until their split in 2011.
The special aired to mark the one-year anniversary of the repeal of the Defence of Marriage Act.
Former US President Bill Clinton also spoke out in favour of gay rights for the special, saying he was “honoured and grateful to be among the voices” urging for the repeal of DOMA, which he himself signed.
He also paid tribute to DOMA plaintiff Edith Windsor and lawyer Roberta A. Kaplan, saying: “As marriage equality spreads across the states, the number of people impacted by these two amazing women will only continue to grow.”