“All the good ones died”: in more than one conversation with elder queer people about queer of color nightlife in 1980s New York City, I heard this expression when our conversation turned to the drag queens, transsexual women, and femmes lost in the early years of the ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic. Most recently, the phrase came up in a lively discussion with three black gay men on living in New York during the formative years of ball culture.1 It’s a statement that tells you everything and nothing at once, summarizing a specific generational loss with abruptness and brevity that hardly feels complete. You, simply, had to...

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