David Dean Bottrell on Off-Ramp for November 5, 2011

20 years after Magic: a new face of AIDS

John Rabe

Temper Goldie, who is HIV-positive, was born the year Magic Johnson told the world he was HIV-positive.

Twenty years ago, Magic Johnson announced publicly that he was HIV-positive. That was the year a young woman named Temper Goldie was born in Oceanside. Like Magic, Goldie is HIV-positive, but because of what Magic did, she can be open about it. KPCC’s John Rabe spoke with Goldie at Occupy LA.

Temper Goldie has been at Occupy LA for 37 days, and you might be surprised to learn that she credits the disease as part of the reason she's there. She's led a tough life: homeless since she was 13, epilepsy, hepatitis-C through drug use, and HIV (transmitted, she says, when she was raped) a year and a half ago.

Without the diagnosis, Goldie says, she wouldn't have been forced to get clean and sober. She's been at Occupy LA for 37 days, and is shocked to find herself as part of a political movement.

Goldie says the story of Magic Johnson's heroism twenty years ago, "makes it a lot easier for me to live with it, and a lot easier to be out and open about it." And the chain continues. Goldie says, "Some people are just like, 'Oh my God, thank you so much for being out and honest about it. Now I understand what my mother is going through, or my brother's going through.'"

But it's still not easy. "Part of the reason I'm here (at Occupy LA) is because my healthcare is crap." She says nobody is willing to treat her her because of her multiple diagnoses. She laughs, "I like to call myself an eclectic disease bag."


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