Week 12 Forum Response: 5B

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    Zoe Tew

    There were so many inspiring and moving testimonies in the movie 5B; I really appreciate how they made it a documentary with not only input and stories from the nurses/doctors facing this disease, but also patients, family members, news reporters, politicians, and even opponents. Though the overall goal of the movie, in my opinion, was to understand the discrimination these patients experienced and the proper way to care for them, I also felt like I gained a stronger and more complete understanding of the whole situation and how it effected our country. One of the testimonies I found particularly moving was Ms. Asbury- the aunt of a patient. She was a Christian and believed that the homosexual lifestyle was against God’s will. She could not understand her nephew’s lifestyle and felt that this disease was the result of sin. Despite these fixed values of her, she was there for him. She visited him and observed the unusual and unexpected compassion of the nurses. She saw how his father refused to visit, and how his partner stayed loyally by his side. The commitment to care was remarkable and caused her heart to be opened. She grew to agree with the treatment methods practiced in 5B- saying that she “didn’t want to forget how important it was for people to be there.” Though she could not condone homosexual practices, she found that it did not matter when it came to loving her nephew. He was a human still, who deserved to feel loved and protected and valued, now more than ever. She knew that her nephew was going to die and that could not be changed, but what mattered was changing the way he died. Disagreeing with her nephew’s lifestyle was a belief of hers, a belief she felt was fair to have because of her religion, but the moment it becomes unfair is when it is communicated through discrimination. This is similar to people’s worry about catching the disease from patients; yes, worrying is a very fair response to this disease, but when worry results in discrimination, that is when it becomes unfair and completely wrong. Love and concern for others, especially those hurting both emotionally and physically, must be stronger than serving and protecting ourselves. I feel that that this theme is very prevalent today, as unflaggingly devoted nurses/doctors seek to help patients every single day, despite the risk.

    Something else I noticed while watching the movie was how the people’s discrimination and refusal to acknowledge the AIDS virus not only hurt the patients, but also hurt themselves. Because they believed that only the homosexual community would contract AIDS, they did not educate themselves on it and know how to fight it. Ronald Regan took six years to publicly acknowledge AIDs, after twenty-one thousand people had died already. When heterosexual people began to get AIDs there was mass confusion and panic. Additionally, because they viewed this disease as incredibly scary and severe, spread by the lepers of society, they convinced themselves to believe that casual contact could spread it, which is just not accurate. They misinformed themselves and propagated discrimination.

    This movie was incredibly heart-breaking, making me realize not only the serious physical pain AIDs patients endured, but also the severe social discrimination they faced after being recognized as gay. People’s houses were burned down, people lost their jobs, people’s lives were threatened. I have a newfound sense of sympathy for these patients. I also have an awakened hope for humanity , especially during these season with COVID-19. It is encouraging and inspiring to know that nurses/doctors are tirelessly fighting for their patients to experience relief. They face the risk everyday without question, believing that the life of their patient is more important. I am so thankful to be living in a country where are health care workers are known not only for skill, but also sincere compassion.

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