The Marquise: Community Building through Conversation

What is/was The Marquise

The Marquise was one of the periodicals published in the south as an effort to connect members of the GLBTQ community. The magazine was published every other Thursday in San Antonio, Texas starting in 1992 until the mid-1994 when publication occurred monthly. “The publication covered state, national, and international news stories. “Local happenings were reported by Gene Elder, contributing writer and Archivist at the Happy Foundation Archives.” Per the UTSA Library Collection, “The Marquise tackled issues important to the city’s LGBTQ community: gay marriage, lesbians and gays in the military, hate crimes, queer parenting, AIDS, and anti-gay legislation. While the Marquise did carry advertisements for local gay and lesbian bars, activism and serious news stories supplanted tales of drag divas and bar features so popular in local publications during the 1980s.” The magazine stopped production in 1997.

While the images below are found in the Texas Human Rights external communications collection, the “paste-ups” or first version mock-up copies of every edition are housed in the UTSA special collections.

Fran On AIDS/HIV column: "Loving, Caring, Sharing, Holding, Hugging, Kissing, and Laughing"<br />
<br />

Fran On AIDS/HIV column titled "Loving, Caring, Sharing, Holding, Hugging, Kissing, and Laughing"

Loving, Caring, Sharing, Holding, Hugging, Kissing, and Laughing

This is the first column of Fran on AIDS, where she lays out the goal of this column - to keep people healthy. She says, "Healthy means physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and financially. It means having knowledge and being aware." Fran highlights how crucial information is in the fight against AIDS and the platform of The Marquise connects her to an audience to share connect her community. Continuing she says, "This column will attempt to bring answers to some of the questions you may have about where to get help and where help is available."

Uncharacteristically with journalism at the time, Fran then acknowledges her own identity in the writing, qualifying her position. She recounts being asked why she as a lesbian "spends [her] time and energy sharing [her] life with men" and her response, "because I love them all." She emphasizes above all else the importance of love and caregiving in the eye of the "growing hole" that AIDS created in her community and did what she could - spread information and help through media.

Fran On AIDS/HIV column: "LTS"

Fran on AIDS/HIV column titled: LTS

LTS - Longtime Survivor 

This article titled "LTS" talks about the life of an LTS or a longtime survivor of AIDS, starting with saying that "In San Antonio, a long time survivor generally means 7 years or more." In the article, Fran gives advice in an approachable manner saying, "Being HIV positive is no more shameful than being diagnosed with cancer or heart disease." She continues saying, "Be more than an LTS, be a person who happens to be positive and live a normal life".

While telling an ill person to live a normal life, or attempt to, may not seem extrodinary today, amidst the rampant stigmatization of PWAs (people with aids) in the 90s this would have been a controversal statement. As Parker and Aggelton argue “it is especially important to think of stigma as a social and cultural phenomenon linked to actions of whole groups of people... where bonds and allegiances to families, village, and neighborhood, and community abound” the reversal of these sigmas can also start at the community level. 

Fran On AIDS/HIV column: "DO IT! Live!"<br />
<br />

Fran on AIDS/HIV article titled "Do it! LIVE!"

Do it! LIVE!

This article uses a personal narrative to urge PWAs to "live" their lives even though they might be constrained by the effects of AIDS/HIV. Fran details a party in which a wheelchair-bound user gets up to dance, "their nose tube swinging". In a disease that was often meant abandonment, Fran says "We must satisfy ourselves with whatever possible in the time given."

The tagline of this article and Fran's messaging relates to the popular ACT UP, an organization dedicated to direct action for AIDS/HIV relief, "Silence=Death, Action=Life". Fran emphasises the importance of community and emotions, encouraging PWAs that their lives are worth living. In Against death: the practice of living with AIDS Ariss and Dowsett attest to this as well as they say that, "I then understood exactly how salient emotional states had become in the representation of AIDS activists and people with HIV/AIDS."

Fran On AIDS/HIV column: "What Price Are You Willing to Pay?"

Fran On AIDS/HIV column totled "What Price Are You Willing to Pay?"

What Price Are You Willing to Pay?

This column discusses safe sex practices within the queer community and AIDS transmission. Fran asks what people's lives are worth, and more specifically, "is a good f--k worth your life?" The stigma surrounding sex often led to misinformation, and this was particularly true in the south. Fran does not mince words as she says, "Unprotected recipient anal sex is the single greatest transition mode of HIV" and "unprotected vaginal recipient sex is the second." 

Fran's discussion is incredibly crucial as conversations about sex "have been particularly important in developing community norms around sex, and communicating sex practices in a heteronormative world where young queer people are not taught the intricacies of same-sex sex." In the end, she urges her audience to use condoms all the time as "love is not greater, the virus can and does destroy love." 

Fran On AIDS/HIV column: "Get the Message?"

Fran On AIDS/HIV column titled "Get the Message?"

Get the Message?

In this column, Fran invites another who is involved with the AIDS pandemic to write. Peter Peterson, a person living with AIDS, says that he wishes to write in order to acknowledge the "serious problem growing in our community".

The problem he addresses is the proper taking of medicine in the queer community, which he does in 3 different case studies that show the impact of different scenarios that could occur when taking Bactrim/sulfa drugs to prevent Pneumocystis pneumonia or PCP in AIDS patients. 

After citing the efficacy of the drugs as well as the popular opinion of doctors, Peter says, "Do not play with the only life you have... TAKE YOUR MEDS AS DIRECTED". His pleading appeal to the queer community to follow medical advice was a long-term issue for PWAs as "medical research and treatment practices as a subject positions many people with HIV and AIDS in a conflictual relationship with medicine. For patients and physicians are in a relationship of inequality." 

The Queer Community
The Marquise: Community Building through Conversation