"Life is uncertain ... eat dessert first." -- Hal Bramson, 1932-1994

  John and Hal in New York, 1994

Hal Bramson is one of the unsung heroes of the AIDS crisis. Born in 1932, Hal was a lifelong New Yorker. He was a longtime volunteer for gay organizations and was among the earliest to urge men to change their sexual practices in the early 1980s in response to a disease of unknown origin that was to become known as AIDS. Later, he became a founding member of ACT UP, the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power.

In May 1994, he was making plans to continue his wide-ranging travels while considering a permanent move to Sydney, a city he adored. It was not to be. Hal was diagnosed with terminal cancer, with a prognosis of six months to live and increasing pain toward the end. Hal was a longtime member of the Hemlock Society, and took the actions he needed to insure that he would be in control of his own demise.

Over the next several months, a good friend, John Freed, a journalist, discussed Hal's situation with him and asked many times if he could conduct an interview for the record. Hal finally agreed on Friday, Dec. 9, 1994. The video on this site is the result.

Two days later, Hal died. This is his final testament.

If you have memories you would like to share, contact us.

©2011 John Freed