Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2017-09-20
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

AIDS @ 30: Activist Bob Hattoy
2012-04-04

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Robert Keith Hattoy was born on Nov. 1, 1950 in Providence, R.I., and was open about his homosexuality for as long as he could remember. He was the son of a mechanical engineer and a school registrar. Hattoy became politically active protesting the Vietnam War; he said he considered politics a form of lifesaving.

Hattoy bounced around different colleges in seven years but never earned a degree. After working at Disneyland he landed his first political job in the mid 1970s with the California Democratic Party, spending three years as an aide to Zev Yaroslavsky, a Los Angeles City Council member.

In 1981 Mr. Hattoy found a calling at the Sierra Club where he worked for a decade on environmental justice and as a regional director for the club for the states of California and Nevada. When President Ronald Reagan proposed opening the California shoreline to oil drilling, Hattoy worked on forming a coalition of people and organizations across the social and political spectrum to oppose the plan.

After working for the Sierra Club for a decade, he joined Bill Clinton's campaign for president and became his leading environmental advisor in 1992. He came to Washington with the Clinton team as a 41-year-old openly gay man with AIDS. His very presence connected the new President to a population that had never been represented in the White House before.

Clinton asked Hattoy to deliver an AIDS speech at the 1992 Democratic National Convention. The speech was nationally televised and made him a forceful advocate for gays and lesbians in the Clinton White House. The speech at the convention came 11 years into the epidemic, though the White House under the Reagan and first Bush administrations had waited years to publicly acknowledge AIDS and mount a public health response.

At the Democratic National Convention of 1992 Hattoy said, "We are part of the American family ( addressing then President George H.W. Bush ) and Mr. President, your family has AIDS and we are dying and you are doing nothing about it." He went on to say, "I don't want to die, but I don't want to live in an America where the President sees me as the enemy. I can face dying because of a disease, but not because of politics."

According to a New York Times article from March 6, 2007 by Tim Weiner, Hattoy's words riveted a nationwide audience. In the article Michael Petrelis, a writer and activist, said "Bob Hattoy gave people with AIDS and gays in America hope with that speech."

In a San Francisco Chronicle article about Hattoy from March 6, 2007 by Wyatt Buchanan, a founding member of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power ( ACT UP ) , Eric Sawyer, called the speech "revolutionary" and said it reflected the independent streak that guided his work. Sawyer said, "Bob was one of the few insiders who was consistently vocal on behalf of people with AIDS, on the true situation of people with AIDS, what the real needs were and he wasn't afraid to criticize." In the New York Times article by Weiner, Richard Socarides, who was special assistant to Clinton in charge of gay and lesbian policies, said "He was an agitator in the best sense of the word. Bob often meant trouble because Bob was never satisfied.

In a New York Times article from June 6, 1993 by Richard Berke, Hattoy said, "Yuppies, young kids, come up to me at the White House and say: 'It's so great what's happened to you, Bob. All that fame from your AIDS speech.' And I'll say, 'Well, thank you, but there's a down side.' And they'll say, 'What's that?' And I'll say, 'I have AIDS'. And believe me, I would trade with them. I would rather work in a bakery and not have AIDS than work in the White House with it."

In an article from The Los Angeles Times from Sept. 11, 1995, Faye Fiore said that Hattoy, as Associate Director of White House personnel, had the Administration's ear. He was in the loop and AIDS was his cause. From 1994 to 1999 Hattoy was White House liaison to the Interior Department. Clinton also named him to the Presidential Commission on HIV/AIDS. In 2002, he was appointed to the California Fish and Game Commission and in April 2007 he was appointed president.

According to his longtime friend and former partner Bob Pelham, Hattoy died March 4, 2007 from cardiac arrest brought on by a bone marrow infection while he was recovering from an AIDS-related illness. "We have lost a pioneer, a leader, and a friend," said former President Bill Clinton and Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York in a joint statement released to the press.

The Clintons went on to say, "Bob Hattoy devoted his life to the fight for civil rights and social justice for the gay community and people living with AIDS. We will always be grateful for his courageous and moving speech at the 1992 Democratic National Convention and afterward for his years of dedicated service in the administration. He gave hope to a community that feared their voice would never be heard at the highest levels of government."

This story is part of the Local Reporting Initiative, supported in part by The Chicago Community Trust.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

PASSAGES Pastor Megan Jane Jones 2017-09-22 - Pastor Megan Jane Jones, 49; born in Pontiac, MI, raised in Kenosha, WI and Brandon, FL; co-director of the Naming Project, whose mission ...


Gay News

Michael Johnson bypasses trial, is sentenced to 10 years for hiding HIV status 2017-09-22 - New York, NY, Sept. 21, 2017 — Today, in conclusion to a prosecution short on fairness and riddled with questions about racism and ...


Gay News

Chicago Academy of the Arts' AIDS benefit 2017-09-20 - The Chicago Academy for the Arts will hold its 21st Annual AIDS Benefit at the school, 1010 W. Chicago Ave. The benefit will ...


Gay News

South Side Help Center to mark 30 years, honor leaders, support hurricane recovery 2017-09-20 - Chicago, IL September 20, 2017 —South Side Help Center ( SSHC ), a not-for-profit, community-based organization, will be celebrating 30 years of serving ...


Gay News

Meet AIDS Run & Walk Chicago ambassadors 2017-09-20 - The AIDS Run & Walk Chicago—taking place Sunday, Oct. 1—welcomes people from all walks of life who have been affected by HIV/AIDS. ...


Gay News

TPAN to celebrate '30 Years of Hope' 2017-09-20 - On Sept. 28, Test Positive Awareness Network, or TPAN, will celebrate 30 years of supporting those affected by HIV/AIDS. Merrill Kenna, the organization's ...


Gay News

PASSAGES David Wilshire, one-time owner of Cheetah Gym, dies 2017-09-20 - David Wilshire—who, at one point, owned Chicago's Cheetah Gym—has passed away in California, where he had been living for the past several years. ...


Gay News

Midwest LGBTQ Health Symposium registration remains open 2017-09-15 - At Howard Brown Health's 3rd annual Midwest LGBTQ Health Symposium, Oct. 6-7, LGBTQ healthcare providers and advocates will showcase lessons learned and other ...


Gay News

TPAN: Our story is your story 2017-09-15 - A few months ago, Positively Aware's associate editor Enid Vázquez shared some recollections from her 20-plus years of working at TPAN ( TPAN: ...


Gay News

Survey: Diarrhea important but under-reported complaint of HIV/AIDS patients 2017-09-15 - San Francisco, CA — September 12, 2017 — Napo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ( Napo ), a human health company developing and commercializing novel gastrointestinal ...


 



Copyright © 2017 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.