Stefan Lynch Strassfeld was raised by two gay men and one lesbian woman in the height of the AIDS epidemic. Strassfeld was a recent subject for StoryCorps, an oral history project that records and preserves interviews at the Library of Congress:
"I was 10 when [our friend Steve] was diagnosed," he recalls. "I remember, I was on the beach and I saw Steve and he was covered in these purple spots, and I remember asking my dad, like, 'What's wrong with Steve?' And my dad said, 'Oh, he has this skin cancer called Kaposi's sarcoma.' And I said, 'Well, what is that?' And my dad said, 'Well, nobody really knows, but there are some gay men that are getting it.' And within I think two months, Steve was dead."
Steve's death was the beginning of a succession of deaths in Strassfeld's family over the next decade. ...
"My stepdad Bill died in '87, my dad died in '91 after a really grueling six months of me taking care of him. You know, I was 19, and at that point, everyone had died except for a handful of stragglers who I now hold near and dear to my heart. My aunties," says Strassfeld, who had about 20 "aunties" while he was growing up. Today, just five of them are left.