For Philip H. Reed (February 21, 1949 – November 6, 2008) – World AIDS Day 2008


Phil Reed- Facebook

Phil and I dated for almost a year in 1989 after working together in ACTUP and on other various Gay/Lesbian interests. Although our relationship was often tumultuous, I remember him fondly and always admired his tenacity and honesty. Few black politicians, entertainers, or public figures were (or still are) openly gay (and openly HIV+). Reed dedicated his life to public service and he shall be sorely missed.

Reed was most happy when at his family summer home on Martha’s Vineyard where he and his twin sister spent many happy summers as children with their mom, who was of German descent. I recall him proudly showing me around the island in August of 1989. In the afternoon setting sun at Gay Head, we walked through a narrow pathway towards the water where his family had beach access- also which was adjacent to Lillian Hellman’s property. He told me about the time he had seen her there just staring out at the sunset as we were. I don’t think I have ever seen him living in the moment and full of life as I did that afternoon- except perhaps at various political rallies. Coincidentally, Reed was in Berlin the week the wall came down and that was also thrilling for him.

Phil Reed & Andy Humm at the ACT-UP Stop the Church Rally 1989 - St. Patricks Church

Phil Reed & Andy Humm at the ACT-UP Stop the Church Rally 1989 - St. Patrick's Church © Frank H. Jump

In 2000, we shared an oncologist which I told Phil officially made us alter kakers. Reed struggled with multiple myeloma to which he ultimately succumbed (and complications of pneumonia). I am glad he lived long enough to see Barack Obama win the Presidency. There will be a memorial for Phil Reed at the Riverside Church, Thursday December 4th from 6-8PM. More details below:

The family and friends of Philip H. Reed invite you to attend a memorial service celebrating Philip’s contributions to his community, his city and his country. Please join us at the Riverside Church, 490 Riverside Drive between W. 120th and W. 122nd Streets, on Thursday, December 4, 2008 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Philip’s family has requested that anyone wanting to honor Philip’s memory should make a contribution in his name to any of the following organizations:

The Callen-Lorde Health Center
356 W 18th St
New York, NY 10011

The Metropolitan Community Church of New York
446 W 36th St
New York, NY 10018

The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation
383 Main Ave 5th Floor
Norwalk CT 06851


4 responses to “For Philip H. Reed (February 21, 1949 – November 6, 2008) – World AIDS Day 2008

  1. I am sorry to hear about your friend. I love the picture of him with his tongue sticking out!

    I just found out today that a friend of mine since we were children and who is the father of my sister’s son died–he overdosed on heroin in santa barbara.

    i will toast the memory of philip reed as well… it is hard to lose the people who are special, esp when they are young (well middle aged anyway!)

  2. Thanks for this tribute, Frank.

    I was really sad to hear of Phil’s death, though I only knew him (very briefly) through you. While I also remember the dating period as not exactly tranquil, your love and respect for Phil and support of his political career were what stood out in the end. I’m sorry for your (and his family’s… and New York City’s) loss.

    xo A

  3. That is the strangest picture of me and Phil that I’ve ever seen, especially given all the turmoil of that day. But Phil was in a class by himself and always went at things from a different angle. We will miss him dearly.

  4. You have written a wonderful post here, a tribute to a great man. I am sorry for your loss and his family’s loss as well.