A heartbreaking Instagram account reminds us that they were loved and are not forgotten
Instagram: the “it” place for sharing shirtless selfies, OOTD snaps, food pics and those killer vacation sunsets. While most people use it for fun, there are plenty of accounts floating around out there that use the photo-sharing platform for good. One of those accounts is The AIDS Memorial (@the_aids_memorial).
The poignant Instagram feed has been gaining some serious traction over the last few months by posting images and heartbreaking eulogies to commemorate the actors, artists, celebrities and everyday men and women whose lives were lost during the AIDS crisis in the late 1980s and ’90s.
The feed was launched last March by a 42-year-old Scottish man named Stuart. He doesn’t want to reveal his full name, saying, “I’d rather just stay anonymous, to be honest, because I would like to keep the focus on the aim of the Instagram page and the people it features.”
From old childhood photographs to party pics of men and women out partying during happier times, each post on The AIDS Memorial account features an image of a person lost, along with a little bit about their life.
“The history of the AIDS epidemic is so interesting to me,” Stuart explains. “History fascinates me: gay history and the emergence of AIDS in the 1980S and those who died and seemed in my opinion to have been forgotten. No one seemed in my opinion to speak about all those who had passed. Older people didn’t want to be reminded as it was enough to live through it, and the younger generation didn’t want to know about it. Period! Or so I thought. The Instagram page has proved me wrong, which is marvellous. I thought Instagram was a perfect way to document the lives of those who had died. I just want more people to hear the stories and remember.”
Stuart started posting the stories and pictures of famous faces last spring when he started The AIDS Memorial. The posts gained traction and soon everyone—lovers, friends, relatives—started approaching Stuart with stories of their loved ones. The feed now includes pictures and stories of the young and old, the famous and non-famous. Some are noted for being caring family members, while others are remembered for their activism during a time when the illness was stigmatized and ignored by politicians.
“The positive feedback that I receive almost every day is so touching, uplifting and gratifying,” Stuart says.
You can follow on Instagram at @the_aids_memorial.