Brace yourselves, Gilbert & Sullivan fans. The Rev. Steve Pieters has a treat for you.
Steve is a long-term survivor – and by long, I mean since before 1985, when HIV/AIDS was known as Gay Related Immune Disorder (GRID). Steve has been an advocate of many decades for both HIV causes and for the religious equality of LGBTQ people.
He is also a musical theater queen, in the very best sense of the word, which is plain for all to see from his YouTube performance of “I Am the Very Model of a Medical Anomaly,” a cheeky take on a Gilbert & Sullivan song from Pirates of Penzance (if these references are foreign to you, my darlings, ask an older queen). Something tells me that Steve’s long association with the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles has proven fruitful. Pun intended.
Some of Steve’s lyrics are way too clever not to share with you here:
I am the very model of a medical anomaly
I’ve had KS, lymphoma, hepatitis, thrush and CMV
Bacterial pneumonia and adrenal insufficiency
All this and more because I caught a virus that’s called HIV
And then I took an antiviral just like chemotherapy
It made me sick
my hair fell out
I suffered neurologically
But hey it worked
It stopped all the HIV activity
My lymphoma’s in remission and there is no more KS to see!
Now many years have passed and I’m as healthy as a horse can be
It’s certainly a miracle for anyone with faith to see
But still in journals medical
In science and oncology
I am the very model of a medical anomaly!
There’s so much more to Steve’s video, including a joyous sense that none of Steve’s medical trials over the years have crushed his soul or his adorable spirit.
Long-term survivors rock, people.
p.s. Want more of Rev. Steve Pieters? Check out this extensive interview he did with Tammy Faye Baker in 1985 about living with HIV. Yes, you heard that right. Tammy Faye. In 1985. You’re welcome.