Nancy Reagan dies aged 94, LGBT community remembers her history on AIDS crisis
As the US mourns Nancy Reagan, who died on Sunday aged 94, members of the LGBT community point to her involvement in the AIDS crisis.
The former first lady died from congestive heart failure, her estate announced after the news was broken by TMZ.
But despite headlines describing her as “fiercely loyal” “dignified” and “warm”, and others pointing to her involvement in the ‘Just Say No’ drugs campaign, others point to her questionable history during the AIDS crisis.
Her husband, Ronald Reagan, was heavily criticised for not mentioning the word AIDS until 1987, after many thousands had died from complications related to the disease.
Nancy was sometimes credited with pushing her husband to eventually fund some research into treatment for HIV/AIDS, but more recently it appeared that she had ignored pleas for help from a high profile friend.
Last year it was revealed that Hollywood icon Rock Hudson, a close friend of the Reagans, had appealed to them for help whilst seeking treatment for AIDS in 1985.
According to a telegram from the time, which remained buried until 2015, they had declined to help Hudson get access to an experimental treatment in a Paris hospital.
Hudson died just weeks after the telegram was sent, asking the Reagans to intervene when a doctor wouldn’t admit him because he was not French.
The death of Hudson is usually cited when discussing the beginning of AIDS research funding.
Nancy Reagan’s daughter Patti Davis in 2013 said in a radio interview that the former First Lady had changed her views to support same-sex marriage.
Davis said: “She does,” adding: “I’m hesitant to speak for anyone else, and she’s not comfortable going out in the public eye and getting in the firing line of anything”.
Reagan never publicly spoke about same-sex marriage herself.
She also argued that President Reagan would have supported it, had he been alive in 2013.
Nancy Reagan, who was First Lady from 1981 to 1989 had two daughters with Ronald Reagan, Patti Davis and Ron Reagan.
She was the stepmother to Michael Reagan and Maureen Reagan.
Reagan will be buried at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, alongside the grave of her husband, who was interred there in 2004.
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