LINCOLN PARK — Pioneering transgender activist Connie Norman described herself as an “ ex-drag queen, ex-hooker, ex-IV drug user, ex-high risk youth and current post-operative transsexual woman who is HIV positive.”
In early 1990s Los Angeles, Norman, who appointed herself “the AIDS Diva,” was a powerful voice for people living with AIDS and queer communities.
Her story is told in the documentary “AIDS Diva: The Legend of Connie Norman.” The film will be screened 7 tonight as part of Outfest’s Latinx screenings at the Plaza de la Raza in Lincoln Park. A series of Latin American shorts will follow the screening.
Norman was outspoken, challenging, and compassionate.
She championed reform of federal AIDS funding formulas, better treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS. Norman also was a spokesperson for the confrontational group ACT UP/LA, AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, international direct action advocacy group working to change legislation, medical research and treatment and policies for people living with HIV/AIDS.
Norman, who died in 1996 at the age of 47, also was a media pioneer.
In 1991, Norman started “The Connie Norman Show,” an evening talk program that focused on LGBTQ issues.
She also co-hosted a weekly cable television show and wrote the column “Tribal Writes” in the San Diego gay and lesbian newspaper Update.