Los Angeles, California
I often tell people that I am an ex-drag queen, ex-hooker, ex-IV drug user, ex-high risk youth, and current postoperative transsexual woman who is HIV-positive.
– Connie Norman
Born in Texas, Norman fled to Hollywood at the age of 14. Having recovered from drug addiction, Norman underwent therapy and then a sex-change operation in 1976. She began her political life as an AIDS and Queer activist with the Los Angeles chapter of ACT UP. In 1991 she transformed the media landscape by becoming the first openly queer host of a commercial talk radio show. “The Connie Norman Show” aired daily on XEK-AM where she was able to share her views on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) and human rights issues. In 1993 Norman became the first transgender Director of Public Policy at AIDS Service Center in Pasadena, a California non-profit agency. Norman’s reach was broad, as she also co-hosted an LGBTQ Cable TV program and was a newspaper columnist for a San Diego publication. Because of her unyielding activism, she was honored with awards from various groups including the City of Los Angeles, County of Los Angeles, California State Senate and California Assembly. ACT UP/LA never gave an award or honor to anyone except Norman. Just before her passing they made official her self-proclaimed status as “AIDS Diva”. Her ashes were scattered on the lawn of the Clinton White House as part of the national ACT UP "Ashes Action" on October 13, 1996. Her legacy is sustained by Christopher Street West who established the Connie Norman Award to honor an individual or organization for outstanding achievement in fostering racial, ethnic, religious, and gender unity within the LGBTQ community.
World AIDS DAY
AIDS has killed more than 25 million people since 1981 and an estimated 33.3 million people worldwide, including at least 2.5 million children, live with HIV, making it one of the most destructive epidemics in recorded history.