In Angels in America we are exposed to a very real situation that occured particularly in the late 20th Century. Joe and Harper’s relationship could be reflected in many households often times with families who had already birthed multiple children.
With homosexuality being such a stigma, many members of the LGBTQ+ community kept their sexual orientation hidden. Some, like Joe even chose to get married to a member of the opposite sex. The term Mixed Orientation Marriage is used to describe marriages in which one spouse is heterosexual and the other isn’t.
The AIDs epidemic however forced many men to come out of the closet. Like Roy Cohn, when the disease struck, their actions were reflected physically. It was a complex situation to be in, being homosexual in a heterosexual relationship and to this day still remains a complex situation. This article done a professor of Iowa State University talks of the many reasons that mixed orientation marriages are maintained.
Fortunately more and more people are opening up about their sexual orientation. However mixed orientation relationships still remain. Countless articles and research has been done on the topic. Emily Reese speaks about her experience being the straight spouse. Nevertheless there are always two sides of a story. This TED Talk shows a mixed orientation couple and how they dealt with it from both sides. Another article by Jeff Levy shows the story of a gay man who struggled with coming out years after living with his wife and kids.
There are so many stories and testimonies and research that I could keep linking till Christmas. This is indeed a very complex topic and I cannot begin to discuss the nuances of these relationships. Some couples choose to stay together, some choose to divorce. This post is just meant to draw more awareness to the issue – to show that Harper and Joe are not alone in their struggle.
Pale Horse Pale Rider tells the story of Miranda who miraculously recovers from the Influenza that plagues the world in 1918. However was it actually so miraculous? Miranda’s recovery was in fact due to the health care she received from Dr Hildesheim and Miss Tanner, his devoted nurse.
Just like in the time of the Spanish Flu (a highly contested name discussed in Yaman’s Augmenter’s Post), Covid-19 is at the mercy of its Doctors and Nurses. I found it curious that the Doctor’s name was Hildesheim. Even if the doctor was American through and through, his name indicates that he is from a migrant background. This theory is further confirmed by the fact that Miranda, in the midst of a fever dream suspects the doctor of being a foreign spy.
In was reported by the OECD that foreign doctors have been key assets to combatting the pandemic in many OECD Countries. Migrant health care workers account for up to 60% of the doctors in some countries.
Yet in other nations, health care workers are being banned from entering countries due to visa restrictions despite the fact that there are a shortage of Medical Personnel in certain regions.
We ask ourselves who are the true heroes? In Pale Horse Pale Rider, Miss Tanner is described to be the person who truly brought Miranda back to life after all the other doctors had given up hope (203). It has been reported by the ICN that 1500 nurses have died due to Covid-19 and that there are approximately 20,000 health care worker fatalities. The number of nurses who have died is the same as that of World War I (the time in which Pale Horse Pale Rider is set).
This comparison is quite fitting given the title of this post. During War time we often talk of our fallen heroes, describing the soldiers who died in the War but do we remember our doctors and nurses? There isn’t a World War going on right now yet our ‘frontline warriors’ head in to battle everyday and they deserve the utmost respect and appreciation.