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The Journalist of Castro Street: Randy Shilts and the HIV/AIDS Epidemic

How we understand HIV/AIDS today is partially due to the groundbreaking coverage of journalist Randy Shilts. In the 1980s, Randy Shilts, ahead of the curve in many ways, became a sought-after national expert on AIDS for the San Francisco Chronicle, appearing on ABC’s Nightline and CNN’s Larry King Live. Shilts also penned the three most seminal books on the life and experience of LGBT Americans in the last years of the twentieth century: The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk (1982); And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic (1987); and Conduct Unbecoming: Gays and Lesbians in the U.S. Military from Vietnam to the Persian Gulf (1993). His success emerged from a relentless work ethic and strong belief in the power of journalism to help mainstream society understand not just the rising tide of HIV/AIDS but gay culture and liberation.

In-depth and dramatic, Andrew E. Stoner’s biography on Randy Shilts, The Journalist of Castro Street, follows the remarkable life of the brash, pioneering journalist and offers fascinating details and reveals the historic work of the legendary investigative reporter and author. In conjunction with SDHC’s exhibition, LGBTQ+ SD: Stories of Struggles and Triumphs, Professor Andrew E. Stoner will discuss his new book and a Q&A and book signing will follow.

Date: Monday, January 13, 2020
Time: 6:00-7:00 pm
Location: San Diego History Center, Thornton Theater
RSVP: Free SDHC & Lambda Archives Members/$10 Public



Andrew E. Stoner is an associate professor of communication studies at California State University, Sacramento. His books include “Campaign Crossroads: Presidential Politics in Indiana from Lincoln to Obama,” “Cobra Killer: Gay Porn Murder,” and “Notorious 92: Indiana’s Most Heinous Murders.” He has a forthcoming book from the University Press of Mississippi, “George Wallace in the North: 1964-1976.” Stoner holds a Ph.D. in journalism and technical communication from Colorado State University, an M.A. from Ball State University, and a B.A. from Franklin College of Indiana.


January 13, 2020
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Event Category:


San Diego History Center
1649 El Prado, Suite 3
San Diego, CA 92101 United States