The IDENTITY Project

Jonathan Blake, London, UK

Jonathan Blake

Born at the end of the 1940s, Jonathan worked as as Actor from 1970 and is a gay rights activist and former member of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM). He was played by Dominic West in the film Pride.

In July 1982, he noticed he had enlarged lymph nodes (Persistent Lymphadenopathy) and in October of that year he was diagnosed with an unknown lymphadenopathy-associated virus (LAV) and was the first case at London’s Middlesex Hospital and given the patient number L1. In 1984 this was reclassified as HTLV-3 (human T-lymphotropic virus type-III), and in 1985 HIV.

In 1983 he attended a nuclear protest with a group of gay men where he met his partner Nigel Young. They started being more politically active and joined Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners. Jonathan also retrained as a tailor and began making costumes for the English National Opera.

In 1989 he received an AIDS diagnosis as his T-Cell count had fallen below 200 and was a poster boy for THT’s first safer sex advert aimed at gay men.

Today he lives in a Gay & Lesbian Community in Brixton/Herne Hill, South London, with his partner Nigel, and swims daily in Brockwell Lido.

What does your identity mean to you?

My Identity is Me. I have lived it even when I was a child and learnt early that my identity and sexual orientation was deemed unacceptable, though my sexual orientation is probably core to who I am and I wouldn’t change that.

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