OK, it’s safe to say that the gift we all want most this season is a cure. But what else would light up the lives of the Positive All-Stars? We made a list, and we checked it twice…

Larry Kramer, activist, author: The perfect Apple laptop computer. One that is thin like the Sony and light like the IBM Thinkpad, and with a bright, big 15-inch screen like the Dell. Since I really hate Windows, I guess I have to be patient. Apple always gets there somehow.

Nancy Roecker-Coats, Director of Positive Influence, Pennsylvania: I lost my hips while taking a protease inhibitor, and I would like them back. Also, I’d like to have a brother or sister for my 2-year-old, Noah. And if that’s not possible, I would like Noah potty-trained.

Ruby Amagwula, peer educator: I was so sick two years ago that I had to give up custody of my two daughters. I’m well again, so I would like to have custody of my kids by Christmas.

Aiden Shaw, author, porn star: Amnesia, baby.

Dick Scanlan, author: Another dog. I’d name her “Babs” after Barbara Paley—a perfect match for my Boston terrier, Truman.

Jennifer Jako, artist: Travel to where it’s warm, black lingerie, a pair of ruby slippers, a massage, snow, a day off and parts for the ’57 Nash Metropolitan
I’m restoring. I’ll take any of the above, Santa.

Brian Heater, Indiana farmboy: After my POZ profile, a man who’s an artist sent me the nicest letter. He said we looked like twins and that he wanted to draw me something. Whatever I wanted. He included stamps and everything for me to write him back—except his return address! Getting in touch with my twin would be a great gift. And maybe I’ll get a drawing, too.

Joey DiPaolo, 19-year-old peer educator: A Porsche 911 identical to the one in Bad Boys with phat rims and a phat system.

Mike DeStefano, POZ columnist: A girlfriend.

Mary Lucey, AIDS Policy Analyst for the city of Los Angeles: A huge donation to LA’s Women Alive—with no quarterly reporting or sucking up to anybody.

Tom E. Brown, filmmaker: I would like 200 grand to make my feature film, Pushing Dead, and if I’m not allowed to ask for money, I would settle for a pony.

Hal Rubenstein, Fashion Editor, InStyle: I just want a big, fat hug from my niece for Christmas. Everything else is just gift wrap and lollipops.

Brad Peebles, C.O.O., POZ Publishing: A woodshop in the middle of nowhere with lots of tools and some inspiration.


Since even the most ardent disability rights advocate deserves a break, may we recommend New York City for the holidays? So what if our fair city’s mayor’s closing down the sex shops has dampened the season’s cheer—read on for other kinds of “touch tours” to enjoy!

All about being prepared? Order Access for All, a guide to the Big Apple’s cultural riches for people with disabilities. For five bucks it’s all here, from height of phones and ramps to advice on scheduling the aforementioned “touch tours” for the nonsighted at museums (a guide will escort you as you cop feels off the marble bodies—not to be missed!). The book is a Zagat’s for the discerning disabled set. Call Hospital Audiences at 212.575.7676 (TTY 212.575.7669) and tell ’em POZ sent ya.

And while you’re at it, phone ahead to let the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (212.788.2830) know you’re coming for a visit. Get their free Access Guide to the city—it won’t get you into the VIP room of DiCaprio’s latest hangout, but it’ll help you avoid pesky problems in getting around.

Attention-seekers should contact Big Apple Greeters at 212.669.2896 (TTY 212.669.8273) for the personal touch of their Access Project. The folks there will match you up with a nice, knowledgeable New Yorker ready to answer your every question. Best of all, it’s free.

Remember, be ready to flash your copy of the ADA (look it up) at any moment.  Membership has its privileges, no? Bon voyage!


We asked acclaimed photographer and man-about-Manhattan John Dugdale for tips for fellow CMV-retinitis vets with partial sight who are planning a visit to the Big Apple.

“Bring a throwaway camera. If I point and shoot in a general direction, when I get the film back, I can actually study the details of where I’ve been.”

“I keep an inexpensive but very strong magnifying glass hanging around my neck. Use it for reading maps and finding those tiny buzzers at friends’ apartments.”

“I never thought I would be a gay guy who wears baseball caps, but the eye shading of a hat with a visor can make a huge difference as to what I can see. Make sure you pack one.”

A fave spot? “The secret garden behind St. Luke’s Church in the West Village,” Dugdale says without pausing. “It’s a little tricky to find: Go to the gate to the right of the church, and just keep following the path. I go there with coffee from Taylor’s down the street. Autumn bulbs and summer roses—something is always happening there.”