Rodger McFarlane Working The Phone At Gay Men’s Health Crisis (He Set Up 1st Hotline Anywhere)

Men Health

9/28/1982. In "The Regular Heart" Tommy Boatwright (played by Jim Parsons) is mainly based upon Rodger McFarlane. McFarlane, a leader in the gay rights movement throughout the early days of the AIDS epidemic and the initial executive supervisor of the Gay Male's Health Situation.

21 thoughts on “Rodger McFarlane Working The Phone At Gay Men’s Health Crisis (He Set Up 1st Hotline Anywhere)

  1. Thank you so much for this video, Mr. McFarlane and GMHC’s work have been an inspiration.. and this has been amazingly useful for my research..

  2. I had the privilege to serve with Rodger on the USS Flying Fish in the 70’s. He was a great shipmate and he had the greatest stories. On one occasion we were pulling into port and the Engineering Officer was in the tunnel, the passageway over the reactor compartment, with us. Everyone is giddy when pulling into port and things can get a bit loose. I can’t recall the exact circumstances, but it ended up with Rodger dropping his pants and had Big Mac on his skivvies. We all lost it.

  3. Pure kindness…this is what being a hero consists of. You could tell the guy on the phone was so relieved after hearing a friendly voice offering support, options and help.

  4. Roger and I did theatre together in Mobile, Alabama. Never have I known such kindness and passion for people. We stayed in touch through the years. He is greatly missed. we need more heros like him. Rest in peace my dear. You are always in my heart.

  5. Oh wow. This is touching. Bill seems scared and lost. I feel bad for everybody. I’m sorry Bill lived in a bad hotel. Seems like Bill was courageous and did not wallow in self pity. This is a great historical document.

  6. magnetothewhite , you are right. He was a wonderful person. Waay back in the day, US Navy submarines were named for either sea critters or people. Now they’re all named for either cities or states.

  7. He has such a calm & reassuring voice. I’m sure he helped a lot of people during the epidemic.

  8. Thank you for uploading this, a hero and pioneer of the gay community. I wish more knew of this amazing man.


  9. just a solid human being…there are lots of decent, standup human beings in the World, right?…but at the time Rodger became the head-exec at GMHC, that organization needed him a lot more than he needed it, per say. And Ive been around these type of people, just enough to know, you have to be wired a certain way, to be able to sit there and take calls like this one, all….day…long…or for that matter, to train people like he did, to sit there and listen to people like the guy who called Rodger. We lost a giant in the gay community (no pun intended, being that he was almost 6’8″ in height)

  10. This is such a great, informative video for everyone interested in the AIDS crisis in its early days. Too bad it’s only as long, I’d gladly watch this for an hour or more. There’s a haunting atmosphere to it, listening to a caller named Bill in this snapshot of time when AIDS (as we know it in the Western world) was in its infancy, registering the fear and hopefulness in his voice and knowing the real breakthrough in treating the disease won’t come for a decade and a half still. So Bill’s now lost to us in the oceans of time that have passed since then, a tiny dot among millions sharing similar fate, his presence forever trapped in this video for our and future generations to study — but despite possessing a general knowledge of the subsequent progress of the crisis and its outcome, we won’t ever truly know (nor do we wish to, probably) what it felt like to be a guy named Bill on September 28, 1982, staying in a sleazy NYC hotel, mere weeks after he received the AIDS diagnosis, and clutching onto the warm, friendly voice coming down the telephone line to soothe him and offer him a glimmer of desperate hope when everything associated with the disease had a ring of death to it. So very sad… And kudos to Rodger McFarlane for being there at that point in History and truly rising up to the occasion.

    P.S.: I guess this is Dr. Ellen Cohen, of whom the two speak, in the present-ish day:

  11. The first thing that I noticed was how respectful and polite the two men on the phone were towards one another.

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