Actor Kevin McHale plays AIDS Activist
Bobbi Campbell in ABC's upcoming miniseries When We Rise.
The 7-part miniseries from Gus Van Sant
and Dustin Lance Black takes a look at the people and events that
shaped the modern LGBT rights movement.
McHale, 28, who is best known for
playing Artie Abrams for six seasons on Fox's musical dramedy Glee,
talked to gay glossy OUT about playing Campbell, the 16th
person in San Francisco to be diagnosed with Kaposi's sarcoma, at the
time a proxy for an AIDS diagnosis.
“It was hard to find stuff on Bobbi,
but I was able to listen to some radio interviews,” McHale
said. “He was on the cover of Newsweek and labeled as
sort of the AIDS poster boy. I think my first takeaway was that he
never lived in shame. Even though nobody understood what was going
on, he accepted it and lived out loud with it. He went to college to
become a nurse, and when he got diagnosed he did his research.
Talking to [Dustin Lance Black], I also learned how Bobbi got along
with everyone. He fit right in when he moved to town.”
Campbell was a co-founder of the People
With AIDS (PWA) Self-Empowerment Movement. The best known example of
a continuing PWA group is AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power (ACT-UP), a
powerful voice in forcing politicians and other leaders to
acknowledge the AIDS crisis.
When We Rise premieres Monday.