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Thatcher Bailey


NAMESAKE

Though Bailey-Boushay House was named after Thatcher Bailey and his partner Frank Boushay, who died of AIDS in 1989, this place is not about them. At least according to Mr. Bailey, a quietly animated, articulate, gentle soul who is all humility when it comes to the whole namesake thing.

"I was just one of an army of people who helped at the beginning. My job was to be an advocate, to raise money and be a public face for the cause. I contributed what I could, but this home has nothing to do with me and everything to do with the amazing universe of people who lived here, died here, and cared for people here."

Still, his role was an essential one. It involved talking to people in the neighborhood who didn't want to talk-who thought the stigma of an AIDS home would lower their property values. It took an enormous effort on the part of Bailey and many others to shift the conversation, to quell fears and engage the community to think differently and act together in a profound new way. "There were so many people having so many conversations to clarify misunderstandings and calm nerves," remembers Bailey. "In the end, of course, the house became a wonderful core to the neighborhood."

And Frank Boushay?

The question evokes both fond memories and the pain of loss. "Frank was a magical figure. He had an effervescence that people wanted to be around. Frank died before Bailey-Boushay was built, but his spirit of welcome and embrace perfectly reflects the spirit of this home."

The legacy of Bailey-Boushay is one of integrity, goodness, and compassion-qualities both Bailey and his partner, Boushay, exhibited in their relationship and their life together. "It was a time when AIDS was stigmatized as a gay-related disease. It meant a lot for the board to name this facility after an openly gay couple who were directly affected by the epidemic," Bailey says.

And though extremely humble about the role he played, Bailey is proud to have been a part of it.

"It was a mind-boggling community accomplishment. And today, it is a treasure."

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