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The Aids Memorial

Tom Thate, Todd Shearer, Alan Mundt

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LGBT+ activist Mike Balaban on his Hamptons housemates architect Tom Th ate, designer Todd Shearer and Alan Mundt

In 1986, I spent the summer in Southhampton , an NYC-area beach resort, renting an apartment with friends. It was the first of 12 consecutive summers spending virtually every weekend and many vacations there.

Tom Thate (left), Alan Mundt (centre) and Todd Shearer (right) became my housemates for the next few seasons. I snapped this shot of them embracing on Fowler Beach one day that first summer.

Alan would contract A ids and pass away within a decade. Tom, an architect with Columbia Pictures , moved to LA . When he was diagnosed as HIV+ and struggled financially, his family wasn’t helpful. They offered to support him but only if he moved back home to Maryland and managed their real estate properties , and abandoned his “gay lifestyle”. (In fact, I was one of several friends who helped tide Tom over financially at his lowest point.) While he survived the A ids epide...