affectionately known as the “mother of the AIDS Quilt”

When AIDS began to attack her friends, Gert was heartbroken and angry that this would happen to her boys. In April of 1987, Gert went to a meeting about making a memorial quilt. There were only 5 gay men and Gert, plus she realized that these men knew nothing about sewing. She made her first quilt for activist Roger Lyon and she has not stopped sewing in all of these thirty-three years.

Gert is the only person that has caressed and/or had a hand in sewing each and every panel of the AIDS Memorial Quilt.

During the COVID pandemic, Gert has led an effort to make thousands of masks made from quilt fabric to ensure doctors, nurses and first-responders could be safe and healthy.  

“I loved my friends. Through all of the tragedy and horror of watching all of my friends die one by one, I am truly lucky to have found The Quilt. It and the people who work with it saved my life. I walk through those doors every day to thank it. Everyday.”

— Gert McMullin

2020/40

40 years of memorial, survivorship and stories of AIDS

The National AIDS Memorial brings 40 years of stories from the pandemic – the lives lost, the heroes, the survivors.  Each week we will share new stories that provide a glimpse into the many faces of AIDS from then to now.

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