Tom Collins
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Tom Collins

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About Him

Living... with AIDS in the East Village of New York City in 1989. He’s just returned from Boston, where he was teaching at MIT, but now he’s happy to be back home in New York with his best friends Roger and Mark.

Profession... computer scientist, professor, and an anarchist. After his stint at MIT, Collins is back in New York teaching computer science, along with his radical political views, to young undergrads at NYU. When not teaching, Collins has been known to both beat “the man” and get some extra cash for his rent-lacking friends and himself by hacking into local ATMs.

Interests... computer programming, fighting for the rights of people living with AIDS through the organization ACT UP, and having a good time with his friends.

Relationship Status... dating a drag queen and street drummer named Angel, who also has AIDS. They met when when Angel saved Collins after he was attacked by muggers on the street. Angel has been brightening up Collins’ life ever since, and they’ve very quickly fallen in love.

Challenge... getting by day-to-day in the Village at the end of the ‘80s. Getting mugged, living with AIDS, finding enough money for rent – it’s not always easy. When things get especially rough, Collins is wont to fantasizing about leaving behind the streets of New York and opening up a restaurant in Santa Fe.

Personality... calm, strong, and brilliant. Collins is an easygoing guy with a joyful spirit that he brings to all of his interactions, and the joy is only multiplied once Angel comes into his life. He’s also a computer genius, and he tries to use his talents for good.

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