Sexual Orientation

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Entry Category: Sexual Orientation - Starting with B

Burks, Ruth Coker

Ruth Burks is an Arkansas woman who, in the midst of the 1980s AIDS epidemic, provided support for dozens of men who were dying of AIDS—men who were often abandoned by their families, with even some health professionals being reluctant to treat them. According to Burks, she also ensured that they would have a proper final resting place, providing for the burial of dozens of men in Files Cemetery. However, later investigation into her story has raised significant doubts about the narrative she has promoted about herself. Frances Ruth Coker was born in Hot Springs (Garland County) on March 19, 1959, to James Isham Coker and Aline Lawlor Coker. Her father, who was almost twenty years older than her mother, …