JAMES WILLIAMS was a gay man, born on this date (d: 2021) who grew up in a conservative and religious milieu in Alabama, where homophobia was rampant. But over time, he saw the United States move toward greater tolerance, which he attributed partly to nonthreatening television shows like “Will & Grace,” the long-running sitcom with an openly gay lead character.
While on vacation in India in 2017, he met Ayush Thakur, and he moved to India to live with him. Gay sex had been decriminalized there only in 2018, and Mr. Williams saw that persecution persisted. He thought that if there were Indian television shows modeled on “Will & Grace,” they could bring gay people into Indian living rooms and help change hearts and minds. So he spent his days meeting with producers and others trying to get such shows off the ground.
Then, last year, the coronavirus pandemic hit and halted his efforts. In recent weeks an explosion of cases put India under siege, sapping medical systems, overwhelming crematories and leaving some people to die in lines outside hospitals.
Mr. Williams tested positive for Covid-19 on April 24 and joined the desperate scramble for a hospital bed and oxygen. He eventually found both, his brother, John, said, but to no avail: He died on April 28, 2021 in a hospital in the Delhi region.