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ACT UP

Were any of you a part of this radical group or did you participate in any of their demonstrations?

I know that Larry Kramer has a rather prickly, unpopular image, but this group seems to have made the biggest strides of all to bring AIDS awareness. Very scary times, I can't even imagine. I'm interested in personal stories of people being involved with ACT UP.

by Anonymousreply 6901/23/2015

In the 80's I held up a silence equals death sign with Reagan's face crossed out during a OSU chapter of ACT-UP rally. We only chanted though and didn't stage a die-in.

by Anonymousreply 109/26/2013

ACT UP always hurt us more than they helped us, IMO.

by Anonymousreply 209/26/2013

ACT UP did more than you'll ever do for the community, r2. You apologist cowards never would amount to shit without the backbone of the brave gays.

by Anonymousreply 309/26/2013

False, false, false, r2. We irritated people until they demanded that TPTB deal with our issues. "We" were kind of a soft terror organization interrupting masses and blocking traffic but the swift results speak for themselves.

by Anonymousreply 409/26/2013

I was part of ACT UP NY for a while. I frankly never understood the attitude of people like r2, particularly given the amount of progress that was made because of the pressure put on the NIH and pharma companies that resulted in most of the breakthroughs of the time. (If you really don't know what the organization accomplished, there are lots of resources online, so don't come back with "oh, yeah, like what?" DO SOME RESEARCH. Namby-pamby go-along to get-along groups were USELESS.)

It was a complicated, fractious group at the best of times, but incredibly vital and really could take over your life if you let it--demos all the time, regular meetings (with hundreds of people in attendance at its peak), lots of things going on in related organizations (Queer Nation, etc). It was a great time to be gay in NYC--you had a real sense of community, a sense of shared struggles and goals. Gay men and lesbians became accustomed to socializing more often since women were so integral to activism at the time, and it was endlessly inspiring. Scary, yes, because you can't do AIDS activism and not have bleak realities staring you in the face all the time, not see people dying all around you who you've worked very closely with, but it was something I miss now. Gay NYC isn't the same for me since that time--it all seems comparatively shallow and commodified.

by Anonymousreply 509/26/2013

"Gay NYC isn't the same for me since that time--it all seems comparatively shallow and commodified."

Here we go again....

With the advancements in AIDS research and the increasing acceptance of gays and lesbians, what do you expect?

I really don't get where people thought gays and lesbians would be after the fighting and pressure started working? ACT UP did what they had to do for a reason. And it worked. But you can't expect the same type of community now that you had back then. Attitudes have changed. Not completely, but by a large amount.

This type of attitude mystifies me. It would be like black people saying that their culture has gotten more lazy and inactive since Civil Rights passed.

by Anonymousreply 609/26/2013

ACT UP was an embarrassment. There were much more productive ways to get attention and funding. Lots of anger there, but no real results.

by Anonymousreply 709/26/2013

I understand what you're saying, r6, but I don't think it can be too difficult to comprehend someone's noticing a difference, and perhaps not finding the difference to the better. Can it? For instance, we haven't exactly won all our battles yet, have we? But where is the sort of mobilized community we had then? Did we get it while pushing for Marriage Equality? Or did we mostly leave that to certain professional organizations to do for us?

We've always done best with action that started in the grass roots--that's what seems to be missing now, and I don't really know if that's an arguable point. Everyone was quite happy to show up outside Stonewall when parts of DOMA were struck down, but that's about it. We're mostly liking pages on Facebook now, and signing e-petitions.

I suppose I thought that--"after the pressure started working"--we'd be somewhere other than sitting around at home thanking god we didn't have to sweat so much anymore.

by Anonymousreply 809/26/2013

ACT UP was great. It was hard to find people willing to be arrested in flyover land chapters, however.

I think gays who can't relate to those troubled times, such as our hyper-masculine pseudo-gays should read "Passage to Ararat" by Michael Arlen. It's about an Armenian kid whose father never had anything nice to say about Armenians and who felt a physical REVULSION when he started meeting his people and they wanted to talk about the Turkish massacres. How he recovered his past and his people is an interesting book and frankly more true of gays than Armenians.

by Anonymousreply 909/26/2013

[quote]There were much more productive ways to get attention and funding.

Name one that was successful at something other than raising money for itself. You're a know-nothing, and should do us a favor and re-closet yourself now.

by Anonymousreply 1009/26/2013

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by Anonymousreply 1109/26/2013

As a gay I felt ACT UP hurt us more than helped us. It scared people really set the gay rights movement back many years.

Sorry, but this is how I feel.

by Anonymousreply 1209/26/2013

Anyone who thinks ACT UP didn't make a difference needs to see How to Survive a Plague and United in Anger.

Act Up streamlined the way the FDA approves drugs. It turned gay men, and later HIV positive people of both genders and all races, into forces to be reckoned with, not passive victims the government and pharmaceutical industry could write off.

ACT UP treansformed the lives of subsequent generations of gays for the better. End of story.

by Anonymousreply 1309/26/2013

I'm a member of ActUp in thought. When I get treated poorly simply because I am gay, I always think, how would ActUp handle this? Would they just sit back and take it? No way.

The closet and indifference out of fear, shame, and hatred for each other by the LGBT community sets the gay movement back a lot farther than ActUp ever did, R12.

by Anonymousreply 1409/26/2013

Did Sam and Judy Peabody join in?

by Anonymousreply 1509/26/2013

If it makes you feel better to think that ACT UP helped us, more power to you.

I remember being on a train with my mother circa 1992. There was a gay guy wearing an ACT UP pin, and also a pin that said "Infected Faggot" and he had a biohazard tattoo. This did not exactly elicit sympathy or understanding from my mother, who was rightly horrified at the display.

ACT UP were a bunch of loudmouth whiners who made very little difference.

by Anonymousreply 1609/26/2013

Of course Larry Kramer was a huge asshole. Thank goodness he was willing to be the asshole. He could not be ignored.

by Anonymousreply 1709/26/2013

How you feel is pretty irrelevant, r12. You should be grateful AIDS never invaded your entitled little tuffet.

by Anonymousreply 1809/26/2013

R16, horrified by what? The homosexual or the pin? Or, both?

by Anonymousreply 1909/26/2013

AIDS never "invaded my entitled little tuffet" because I took personal responsibility and was careful. I feel there should have been more of an emphasis on that sort of thing from ACT UP and the community at large.

Sorry to be un-PC, but I'm calling it as I see it.

by Anonymousreply 2009/26/2013

R16 She was horrified at the way this human being was representing himself. "Infected Faggot"? Come on. You aren't going to win hearts and minds by wearing a pin like that.

by Anonymousreply 2109/26/2013

How would you notice a pin? You had to be looking really closely...at the homosexual.

Gay men wearing tuxedos wouldn't change hearts and minds to people who already have their mind made up.

by Anonymousreply 2209/26/2013

You're not being politically incorrect, you're being factually incorrect r20. Whatever delusion drifted you through the crisis, ACT-UP was doing the actual footwork. Being closeted(I assume because you display sociopathic disregard of gay suffering) and celibate was your contribution to the effort but it accomplished very little when very much was needed. Seems you have benefitted from "the community", everyone has, and you have the doers to thank for that.

by Anonymousreply 2309/26/2013

[R20] I am so happy for you and your personal responsibility.

You might not know there was a time when all gay men were demonized because of the unkowns about HIV.Customers would walk out of a restaurant. People lost jobs and opportunity, were discriminated against in many ignorant places.

There were calls to quarantine gay men, to expose them. IT isn't about personal responsibility, rather a quest for scientific fact and dignity.

by Anonymousreply 2409/26/2013

R2 and his many empty responses, "I just happen to think there was a better way" without any content or suggestions, is just a very stupid troll. If he/she really thought that way they would give examples of how ACT-UP hurt things, etc. The troll evidence is that he/she is all over this thread, appearing every now and then to stir the shit. I was minimally involved, I went to meeting, and took part in two demos, one very large and pretty disruptive. I also taught a college course at the time on AIDS and activism, one of the first to be taught in New York State. I think ACT-UP was absolutely necessary. The government was not moving, the medical bureaucracy was not moving, we were stigmatized, and we started with pretty much no money for research. We changed attitudes, got some legal protections, sped up the research process and inspired gay men. The tactics were not appropriate for all times, but definitely appropriate for that time.

by Anonymousreply 2509/26/2013

R20 etc is a troll, the same troll that is a HW Bushie apologist twatstika.

by Anonymousreply 2609/26/2013

ACT UP was hugely beneficial in stripping the mask of charity from the Catholic church and that fraud bigot and murderer Mother Theresa. They very hysteria of their overreaction to the St. Patrick's sit in showed what kind of small minded vicious cunts they really were.

by Anonymousreply 2709/26/2013

R20 and R2 and the same person and is the same person making the same remarks throughout the thread.

by Anonymousreply 2809/26/2013

If telling the truth makes me a troll, I guess I'm a troll.

by Anonymousreply 2909/26/2013

I have a lot of respect for the ACT-UP guys in the early years of the plague. Instead of throwing a pity party, which they could easily, and even rightly, have done, they got off their asses, mobilized, and made total nuisances of themselves in order to try and save lives. Change couldn't have happened any other way. I give them all the credit in the world.

by Anonymousreply 3009/26/2013

You are a troll R29, and people like you are why we have right-wing government in the USA even today.

by Anonymousreply 3109/26/2013

R31 I voted for Obama both times. I haven't voted GOP since 1988 when I was 18.

by Anonymousreply 3209/26/2013

ACT UP closed the Golden Gate Bridge when I was there, hoping, I guess to stop a few lawyers from making it downtown in their BMWs. But...they probably didn't give a thought to my friend Chase, a man with AIDS in a 10 year old Honda, who was desperate to get to Davies Memorial that same day for treatment.

by Anonymousreply 3309/26/2013

THANK YOU R33.

by Anonymousreply 3409/26/2013

r33, that very same day, I was a young gay man working in an AIDS lab at UCSF. I probably took blood from half a dozen HIV+ study volunteers that day, counted their CD4+ T-cells, reported the depressing results to them, then proceeded with my experiments on their WBC's.

I remember lots of whiny, hipster, white, rich kids from the 'burbs as comprising Act Up!. They looked ever so fashionably Goth in their black Silence = Death T-shirts. Their urgent, loud voices were needed, but what did they do for those of us actually working to find solutions to an historic crisis and for those who suffered from it? Narcissism ruled the day -- as it often does.

I did my share of radical protesting in my youth, but that day, when Act Up! closed the GG Bridge, made me see how some forms of activism can set us back. It also highlighted how self-centered certain so-called "activists" can be.

by Anonymousreply 3509/26/2013

Thank you, too R35. And thank you for your work that actually DID make a difference.

by Anonymousreply 3609/26/2013

R35, that is very commendable that you were working as a medical professional to help find solutions to HIV/AIDS, but what about people who weren't doctors/medical scientists/etc.? There also existed the very practical problems about visibility in the media and fighting to get AIDS patients access to the healthcare they needed. Reagan and the Republican '80s lawmakers certainly didn't care that gay men were dying left and right. Someone had to speak up and be their voice, and obnoxious though some of their tactics and members may have been, I would say that they succeeded in pushing through the apathy and bureaucracy that was prevalent during those dark times.

by Anonymousreply 3709/26/2013

Ask yourself who put forth the idea that it hurt us. Some of you are just being suckers and buying into it.

by Anonymousreply 3809/26/2013

I actually joined Queer Nation because I felt that ACT UP was too soft.

I can't believe the willful ignorance in this thread. What you have today, you owe to groups like ACT UP. There would be no public discourse today without them. Papers published in Nature are all well and good, but they do not stir the populace.

Keep this in mind: PEOPLE WERE DROPPING LIKE FLIES. ENTIRE NEIGHBORHOODS WERE WIPED OUT. A generation of gay men was effectively gutted. Politicians laughed. Middle America shrugged. Gays were being MURDERED (literally!) by bigoted vigilantes. ACT UP changed the way the wind blew. It saddens me that so many are unable to see how indebted they are.

by Anonymousreply 3909/26/2013

Always the way. People who live more freely and reap benefits from the courage of those who fought before always diminish history. Young women today eschew feminists and take for granted the benefits gained for them.

If you belong to any group not approved of by our dominant culture (gays, women, minorities) rest assured that whatever freedom and opportunities you enjoy were hard won by people who took chances and suffered hard consequences. Read your history and practice a bit of gratitude.

by Anonymousreply 4009/26/2013

Plenty of young people are grateful to those who paved the way. It's ridiculous to let a few trollish posts on here sway your opinion.

R8 Times change. Yes, there were problems with the way the marriage movement has been handled, but ACT UP tactics were necessary back then for reasons that R39 states. We needed to be more forceful, but I really don't think extreme anger and confrontation would work in this climate, where there is more acceptance and positivity in the public eye. The real problem is that organizations who had already been well established to serve the community did a piss poor job. There was no unified message being presented.

by Anonymousreply 4109/26/2013

[quote] ACT UP was an embarrassment. There were much more productive ways to get attention and funding. Lots of anger there, but no real results.

Bullshit.

I don't know anyone who was at all involved in AIDS activism in the 19080s who doesn't acknowledge the debt we owe to ACT UP.

Yeah, they pissed us off sometimes.

They kept people honest and brought attention to a public health disaster that was being ignored because the victims were gay.

Remember - there was no 24 hour news cycle. It was all about newspapers, news magazines and network news. You had to fight to get time in the spotlight. That would never have happened without ACT UP.

by Anonymousreply 4209/26/2013

ACT UP didn't do much except act as a useful way for gay men and their allies to loudly vent their frustrations during the worst years of the AIDS crisis. It was a way to act obnoxious and aggressive and tell yourself you were actually doing something significant when you really weren't. And it was so localized in the gay ghettos of NYC, SF and LA that it really couldn't do much to change hearts and minds in the rest of the country (where changing people's homophobic attitudes really mattered at the time). It was just a politicized venue for lots of posing and performing--I know because I belonged to an ACT UP chapter in the greater NYC area in 1990-1992. (Not one of my prouder political affiliations.)

GMHC did a lot, however, in terms of raising public awareness of the AIDS crisis and helping afflicted men get the benefits they would otherwise have missed; and I will always be grateful to Larry Kramer for starting that.

by Anonymousreply 4309/26/2013

I'm sorry - I know there were lots of people working in the background and fighting the good fight - but ACT UP was hugely important in getting the plight of plwhas recognised and acknowledged.

It gave an important focus to people who otherwise felt isolated and marginalised - and quickly grew to having international reach.

Some of the individual protests or acts od disruption did annoy me at times - in my opinion, some of them were a little wrongheaded or just plain silly - but this was a grassroots movement and it did a fantastic job overall.

To this day I am grateful to everyone inolved - of whatever gender, orientation and hiv status - for seeing the many injustices aimed at us and our community and doing their bit to try and address these wrongs. It took courage and passion to do what they did. It wasn't easy.

I salute 'em.

by Anonymousreply 4409/26/2013

I know Larry and I have t say I have tremendous admiration for everyone who participated in Act Up.

I'm someone who believes in quiet, civil change from within the power structures. This was a situation where we could not afford to wait.

by Anonymousreply 4509/26/2013

On the question of whether ACT Up did any good, or more good than harm, here's Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Fauci was a chief target of early ACT UP demonstrations. From a 2008 interview:

[italic]What impact do you think the early activism by ACT UP and other groups had?[/italic]

[bold]I think it had a positive impact. They really demanded to have a say in things like the design of the clinical trials, as opposed to the trials being very restrictive when there were really no drugs available for people. The exclusionary nature of clinical trials was unacceptable to them, and they were correct in that.[/bold]

[bold]The rapidity with which drugs would be approved by the FDA [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] when there was a fatal disease for which there were no drugs available -- they demonstrated against that. A lot of the points that the activists made in the early years, and even today, were very, very valid points. I think they opened the eyes of researchers, public health officials and government officials to pay more attention to the kinds of needs that people with HIV infection, or at risk for HIV infection, had.[/bold]

[bold]All in all, I think the activist movement was a very positive thing in HIV.[/bold]

[italic]Did you feel that way in the beginning, when you were being shouted at?[/italic]

[bold]Yes, I did! That's the reason why we ultimately came to an agreement. I realized, although they were shouting at me and yelling at me, it really wasn't something personal. It was a great pain and a fear and a concern that they were feeling, and I was very empathetic towards that. That's the reason why we developed very good relationships, ultimately, with them.[/bold]

[bold]But you're right. In the beginning, they were very confrontational because they needed to get our attention. Indeed, they did get our attention. They certainly got my attention.[/bold]

by Anonymousreply 4609/26/2013

The anti-ACT UP priss has never done anything except look at a few TV reports and images from afar, and cruise a queer on a train.

He has never done anything for others, except cross his arms and hiss out displeasure.

The anti-ACT UP priss is QUITE engaged in repeatedly boasting his complete ignorance.

This is the closest interaction the anti-ACT UP priss has ever gotten to activism; via a thread on a website, vicariously and through his obstinate veil of smug stupidity.

by Anonymousreply 4709/26/2013

There is much to discuss and it gets very personal. R35 makes valid points as does R37.

To say that ACT UP kept people honest is a bit of a stretch, when in all such radical movements, the self imposed hierarchies started playing with the "enemy" for their own gain and ignored their base. Some necessary and some unnecessary deals were made with the devil.

Egos, self preservation, elitist spokespersons with a mission took over the front - many who would later get a career out of it for which they were not qualified. They were fighting for their lives, but legacy was second best to some in those dreadful days. The history of change.

Bottom line: ACT UP did far more good than harm.

There were larger numbers of hero/activists deep in the trenches of caring for PWA's while advocating for their care and dignity and learning the language of their loved ones.

by Anonymousreply 4809/26/2013

An interesting and very well-done scholarly book on this topic is Impure Science; it chronicles how ACT-UP and queer journalism convinced scientists to step up research and adapt treatment protocols. Worth a look and persuasive to me, who am not by nature much of an activist. Yes, these queers were loud, noisy, and in your face. Thank God.

by Anonymousreply 4909/26/2013

Well I was part of SETTLE DOWN and I don't seem to have received my rights any later than those instigators that harassed churches and snarled traffic for all those poor straight Reagan voters.

by Anonymousreply 5009/26/2013

Yes, SETTLE DOWN, aka Simpering Effete Twits Tsking Legislative Equality & Do Obviously Win Nothing sure was fun!

by Anonymousreply 5109/26/2013

I know it makes you guys feel better to think they did, but ACT UP didn't do a thing except whine.

by Anonymousreply 5209/27/2013

Remember when they were making "Basic Instinct" in SF? Some lesbian members of ACT UP were furiouis the movie was depicting a lesbian serial killer, saying there was no such thing and, besides, it made us look bad. They then decided it would be a good idea to blow whistles when the cameras were rolling to disrupt filming. Eventually, the film was released and ACT UP members drove around to the the theaters (there were lines to see it) and yelled out "Catherine Did It!" or else stenciled it on the sidewalks outside the theaters, giving away the ending.

Of course, during this time Aileen Wuornos, a lesbian serial killer, was gunning down men in Florida one after another.

by Anonymousreply 5309/27/2013

Yeah all those protests of Basic Instinct and Silence of the Lambs were embarrassing for us. And they accomplished nothing except to portray the gay community as a bunch of whiners.

by Anonymousreply 5409/27/2013

My late cousin and his partner took part in several ACT UP actions in NYC, including the notorious one in St. Patrick's against Cardinal O'Connor.

Several years later, when I came to NY to visit my dying cousin, his partner took me to St. Patrick's to get a feel for what came down there. I was quite moved by it, and I became interested in my own kind of community activism, which I've continued in memory of my cousin and the many people we've lost.

I believe ACT UP was important then, and the seeds it planted helped get us to the relatively good place we are today.

by Anonymousreply 5509/27/2013

R52 - R54 REAL talk

by Anonymousreply 5609/27/2013

R53, further proof lesbians are completely unhinged.

by Anonymousreply 5709/27/2013

r40 Your post called to mind Shakespeare's line from "Romeo and Juliet", 'He jests at scars that never felt a wound.' Geezer here, and I remember what a cruel, black time the Age of AIDS ushered in. Protest groups assembled seemingly overnight, and went everywhere they could think of, to get the message out that help was needed. Silence was not an option. Go along to get along was laughable anymore. People were made to listen, and it wouldn't have happened if softer approaches were used. My hat's off to all who participated. I would respectfully add to your list of those who took chances and suffered hard consequences, the many people involved in the early union movement.

by Anonymousreply 5809/27/2013

For those of you who respect the brave works of ACT UP, take heart. Soon you'll see a new wave of truly radical left politics.

The Weather Underground Organization is currently reorganizing under the guise of various innocuous splinter groups along the lines of the SDS. And when we finally coalesce into one cohesive army, we'll make the SLA look as radical as a meeting of the Young Republicans.

Le fond de l'air est rouge.

by Anonymousreply 5909/27/2013

You flyover apologists are damn ignorant.

by Anonymousreply 6009/27/2013

"didn't do a thing except whine."

That'll be on your headstone, whiner extreme.

by Anonymousreply 6109/27/2013

Just one more vote for ACT UP and Larry Kramer. It was the last powerful movement by the powerless and ignored that we've had in this country. Groups of this kind are never a matter of simple distinctions: Kramer could be an asshole and was sometimes self defeating. But he had a ferocious bravery, when NO ONE was speaking up for the young men dying chained to gurneys in ER's all over the city. He took on the very powerful on national TV as well as locally in NY, and the people who joined with him (a fair number of whom didn't like him and argued with him fiercely)made a HUGE difference, which is documented.

The number of deaths, and the horror of dying from the disease at the height of the "holocaust", which is what one brave MD I knew called it, was horrendous and the indifference of "Christian" America, polite and reasonable, as the gifted, the decent, those infected by ONE exposure (and I knew many of those, the virus had been circulating undetected since the mid seventies at least) who were not promiscuous or careless, mandated what Larry Kramer did. I spit on those who disagree.

by Anonymousreply 6209/27/2013

The ACT-UP people were brave. I was young and closeted then. I wish I had had their bravery.

by Anonymousreply 6309/27/2013

I went to a Queer Nation meeting and all they did was argue about who would be in charge. They did a good kiss-in at a suburban mall though. I was sorry I couldn't go.

by Anonymousreply 6409/28/2013

Yes, while it seems that Larry Kramer had a very noble agenda, the truth is . . and it is the truth . . . that he alienated more people who would have helped, who could have helped, at the time. Don't make the man into a saint. He was anything but.

by Anonymousreply 6509/28/2013

Peter Staley AIDS and gay rights activist; Founder & Advisory Editor, AIDSmeds

by Anonymousreply 6601/23/2015

Where are the Act Responsibility protests, etc, happening today by members of the gay community? HIV/AIDS is in the rise due to young guys doing meth and especially from BB sex. But silence from the so called activists. No call for personal responsibility. Why? Just take your meds if you get HIV. No big deal. Or, pop a Truvada. It fool proof!

Gay men are once again proving how selfish and irresponsible they truly are.

ACT UP accomplished very little, if based on the behavior of today's gay men.

by Anonymousreply 6701/23/2015

ACT UP was one of the most important Gay organizations ever. Yes, its tactics were in-your-face, but that's what was needed. We were no longer passive AIDS victims, but strong, active fighters for our rights.

Without ACT UP, we'd still be waiting for protease inhibitors.

They were not whiners, they were doers; they were actors (get it)?

Every movement needs radicals to get people's attention and quiet connected people to seal the deal.

What do think the Ferguson demonstrations were about? They got people's attention and started a movement.

Don't ever dare criticize ACT UP until you find out what they accomplished.

We could use a new ACT UP now to fight back against the highly dangerous "religious rights" defense for anti-GL bias. Combine that with court action and we win.

by Anonymousreply 6801/23/2015

Actually no R68. If the religious argument were accepted, we would win because we have a right to relgion too.

by Anonymousreply 6901/23/2015
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