Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Gov Clinton & ACT UP, Dec 1991: HIV History Video

In the fall of 1991, the ACT UP chapters in Washington, DC, and New York City provided me with grants to move up to New Hampshire in anticipation of the coming primary season for the presidential race.

There were no effective AIDS cocktails, Democratic and Republican politicians weren't adequately addressing the plague, the media's coverage of people with AIDS was stigmatizing and ill-informed, and the gay community raged against institutions ignoring our plight.

Yet, members of ACT UP were full of anger and optimism that we could change the situation and that Silence = Death. We were not quiet queers.

Gov. Bill Clinton held a forum at a theater in Manchester, NH, in 1991 and I was there in an aisle seat wearing three political buttons, ready to thrust into his hand our list of demands and say something about AIDS.

This was the small start to ACT UP's efforts during the 1992 race for the White House, that soon led to hundreds of activists across the country confronting all candidates with a simple question: What about AIDS?

On May 30, 2015, the MSNBC anchor Melissa Harris Perry aired a segment about the benefits of Democratic presidential hopefuls facing other Democrats in primaries. She used b-roll footage showing Clinton have a brush with me.

Finally, I wish to acknowledge all the dead and still-living folks from the AIDS plague years who acted up and changed the world for the better. Those who died didn't pass away in vain and we, the living, are survivors and thrivers.

Here's a bit of queer and HIV history:

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