Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964517 | Print ISBN: 9781412909167 | Online ISBN: 9781412964517| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Deborah B. Gould
The AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP), an organization committed to using civil disobedience, direct action, and other forms of confrontational protest to fight the AIDS crisis, emerged out of the lesbian and gay community in New York City in March 1987. ACT UP chapters and affiliated groups across the country soon formed a locally autonomous but nationally networked street AIDS activist movement. Using dramatic tactics, including street protests, die-ins, office takeovers, disruptions, and guerrilla theater, ACT UP targeted all levels of government, the scientific-medical establishment, the insurance and pharmaceutical industries, the media, the Catholic Church, and other institutions seen as hindering the fight against AIDS. ACT UP was also famous for its visually striking graphics— such as the “SILENCE = DEATH” emblem—and for its sex-radical, queer-positive sexual politics. In addition to its many significant AIDS-related victories, ACT UP inaugurated a new queer era in which anger, defiant street ...