Lessons from a Plague
4 WM. & MARY POL’Y REV. 292 (2013)
27 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2013 Last revised: 13 Nov 2013
Date Written: January 28, 2013
This Article argues that we ought to examine this country’s early AIDS crisis for lessons on addressing HIV in the twenty-first century and to improve the ongoing social movement of sexual minorities in the United States. In the 1980s and early 1990s, AIDS focused sexual minorities’ advocacy efforts as both liberationists working to deregulate sexuality and integrationists seeking entrance to heterosexual privilege recognized that their agendas needed to account for this new crisis. Over time, a liberationist response to AIDS emerged and dominated the social movement because sexual minorities needed to publicly defend their differences in order to stay alive. Decades later, without the horrific, unifying force of the early AIDS crisis, elites at the helm of the social movement have taken an integrationist turn. Movement elites now favor integrationist objectives like marriage, neglecting the pressing needs of their marginalized movement counterparts. By honoring key lessons from the early AIDS crisis and using the machinery of the modern integrationist movement to advance more liberationist goals, sexual minorities have the power and the responsibility to propel society toward greater justice for all.
Keywords: HIV, AIDS, Sexual Minorities, Queer Theory, LGBT, Identity Based Social Movements
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