Date of Degree

2-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Program

Liberal Studies

Advisor

Karen Miller

Subject Categories

History | Social History

Abstract

The outbreak of AIDS politicized and radicalized the gay community in New York City, which is when ACT UP emerged. The anger and hopelessness felt by the gay community due to the government’s inaction was vigorously channeled towards activism and disruption, which in turn created visibility and enabled changes that would make living with AIDS manageable. I will be focusing on the emotional aspect that drove ACT UP activists to channel their anger and frustration into something productive that ultimately lead to tangible changes. Changes related to how AIDS and people with AIDS were represented in the media and most importantly in terms of treatment availability. By looking at one particular action that ACT UP/NY was involved in, I hope to illustrate how the movement was inspired and driven by emotion, which in a lot ways made the movement more militant. Ultimately, we will see how the raw emotions and drive felt by a lot of the activists within ACT UP enabled them to become extremely interested in research and data gathering which opened the door for activists to become involved in the quest for new and fairer trials and treatments.

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