Prominent Members of ACT UP

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The AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) was an international political action group organized to end the AIDS crisis by creating awareness and provoking government into acting on the issue. The group adopted the slogan 'Silence=Death' and an upside down pink triangle as a logo.

The group's principle founder was American Larry Kramer. Speaking to a group of supporters in March 1987 after he resigned from the Gay Men's Health Crisis Centre (which he founded) in frustration, he lamented the lack of attention and priority given by many political leaders to the AIDS crisis and encouraged the creation of the new political action group.

The group became known for its acts of civil disobedience and outrageous stunts to garner attention to the cause. It was active in many rallies and community activities. Chapters were organized across the country and internationally, and its success led to activist organizations in other countries under different names. A dispute in 1991 with a small number of medical experts in ACT UP led that group to breakaway and form the Treatment Action Group under the leadership of Mark Harrington.

The group was very successful in raising awareness of the issue. ACT UP members founded a philanthropy that evolved into Housing Works, which directed resources (including money raised by a chain of thrift shops) toward aids services and homelessness; helped establish the first successful needle-exchange programs in New York City; and took on insurance practices like the exclusion of single men who lived in predominantly gay neighborhoods.

We have listed many of the more prominent individuals from the LGBTQ community involved in ACT UP.



United States

See Also

Further Reading/Research

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