Tag: Activism

Vanguard: The Fights that Connect Black Women Activists across More Than Two Centuries

My undergraduate and MA adviser, Dr. Angela Howard, argued that women across time and space often have remarkably similar experiences if you zero in on major events in their lives. These include first marriages, first babies, menopause, or widowhood. She encouraged me to compare women at these moments of their lives even if they occurred… Read more →

Acting Up and Fighting Back: Stories of ACT UP

Sarah Schulman’s Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987–1993 and Peter Staley’s memoir, Never Silent: ACT UP and My Life in Activism aren’t in conversation with one another so much as they are different versions of the same story. Both focus on the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT… Read more →

Signing for Life: Deaf Gay Activists Navigate the AIDS Epidemic, 1986–1991

Before a small crowd of journalists at San Diego’s Point Loma Hospital, through sign language and their interpreters, John Canady’s partner J.T. Tupper, and sister, Mary Noble, recounted the ordeal their loved one endured prior to his dying of AIDS at the age of 37.[1] On March 18, 1986, Canady, a deaf postal worker, had… Read more →

Walls of Moms: Maternal Bodies and Public Space in Portland and Argentina

On July 18, 2020 a group of mothers gathered on the streets of Portland. These women, the majority of whom were white, stood together as a living barrier between BLM protestors and armed federal agents. Wearing yellow and holding sunflowers, the women represented a particular vision of white, middle-class, US motherhood. Some of these women… Read more →

Showing Up, Building Community, and Creating Grace: A Review of Lindy West’s The Witches Are Coming

At 11 am CT on January 20, 2017 — just as Donald Trump was being sworn in as the forty-fifth President of the United States in Washington, DC — I was sworn in as a brand new American citizen in Rock Island, Illinois. It was an odd day. On the one hand, knowing that the… Read more →

AIDS and AIDS Activism in the 1980s United States: A Syllabus

An explanation: For years, I have wanted to teach Sarah Schulman’s People in Trouble in my Introduction to LGBTQ Studies course. This is a general education course (we call it “essential learning”) that Colorado Mesa University (CMU) students can choose in order to fulfill their Social and Behavioral Sciences requirement. Although I am trained as… Read more →

The Queer Truth: Sarah Schulman’s People in Trouble

For years, when I would tell stories of my time in 1980s San Francisco to friends or students, some of my listeners would say, “It sounds kind of like Rent.” “No,” I would say, “It’s more like Sarah Schulman’s novel People in Trouble, but San Francisco rather than New York.”1 The friends and students to… Read more →

Museum Educators Unite: Unionizing the Lower East Side Tenement Museum

On April 15th, 2019, a group of workers in the Lower East Side Tenement Museum’s departments of Education, Visitor Services, Retail, and Advance Sales voted 72–3 to join United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 2110, joining a growing movement of museum professionals forming unions in New York City. The Tenement Museum is a unique institution. Housed… Read more →

Change over Time: A Colorado Love Story

In 1992, 53% of Colorado voters answered yes to this question on the ballot: “Shall there be an amendment to Article II of the Colorado Constitution to prohibit the state of Colorado and any of its political subdivisions from adopting or enforcing any law or policy which provides that homosexual, lesbian, or bisexual orientation, conduct,… Read more →

A View from Inside the Suburban Mom Movement

Before 2016, conversations at school pickup time in my affluent suburb nearly always revolved around kids’ activities and home remodeling. We stayed away from political topics mostly; it seemed impolite to provoke a fellow PTO member.1 If anyone temporarily put up something as unaesthetic as a lawn sign amongst their manicured shrubs, it said something… Read more →