AGTing IlP again
In 1990 Scotland underspent its funds for dealing with HIV and AIDS by £3.8 million — more than a quarter ofthe budget allocated. In 1992. Daily Record columnist Joan Burnie describes AIDS as ‘the only way for the seriously fashionable to go‘. before blaming HIV carriers for contaminating blood and infecting ‘babesin the womb.‘
Against examples like these. it‘s hardly surprising that anger and frustration have re-animated Edinburgh ACT UP. the loud. radical and very public ‘AIDS coalition‘ which has ditched the politics bfpoliteness for the slogan ‘Silence = Death'. Fuelled by government inaction. misinformation and widespread prejudice. the group campaigns along non-partisan lines. although its members are predominately lesbians and gay men. their lives increasingly politicised in the absence of positive legislation.
When the group disbanded last year. closely followed by the demise ofGlasgow ACT UP. bad organisation was partly to blame.
David Cameron. one of the
for relaunching has never been
greater. or the need more pressing. "I'hcre are simply too many issues
to be ignored. ranging from lack of
funding to misinformation. and
there is still money in the funds
‘ which could be put to use.” he
l argues. "I'he government says there
i are laws that deal with
discrimination. but there aren’t and
i too many people are suffering
3 because ofit.‘
; Successful actions used by other
i ACI‘ UP groups. principally in
i London. Manchester and Leeds.
I include mass die-ins. blocking the
organisers. believes the opportunity
telephone lines ofcompanies with discriminatory policies. such as Texaco. which screens employees for HIV. and lively demonstrations in which the object is to make as much noise as possible.
Such activism epitomises the revival of many of the radical ideas associated with liberation movements in the 1970s. updated and adapted for the 90s. On Saturday 27 June. ACI’ [PP will join thousands of lesbians and gay men from all over Europe for London’s EuroPride parade. (iay rights activist Peter 'I'atchell sees it as a symbol of a common struggle which
’ has rcfired the imagination ofgay
‘Queer activism is inspired by anger.’ he says. ‘Since the law reform in 1967. which decriminalised homosexuality in England and Wales (Scotland in 1981). there hasn't been a single instance of legislation for homosexual equality.
‘There are simply too many issues to be ignored.’
Indeed the only changes — Sections 28 and 31— have intensified discrimination.
‘Organisations like ()utrage and ACT UP are more positive than their
. _ " ‘ H . - , I redcccssorszwe rea ro riat ‘ I NomorepoliticsofpolitenesslorAlDScampatgners I p pp p L
traditional forms of homophobic abuse to undermine them. we are united by anger at the criminal lack ofgovernmcnt action to mount an effective campaign against the spread of I IIV. and we are proud and deﬁant‘
Pride is certainly no euphemism. Whether Queer Politics has had an impact or not is difficult to judge. but it has underlined the fact that lesbians and gay men will not be cowed back into the closet. EuroPride is not merely a demonstration. it's a celebration. (Aaron IIicinn)
A ( "1’ UP meets every third 'l‘ut’sday oft/w month in 50 [.xlS. Abbey Mount. Edinburgh, (118mm.
In f0 from S() LAS (m ()31 66] 0982.
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