aids related activism


Remembering Our Dead: AIDS Quilt Panels of Bisexual People who had passed from AIDS. A ceremony of love and remembrance held during the US Bisexual Conference held in June 1990 in San Francisco CA USA.

AIDS had a profound effect on the bisexual movement. Bi men were stigmatized as spreaders of HIV from homosexuals to the “general population.” In the late 1980s, as awareness of AIDS in women increased, bisexual women began be to stigmatized as spreaders of HIV to lesbians.

These developments spurred discussions about the distinction between sexual behavior and sexual identity (for example, many self-identified bisexual women did not have sex with men, while many self-identified lesbians did). Activists and public health officials alike began to emphasize behavior, not identity, as a risk factor for HIV infection. Many men who had been leaders in the bisexual movement became ill or died, and many other bi men and women turned their attention to AIDS-related activism and service work…

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, students and youth became more active in the bisexual movement. College students began to include bisexuals by name in campus gay and lesbian organizations, with over 100 such groups in existence by the end of the decade…

At the same time, a new “queer movement” had begun to take shape. Young activists, many of whom were involved with the AIDS activist group ACT UP, formed Queer Nation in the summer of 1990 … Parts of the new movement emphasize the inclusion of bisexuals, transgender and other sexual minorities under the queer umbrella; other parts are less welcoming to those who are not exclusively homosexual…

In June 1990, BiPOL organized a US National Bisexual Conference in San Francisco, with over 400 attendees. The conference was comprised of over eighty workshops on a broad range of subjects.

~excerpt from pamphlet “A Brief History of the Bisexual Movement” Liz Highleyman with editorial assistance from M Beer, S Berger, D Berry, W Bryant, A Hamilton and R Ochs, originally published by the Bisexual Resource Center late 1990’s last updates in 2001.


straight/hetero flags/symbols and why they’re terrible

here’s 9 unique designs i got from googling ‘heterosexual flag’ and 'straight pride flag’.

  • okay so blue = man, pink = woman…. men love women who love tiny streaks of men with white bits? idk. this one’s probably the least offensive to me, but it’s just confusing
  • blue = men, pink = women again i guess… and white symbolises their blinding hetero love?
  • “straight ally” symbol. GO FALL IN A WELL. don’t use the pink triangle as a symbol unless you’re queer. i’m not even down with using it myself, i’m going to leave it to the use of lgbtq jewish people because it’s the rosa winkel, the symbol the nazis forced lgbtq people to wear in concentration camps. not all those people were also jewish, and the symbol has seen use as a gay right symbol (especially relating to aids activism) but personally i don’t feel like it’s “mine” to use.
  • monochrome flag. like… wat? it’s like they saw the rainbow flag and view heteroness as polar opposite, so turned it greyscale bc that’s the farthest they could get from the rainbow. all it speaks to is heteros rly rly rly wanting to separate themselves from being associated with us at all, y'know?
  • “supporter” symbol. okay it was probs made before some of the other flags got into wider use, but super-imposing a man/woman gender symbol over it bc your straightness needs to be at the forefront is tacky. allies/supporters needing their own symbols is tacky.
  • yawn boring “ew rainbows” again
  • the most popular straight ally flag. black + white = straight, a bit of rainbow to show u love the gays, and in a triangle to reference the rosa winkel in a ham fisted way. 0/10 would not recommend
  • red (women) and blue (men) in an infinity symbol. HETERO FOR ALL ETERNITY. FOREVER. inadvertently made this kinda similar to the bi flag with the purple, really, though i suppose thats meant to be a symbol of their amazing straight love all mixed together in harmony. it’s not subtle tbh it’s like a giant NO HOMO STRAIGHT 5EVA logo (note this is a straight flag, not a polyamorous flag though those also often feature the infinity symbol)
  • we get it we get it ur not rainbowy. tbh this seems more like u wanna love robots. i love robots too.
Coming this week: Tumblr Teach-In about The Normal Heart

Hello friends, as promised, here are some more details about our planned Tumblr teach-in to accompany HBO’s adaptation of The Normal Heart. This is a group effort, so please feel free to hit the ask box at any time with questions.

As two people who have been active in various AIDS-related organizations and activism, it’s important to us that we help build on the attention and excitement about this powerful film by adding context and encouraging additional discussion. (And we know we can’t do that alone.)


Each day this week, we’ll curate/moderate/reblog/post with a focus on one themed topic about the AIDS epidemic, with an emphasis on the early years before and shortly after the era of The Normal Heart. Anyone is welcome to submit posts, or tag posts (see guidelines before) at any time, and we’ll continue the reblogging cycle as new content comes in even if it’s after that theme’s day is over.



We’re also planning daily posts about Larry Kramer related to each of those themes.


If you’d like to contribute beyond simply submitting/tagging posts, we’re looking for someone to do a kick-off post for each of the themed days. This could be pretty simple - a particularly strong post you want to reblog plus some additional links/resources - or be more like a background primer if you were so motivated. michelet is handling Saturday’s policy post; shananaomi will head up Wednesday’s safer sex intro.

Here are folks who previously raised their hands to say they might want to help: @sensatesoul, schindermania, @lettersfromtitan, wowbright


Please help us find your great submissions either by using the actual submission tool here or by tagging your posts like this:

  1. with our blog name, normalheart-history
  2. with the relevant theme’s tag (suggestions welcome):
  • women and HIV/AIDS
  • POC and HIV/AIDS
  • AIDS art
  • safer sex and HIV/AIDS
  • HIV/AIDS activism and policy


Ask us anything. We’re doing this on Tumblr because we love the Tumblr community (and its tools, for the most part!), so more than anything we want to encourage that fuck-yeah enthusiasm and excited piling on.