Lessons from a Plague

Note from the Digital Editor: In order to highlight the high-level of research and scholarship from the authors who have published in the William & Mary Policy Review’s peer-reviewed print journal, we have reproduced the abstracts from Volume 4, Issue 2 along with a link to an electronic copy of the full form of the piece. 

This Article argues that we ought to examine this country’s early AIDS crisis for lessons on addressing HIV as well as to improve the ongoing social movement of sexual minorities in the United States. In the 1980s and early 1990s, AIDS influenced sexual minorities’ advocacy efforts as both liberationists working to deregulate sexuality and integrationists seeking access to heterosexual privilege recognized that their agendas needed to acknowledge this new crisis.

Over time, a liberationist response to AIDS emerged and dominated the social movement because sexual minorities had to publicly defend their differences in order to stay alive. Decades later, without the horrific, unifying force of the early AIDS crisis, elites at the helm of the social movement have taken an integrationist turn. Movement elites now favor integrationist objectives like marriage, neglecting the pressing needs of their marginalized movement counterparts. By honoring key lessons from the early AIDS crisis and using the momentum of the modern integrationist movement to advance more liberationist goals, sexual minorities have the power to propel society toward greater justice for all.

Find the full version of this article in PDF form here.

Max D. Siegel is a Ryan H. Easley Research Fellow at University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. Thank you to the journal for its incredible work as well as to Sanjay De, Sue McCarty, and Danielle Keats Citron.