The Civil Disobedience Protest Movement

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The groups who fought the early battle for recognition and treatment of AIDS formed a protest movement similar to those involved in the fight for women’s suffrage, and for civil rights. The consensus of authors like Herbert Spires and Mirko Grmek is that a strong, organized civil disobedience protest movement was necessary to combat the general apathy towards AIDS from both the government and from the medical community. However, there was some disagreement about this civil disobedience from people like John W Toomey. Additionally, the protest movement itself was divided into two factions, gay men on one side, and women and minorities on the other. Each had disparate experiences with that AIDS community, and each disagreed on the focus of the movement. In the end, both factions’ utilization of mainstream protest methods, along with civil disobedience, had a major effect on AIDS research and lead to life-saving changes in the treatment of individuals living with AIDS.
In July of 1981, a rare form of cancer was killing gay men in New York and California. This new, deadly homosexual disease would come to be known as AIDS, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. In the decade or so that followed, as it became clear that this was not merely gay disease, but a disease that affected, women, hemophiliacs and children, the government reacted with indifference. This led those affected to fight for recognition and for treatment options.
When the AIDS epidemic started in the early
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