ACT UP Did March for Single-Payer Health Care


In this week’s Pride Issue feature “Does ‘Gay Inc.’ Believe in Free Speech?” we report about how the mainstream gay organizations, even the AIDS groups, were largely absent from Zuccotti Park in 2011 and were not advocating a single-payer option during 2010’s raging health care debates.

Reader Eustacia Smith wrote to inform us that ACT UP New York did march for single-payer healthcare.

Earlier in our article, we’d written:

Today’s movement is quite unlike ACT UP, the Gay Liberation Front, or the Mattachine Society. In their use of confrontation, those groups looked far more like Occupy Wall Street than the Human Rights Campaign. Today’s gay organizations tend to present queer voices that are well polished and well financed.

Because of this, we didn’t consider ACT UP to be part of what we were later discussing about today’s big gay organizations, as it was never part of ‘Gay Inc.’

However, the direct action group does still exist in some form, and it did stand up on these issues. Smith wrote to us:

“Thanks for your article, “Does ‘Gay Inc.’ Believe in Free Speech?” However, you quote Bill Dobbs as saying that no AIDS group supported the single payer movement and this is not true. I have been a member of ACT UP New York for many years and ACT UP NY had a very big single-payer healthcare campaign during the time Dobbs is referencing . The campaign included a number of marches and protests on the issue.”

Speaking to Dobbs yesterday, he reiterated how the conversation we had quoted was about ‘Gay Inc.’, which ACT UP was never a part of. In an email blast, Dobbs went further in his criticism than our article discussed, writing (emphasis added):

“During the big public discussions several years ago about health care reform (“Obamacare”), Gay Inc wasn’t just missing in action about the need for single-payer universal health care, they were nowhere to be found at all about health care reform! Even the large AIDS groups (“AIDS Inc”) were nowhere to be found – ignoring lessons learned from the approximately 400,000 gay and bisexual men who had died of AIDS.”

Read the feature “Does ‘Gay Inc.’ Believe In Free Speech?”