Setting the Stage

The AIDS/HIV crisis impacted more than just those who contracted the illness and was subjected to the broader judgment of Queer lifestyles. During the 1980s, the attack on the right to Queer privacy was at an all-time high with bureaucratic agencies implementing new policies to police same-sex relationships. The arguments used to justify these policies then mirror similar arguments used today: arguments based on religion, arguments based on pedophilia and sodomy, and arguments based on societal standards/purity. The difference was that in pre-Obergefell v. Hodges America, it was legal to pass laws that infringed on the privacy and rights of same-sex couples. The criminalization of same-sex relationships only served to further alienate and punish those who contracted AIDS/HIV in any situation. This portion of the exhibit displays 3 articles that speak to the everyday struggle and response created when bureaucratic institutions targeted queer people.

Making Citizens Criminals

Making Citizens Criminals

Making Citizens Criminals

"I will not cooperate in my own oppression... No matter how this comes out, good or bad, a whole lot of people will find out about this law."

- Tom Doyal

Section 21.06 of the Texas Penal code was one example of the many attempts to criminal same-sex relationships. Penal code 21.06 saught to criminalize and make unconstitutional private sexual queer relationships between consenting adults.

In this article Kathleen Maher breaks down the Morales et al. v the State of Texas lawsuit and the main representatives of the case. Maher's article gives valuable insight into how the general population were learning about these large scale lawsuits and laws against the Queer communtiy. 

People with AIDS in Texas Struggling For Life and for Help From the State

People with AIDS in Texas Struggling For Life and for Help From the State

People with AIDS in Texas Struggling For Life and For Help From the State

"In one instance Texas has even produced a curious instance of AIDS care that is better for animals than for humans."

The emphasis on the American South for this exhibit is intentional as the Queer community in the South were often subjected to harsher conversative political policies and attitudes. This meant a disproportionate amount of cases in Southern states like Texas, deprived aid for those experiencing AIDS/HIV, and the criminalization of Queer relationships. 

Bruce Lambert's article breaks down the number of AIDS cases occuring the Texas cities and attempts to craft a potential understanding for the disproportionate amount in these cities compared to larger cities like New York. When attempting to understand the Queer experience of AIDS/HIV for Southern Queer communities its difficult to find articles that seperate their experiences from Northern states. Lambrt's article focuses on this disparity granting us insight to the numbers being broadcasted at the time and the known efforts, or lack of, done by government agencies. 

Students Must Renew Battle Against Sexual-Orientation Bias

Students Must Renew Battle Against Sexual-Orientation Bias

Students Must Renew Battle Against Sexual-Orientation Bias

"This is not a gay and lesbian issue; it is a human issue."

Struggles with the policies and rhetoric used during the AIDS/HIV crisis expanded into all aspect of life such as academia. This article posted in a student publication, focuses on the struggles queer students at the University of Texas at Austin face. Kerry O'Brien, a Texan Columnist, calls for the rallying of students in defense of queer students from discriminatory offical UT policies and professors. O'brien establishes the timeline for discriminatory practices at UT including documented quotes from UT board memeber denoucing same-sex couples.

O'brien's article is significant as it atests to the expansion of concern regarding same-sex discrimination on all levels to cis-straight groups as well. O'brien frames the UT policies as issues that concern all students regardless of sexual orientation. "All members of the University community should fight for the protection from discrimination that everyone deserves." 

Setting the Stage