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Deborah Gould was interviewed by Gary Kinsman in February 2009.Gary Kinsman was involved in the Perhaps we can start with your activism.In our case, we strongly identified as queers in the LGBT sense of the term and in the anti-normative sense too, but our political desires, while informed by being queer, encompassed sexual liberation and a lot more.That kind of messiness seems to be lost on those who criticize identity politics.How are attitudes about what is politically possible or desirable generated, reproduced over time and sometimes transformed, and with what sorts of political effects? It was never inevitable that lesbians, gay men, and other sexual and gender outlaws would become politically active in the face of AIDS.So, why did they turn toward activism rather than disassociating from the crisis altogether?Feel Tank’s “Parades of the Politically Depressed” have been attempts to collectivize and politicize our bad feelings and to plumb the political potential of a camaraderie based on political depression.Can you tell us about your new book, is a history of AIDS activism in the US – with a special focus on ACT UP – and an exploration of the affective stimuli and blockages to political activism.

One of our projects was a broadside “It’s Time To End The Gay Rights Movement As We Know It” (published in Spring 1997; available at It was utterly compelling to me politically, sexually, intellectually, emotionally, imaginatively.I wasn’t consciously aware of this at the time, but in retrospect I think what kept me there, in addition to fighting AIDS, was that ACT UP felt to me like a place where I could learn and grow, become politicized and radicalized, and try out new ways of thinking, feeling, and being in the world with a bunch of really exciting people.Gay activism at that time seemed to be absorbed in lobbying, endorsing candidates and electoral politics, and none of us were moved by any of that.Queer to the Left provided a route for other sorts of queer political desires.

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