Pandemics Then and Now

Last month I received a donation appeal from the ONE Archives Foundation, an adjunct to the ONE Archives at the USC Libraries. The Archives is an invaluable treasure house of LGBT+ history. But like all such institutions it has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff have been furloughed even as the Archives “received two grants supporting new team members,” according to the appeal. Brutal irony.

Irony was not lost on the Foundation’s executive director Jennifer C. Gregg when she included a glossy insert in the appeal, titled The Queer Community Acts Up.1 It’s the reproduction of a panel that hangs in her home office.

ONE Archives ACT UP Panel

The images on the panel were photographed by Chuck Stallard, who documented ACT UP/LA’s activities in the mid 1980s, in which Bachelors Rob and I participated as part of the organization’s artists auxiliary, which went by various names.2 You’ll see such events listed in our Timeline

Just as ACT UP demanded a dignified response to AIDS in the ’80s, we in the 2020s can insist on a comprehensive response to COVID-19—beginning with universal, single-payer health care. Sweden had a terrible public health response to the pandemic, but at least those who contracted the virus didn’t face bankruptcy from a hospital stay.


As one who has used the ONE Archives in person I can attest to its riches.3 I urge you to browse the ONE Archives Foundation website as well as the Archives website itself. I mean, who could resist an exhibition of paintings titled Foucault on Acid?

Traipse the Queer Terrains Map (I happen to have a copy of the first stop, Joey Terrill’s Homeboy Beautiful magazine).

Inspect the Archives’ inventory of holdings.

And linger with the images at the ONE Archives space in the USC Digital Library.


The ONE Archives are asking for $150,000 by the end of the year. If after browsing you feel like giving, please do so here.

  1. See “Querying the Q-word” for my discussion of the problems associated with the adoption of the term queer.
  2. See the second page in the program for AIDS Crisis Anthology for the various names.
  3. The Archives are closed, but it can be worth an email for an answer to a query.

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