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Stephen Gendin papers

 Collection
Call Number: MS 1963

Scope and Contents

This collection comprises the papers of HIV/AIDS activist and writer, Stephen Gendin. The materials document both Gendin's activism as well as his personal and family life, and include correspondence; photographs; writings; address and appointment books; student papers; notes; audio and video recordings; and electronic files. Many of the organizations with which Gendin was affiliated are represented in the collection, including the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP); the AIDS Prevention Action League (APAL); Community Prescription Service (CPS); POZ Magazine; and Sex Panic!

Dates

  • 1920s-2000

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

The materials in Series I and II are open for research. Electronic files, in Series III are closed until processed. Original audiovisual materials, as well as preservation and duplicating masters, may not be played. Researchers must consult use copies, or if none exist must pay for a use copy, which is retained by the repository. Researchers wishing to obtain an additional copy for their personal use should consult Copying Services information on the Manuscripts and Archives web site. Copies of commercially produced audiovisual materials contained in this collection cannot be made for researcher use outside of the repository.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright has been transferred to Yale University for non-sensitive unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator of this collection. Copyright is retained by the Donor for sensitive unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator of this collection. After the lifetime of the Donor or for twenty years from the date of receipt by the Library, whichever comes first, all copyright and other property rights that he may have in the sensitive unpublished materials are donated to the Yale University Library. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Kyle McDowell, 2010-2011.

Arrangement

The papers are arranged in three series: I. Personal papers. II. HIV/AIDS activism papers. III. Electronic files.

Extent

10 Linear Feet (31 boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

http://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/mssa.ms.1963

Overview

This collection comprises the papers of HIV/AIDS activist and writer, Stephen Gendin. The materials document both Gendin's activism as well as his personal and family life, and include correspondence; photographs; writings; address and appointment books; student papers; notes; audio and video recordings; and electronic files. Many of the organizations with which Gendin was affiliated are represented in the collection, including the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP); the AIDS Prevention Action League (APAL); Community Prescription Service (CPS); POZ Magazine; and Sex Panic!.

Biographical / Historical

Stephen Gendin, a prominent HIV/AIDS activist and writer, was born on February 20, 1966, and raised in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Growing up, Gendin was a straight-A student and was very active with the Boy Scouts of America, earning the distinction of National Explorer Scout of the Year as a teenager. He graduated as valedictorian of Ypsilanti High School in 1984, and attended college at Brown University.

During his freshman year at Brown, Gendin tested positive for HIV, which sparked his lifelong commitment to HIV/AIDS activism. He was an early member of the direct action advocacy group, AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP), founded in New York in 1987. Gendin served on ACT UP/New York’s fundraising committee, and founded ACT UP/Rhode Island that same year. As a member of ACT UP, Gendin took part in a number of demonstrations and civil disobedience actions, and was arrested several times. Also in 1987, Gendin was selected as the youngest member of the executive committee of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. In 1989, Gendin established ACT UP’s Treatment and Data Digest, a pioneering newsletter designed to disseminate information on HIV/AIDS medications and treatments. That same year, Gendin completed a bachelor’s degree in religious studies at Brown. He later completed two years toward a master’s degree at the Union Theological Seminary.

During the 1990s, after a second large wave of HIV/AIDS infections impacted gay men, Gendin co-founded two advocacy organizations: the AIDS Prevention Action League (APAL), and Sex Panic!. These groups were formed largely in reaction to both mainstream political efforts and arguments within the gay community that promoted monogamy, the closing of sex clubs, and the demonization of public sex culture and promiscuity as the best ways to prevent HIV/AIDS. In contrast, these groups argued for the promotion of safe sex practices to prevent infection and against the shaming and marginalization of sexual practices that some considered deviant. During this time he also co-founded the Community Prescription Service, a mail-order business that sold FDA-approved prescription drugs to treat HIV/AIDS, in addition to disseminating information on new and upcoming treatments through newsletters and community forums.

Stephen Gendin achieved perhaps his greatest notoriety during the 1990s as a columnist for POZ Magazine, a publication devoted to documenting the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the lives of people affected by it. In his columns, Gendin wrote candidly about the struggles and indignities of living with and treating HIV and AIDS, and occasionally stirred controversy. Among Gendin’s most infamous columns were one in which he discussed his conflicted feelings about knowingly engaging in unprotected sex after having been infected with HIV, and another in which he fantasized about assassinating US Senator Jesse Helms.

Throughout his adult life, Gendin tried various treatments and medications for HIV/AIDS as soon as they became available, but eventually the particular strain of the virus that had infected him became resistant to all medications. Stephen Gendin died of complications due to AIDS-related lymphoma on July 19, 2000.
Title
Guide to the Stephen Gendin Papers
Status
Completed
Author
compiled by Matthew Gorham
Date
September 2013
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Contact:
Yale University Library
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Sterling Memorial Library
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