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Judy Sisneros ACT UP/Los Angeles records

Identifier: Coll2016-008

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Scope and Contents

ACT UP/Los Angeles administrative records, promotional materials, ephemera, and subject files, 1985-1995, of Judy Sisneros. The records documents Sisneros' involvement with the Women's Committee, Prisoners with AIDS Committee, Agitating/Legal Committee, and ACT UP Network, as well as with ACT UP/Los Angeles fundraisers, campaigns, meetings, communications, direct actions, and "zaps," among other activities.


  • Creation: 1987-2022
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1990-1995


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to researchers. There are no access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the ONE Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives at USC Libraries as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Biographical / Historical

Judy Sisneros is an activist, photographer, and curator based in Los Angeles. She was a member of ACT UP/Los Angeles and was active on the Women's Committee, Prisoners with AIDS Committee, and Agitating/Legal Committee, among other work. Active from 1987 to 1995, ACT UP/Los Angeles defined itself as "a grass-roots, democratic, militant, direct-action organization dedicated to creating positive changes around AIDS in federal and local government, the media, and medical industries through non-violent public protests." ACT UP worked to broaden the Center for Disease Control definition of AIDS to include opportunistic infections specfic to HIV-positive women, to bring women into clinical drug trials, and to draw visibility to the increasing numbers of women with HIV/AIDS.

Sisneros later became a member of Queer Nation in Los Angeles and was involved in AB101 protests and the Hollywood Homophobia Committee. Sisneros was even arrested at a Queer Nation protest at the 1992 Academy Awards, protesting the negative representation and invisibility of LGBT people in films.

Sisneros was part of a national network of ACT UP women's caucus members that organized the National Dyke March at the 1993 March on Washington. In 1994, she co-founded the Los Angeles Dyke March and continued participating in the organizing committee until 1997. In 2005, she became a member of Tongues, the latina lesbian arts organization, and participated with the group in the 2006 Marcha Lesbica in Mexico City.


"Memes." Les Figues Press. (accessed May 10, 2016).

Signorile, Michelangeo. Queer in America. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 2003. pg311-12.


7.5 Linear Feet (6 boxes)

Language of Materials



ACT UP/Los Angeles administrative records, promotional materials, ephemera, and subject files, 1985-1995, of ACT UP/Los Angeles member Judy Sisneros. Includes documentation of Sisneros' committee work and activities in the ACT UP network. Sisneros is an activist, photographer, and curator based in Los Angeles.


This collection is arranged alphabetically.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Deed of gift, Judy Sisneros, March 2016.

Deed of gift, Judy Sisneros, March 2020.

Related Materials

ACT UP/Los Angeles Records, Coll2011-010, ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, California.

Separated Materials

Separated to the ONE Archives pamphlet and periodical collections:

Fat Farm by Max Airborne (Oakland, California)

Fat Girl: A zine for fat dykes and the women who want them - Volumes 1-7

Infected Faggot Perspectives - issues 1-15 [Sep 1991-1995

Separated to the ONE Archives T-shirt collection:

"WE'RE ACT UP. FUCK YOU!" Grey T-shirt with black stenciled text on front.

"1994 AIDS ACTIVIST CONFERENCE PHILADELPHIA" Black T-shirt with white text, grey circle in the background with a microscope or similar medical instrument in the foreground.

"WOMEN ACT UP! LOS ANGELES" Black T-shirt with grey text. Women symbol with pink triangle inset in the circle.

White T-shirt with black text. "LIFE" (over image of "Lamentation" by Giotto in yellow). Text below: "150000 U.S. AIDS deaths: one every seven minutes worldwide. "LIBERTY" (over image of "The Rape of the Sabine Women" by Giambologna in turquoise) Text below: " A woman is raped in the U.S. every eight minutes." "HAPPINESS" (over image of the Three Graces in Sandro Botticelli's "Primavera" in pink) Text below: "42 lesbians and gays are bashed each hour. ACT UP LOS ANGELES" (logo).

White T-shirt. "SAY IT!!" white text on black rectangle. "WOMEN GET AIDS" black text. "ACT UP" white text on black triangle. Text below: "AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power." On right T-shirt sleeve "ACT UP GOLDEN GATE" black text.

Black T-shirt. Outline of inverted triangle in bright pink underneath text. "MARCH ON WASHINGTON LA in DC 1993" white text.

Separated to the ONE Archives periodical collection (labels of topics listed in parentheses)

ACT UP Los Angeles newsletter: October 1988, September 1989, November/December 1988, March/April 1992, Fall 1992, November/December 1990, January February 1991, June/July 1991, June/July/August 1992, October/November 1990, December 1989/January 1990.

ACT UP Reports: Fall/Winter 1990 (women and AIDS activism), 1991.

ACTUP San Francisco: December/January, volume 2, number 5 (women and AIDS cover story).

Bay Area Reporter: December 26, 1991.

Gay Community News: December 9-15, 1990 (expanding AIDS definition).

The Lesbian News: volume 15, number 12, July 1990 (women and AIDS activism); volume 16, number 4, November 1990 (prisons and AIDS).

Update: August 29, 1990 (Miller beer boycott); January 15, 1992 (expanding AIDS definition).

Vanguard: May 18, 1990 (women topics); August 24, 1990 (women topics); October 5, 1990 (AIDS Walk, et al.); December 14, 1990 (expanding AIDS definition); March 8, 1991 (women topics); April 19, 1991 (march for LAPD reform, et al.); May 17, 1991 (prisons and AIDS); August 7, 1992 (women topics).

Processing Information

Collection processed by Claire Forsyth, 2016. Additional material processed by Beth McDonald, 2023.

Finding aid to the Judy Sisneros ACT UP/Los Angeles records,1987-2022
Claire Forsyth and Beth McDonald
© 2016, 2023
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.

Repository Details

Part of the ONE Archives at the USC Libraries, University of Southern California Repository

909 West Adams Boulevard
Los Angeles California 90007 United States
(213) 821-2771