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Michael Anthony Petrelis (born January 26, 1959) is an American AIDS activist, LGBTQ rights activist, and blogger. He was diagnosed with Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in 1985 in New York City, New York. As a member of the Lavender Hill Mob, a forerunner to the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP), he was among the first AIDS activists to protest responses to the disease. He was a co-founding member of ACT UP in New York City, New York, and later helped organize ACT UP chapters in Portland, Oregon, Washington, D.C., and New Hampshire, as well as the ACT UP Presidential Project. Petrelis was also a founding member of Queer Nation/National Capital, the Washington D.C. chapter of the militant LGBTQ rights organization.
In 1990, he organized a nationwide boycott of products manufactured by Philip Morris Companies, Inc. (now Altria Group, Inc.), including Marlboro cigarettes and Miller beer, to protest the company's support for Jesse Helms, a Republican senator from North Carolina whose rhetoric and policy positions Petrelis said were harmful to LGBTQ communities. Petrelis was among several activists who disclosed, in 1989, that Mark Hatfield, a Republican senator from Oregon who supported anti-gay legislation, was secretly gay, the first such political outing of an elected official by American activists. Over the next few years, Petrelis became an outspoken proponent of outing and one of its most prominent practitioners; at a 1990 press conference on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, he outed a dozen public figures, although no news outlets published the names, and he played a pivotal role in the 1991 outing of Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Pete Williams by writer Michelangelo Signorile in The Advocate, an American LGBT-interest magazine.
When Terry M. Helvey and an accomplice murdered Helvey's shipmate, U.S. Navy Seaman Allen R. Schindler, Jr. in October 1992, because Schindler was gay, Petrelis traveled twice to Japan to press the Navy for justice on Schindler's behalf and to monitor the trial, while raising awareness of the hate crime in the U.S.
After relocating to San Francisco, California, in 1995, Petrelis successfully lobbied the city's Department of Public Health (SFDPH) to make the female condom available to gay men, and advocated reopening the gay bathhouses there. He also founded the AIDS Accountability Project, a watchdog organization that obtained IRS tax forms 990 from nonprofit AIDS service organizations, then published the financial information disclosed therein online. He currently lives with his partner of eighteen years, Mike Merrigan, and writes a blog called The Petrelis Files. On April 5, 2014, Petrelis announced his candidacy for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, running against incumbent Scott Wiener for the District 8 seat, representing the Castro, Noe Valley, Diamond Heights, and Glen Park neighborhoods of San Francisco.
In January 1999, Out magazine included Petrelis in the Out 100, recognizing him, for creating the AIDS Accountability Project, as one of the "people who defined 1998". In August 1999, The Advocate named Petrelis among its "Best and Brightest Activists" citing the AIDS Accountability Project and other controversial causes.

Source: Wikipedia


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