Carl Goodman, ACT UP Co-Founder, Dead at 58

ACT UP veteran and co-founder Carl Goodman has died at 58, jumping from the Mount Hope Bridge in Bristol, Rhode Island on January 5. He is survived by his husband, Mario Cavero.

Goodman’s friend Michael Petrelis, an AIDS activist who now lives in San Francisco, said he was with Goodman in March 1987 at the famous talk by Larry Kramer at New York’s LGBT Community Center that led to the founding of ACT UP. Goodman, he said, was part of many of the group’s early actions as well as a member of the Treatment + Data Committee.

Portland, Oregon activist Wayne Harris told the Providence Journal that he met Goodman in 1988 when Carl was the office manager of the campaign to fight an anti-gay ballot initiative there. “Gregarious, positive, outgoing, generous” was how Harris described him –– and the way this reporter remembers him from his New York days. Goodman fought unsuccessfully with the editor of the Portland Oregonian to do stories on the state department of health’s promotion of condom use to fight HIV transmission.

Goodman confronted Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton when he was running for president in 1992, demanding that he denounce his state’s anti-sodomy law, which he persuaded Clinton to do in their encounter in Little Rock.

“The national leadership thought those kinds of pressure tactics were inappropriate,” Harris told the Providence Journal. “Carl ignored them.”

Professionally, Goodman was a paralegal and consultant who did business development and training for lawyers. While he lived in New York for many years, he was hounded from his rent-stabilized apartment along with other tenants there by a landlord invoking a law that allowed him to take over the spaces for his own use.