Queering Epidemiology

Authored by: Gerry Kearns

The Routledge Research Companion to Geographies of Sex and Sexualities

Print publication date:  May  2016
Online publication date:  May  2016

Print ISBN: 9781472455482
eBook ISBN: 9781315613000
Adobe ISBN: 9781317043331


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Ecofeminism (Silvey, 1998) and queer ecology (Gandy, 2012) highlight relations among gender, sexuality and nature. The agenda of ‘queering ecology … opening up … environmental understanding to explicitly non-heterosexual forms of relationship, experience, and imagination as a way of transforming entrenched sexual and natural practices towards … queer … ends’ (Mortimer-Sandilands and Erickson, 2010, p. 30), resonates within medical geography and epidemiology. This chapter shows how we might track the effects of entrenched homophobia within the geographical framing of disease by examining one important set of epidemiological writings: those in which AIDS was first registered as a new mortality. I show how homophobic stereotypes shaped scientific writings, and how, in related but different ways, they pervaded the public geographies of AIDS circulating in the mass media. Finally, I will show how activists tried to undo the murderous homophobia of AIDS discourses, building understandings of HIV vulnerability that were accepting of sexual diversity, and effectively queering epidemiology.

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