Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2017-11-15
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

AIDS: 'Patient Zero' discussed at history association panel
by Erica Demarest, Windy City Times
2012-01-18

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


A panel of historians set to work deconstructing the "Patient Zero" myth Jan. 7, as the American Historical Association ( AHA ) 's Committee on LGBT History convened at the Chicago Marriott Downtown, 540 N. Michigan Ave.

"In 2011, we marked the 30th anniversary of the beginning of the HIV/AIDS pandemic," said Ian Lekus of Harvard University. "To be precise, it was the anniversary of the June '81 epidemiological reports. The origins of HIV are far murkier. Where did the virus originate? How long did it manifest in gay men and other people infected in the United States before it became clear there was a crisis?"

In his 1987 book And the Band Played On, journalist Randy Shilts identified gay Canadian flight attendant Gaétan Dugas as "Patient Zero," or the man who may have brought AIDS to North America. While myriad medical officials have since debunked Shilts' hypothesis, it nonetheless managed to captivate the American public.

In his paper "'Patient Zero' and the 'Recalcitrant' Queer," Philadelphia University's Phil Tiemeyer outlined how Dugas was used as a catalyst for anti-gay legislation and quarantine efforts in the 1980s and 1990s.

"Randy Shilts's narrative may not have led directly to [ anti-gay ] laws," Tiemeyer said, "but it did tighten the perceived link between AIDS and queer sexual depravity, thereby allowing such legal changes to occur more easily."

Tiemeyer argued that the origin myth's arrival some six years after AIDS was 'discovered' was uniquely suited to aid conservative agendas.

"Gaëtan seemingly proved that men who engage in anal sex and cavort in bathhouses invite plague-like diseases on themselves and the rest of society," Tiemeyer said. "For the world to make this sensational myth about the origin of AIDS in America… demonstrates more than anything else society's revulsion with gays post-Stonewall sexual freedom."

Richard McKay from King's College London used his paper "Communicative Contacts: Randy Shilts, Gaétan Dugas, and the Construction of the 'Patient Zero' Myth" to examine Shilts's reporting tactics.

McKay argued that Shilts circumvented patient confidentiality laws and misused personal stories to construct a largely biased characterization of Dugas.

"Shilts' dark characterization of Dugas drew its intensity from — and indeed combined with — the journalist's intention to cast the disease itself as a character in his history," McKay wrote.

David Palmer from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill also presented a paper titled "AIDS, the Religious Right, and Gay Sex in Late 1980s North Carolina." He illustrated how gay press and local conservative figures helped shape a nuanced region-specific response to the pandemic, challenging the popular notion that the Religious Right had presented one unified, monolithic reaction.

"AIDS is a national, indeed global, issue, but…. it is also an epidemic rooted in local concerns and political considerations," Palmer said. "Responses to AIDS took shape in concert to a host of locally drawn political concerns."

Chet DeFonso of Northern Michigan University emceed the panel, and Lekus closed with a call for more AIDS-related investigations.

"Scholarship on the pandemic is one of the most exciting emerging fields in U.S. history," Lekus said. "This growing body of work is overturning all the ways that we thought we knew the historical narrative in the 1980s and first half of the 1990s."


facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Jussie Smollett's film, 90 DAYS commemorates World AIDS Day with Harle event 2017-11-18
'Sound of Music,' AIDS movie at Music Box Theatre 2017-11-18
New HIV reporting scholarship launches 2017-11-15
ALMA recognizes recent award winners 2017-11-14
Change Over Time Journal calls for LGBTQ papers 2017-11-14
HIV/AIDS advocates: AmfAR chair Kenneth Cole should resign 2017-11-14
Reyna Ortiz book release highlights Vives Q event 2017-11-10
Elton John AIDS Foundation's gala celebrates 25 years, honors founder 2017-11-10
Hall of Fame induction strikes joyous notes 2017-11-09
DIFFA/Chicago World AIDS Day Street Fest at Center Nov. 30 2017-11-08
LGBT Hall of Fame inductees to be honored Nov. 8 2017-11-08
ALMA honorary event Nov. 9 2017-11-08
Professor/writer Danny Cohen featured at Holocaust museum event 2017-11-08
Cleve Jones speaks on preserving LGBT-neighborhoods, politics 2017-11-07
Black Treatment Advocate Network Chicago hosts open house 2017-11-01
Leather spot Touche marking 40th year 2017-11-01
Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame inductees to be honored Nov. 8 2017-11-01
Looking back: LGBTQ History Month's canon 2017-11-01
Brown Elephant's 'Best of' Nov. 4-5 2017-11-01
LGBT legal event with ACLU's Strangio Nov. 7 2017-10-31
Cleve Jones event Nov. 6 at Sidetrack 2017-10-31
Brick by Brick event to celebrate saving and growing LGBTQ history 2017-10-27
Reports: Trump opioid response may imperil HIV/AIDS dollars 2017-10-26
Brown Elephant's 'Best of' Nov. 4-5 2017-10-25
LGBT HISTORY MONTH Behind the lens: Photojournalist Kay Lahusen 2017-10-24
John D'Emilio lectures on LGBTQ history 2017-10-22
Broadway Holiday Benefit for Chicago House, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids 2017-10-19
LGBT HISTORY MONTH Cong. John Lewis on LGBT equality, social justice 2017-10-18
Caring by Sharing concert, AIDS Day event at Ebenezer Dec. 1 2017-10-18
American Brotherhood Weekend names titleholders, presents $900 to Vital Bridges 2017-10-13
National Park Service withdraws sponsorship of Stonewall rainbow flag dedication 2017-10-13
THE AMAZON TRAIL Happy hours 2017-10-11
Legacy Walk dedication Oct. 15 2017-10-11
LGBT HISTORY MONTH Phyllis Lyon, Del Martin paved way for lesbians 2017-10-11
Affinity to host "Our Stories, Our Voices" on coming out day 2017-10-07
CA Gov Signs Bill Modernizing state HIV Laws 2017-10-07
Rainbow flag to fly permanently at Stonewall National Monument 2017-10-07
Exhibit explores city's dyke nightspots 2017-10-04
LGBT HISTORY MONTH The musical 'Gypsy' is LGBT history? 2017-10-03
Thousands take part in AIDS Run & Walk 2017-10-02
 



Copyright © 2017 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Submit an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.