Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2015-05-20
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

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

ML 2015 Leather museum formally welcomes Hellfire Club history 2015-05-24
US Postal Service called to honor Bayard Rustin with stamp 2015-05-22
Longtime gay activist William B. Kelley dies 2015-05-20
Missouri HIV case gets national attention 2015-05-20
Gay HIV-positive singer lives life out loud 2015-05-20
AFC marks thirty years of action 2015-05-17
Black gay man found guilty by Missouri jury of "recklessly infecting" 2015-05-15
LGBT veterans to be honored with monument in national cemetery 2015-05-13
Health news: HIV/AIDS column; HIV/AIDS Response Act; HBHC seeks boardmembers 2015-05-13
MARK MY WORDS Most important LGBT history column you'll ever read 2015-05-13
HIV guide targets high numbers of new infections 2015-05-07
Gay Vietnam hero tells his tale 2015-05-06
SENIOR MOMENTS The Great Jimmy-Jam Rebellion of 2015 2015-05-06
UIC preserves queer Asian-American archives 2015-05-05
Spring brunch gets in 'Vogue' 2015-05-04
Bill to reduce HIV testing barriers advances 2015-05-01
Walter Naegle keynotes Bayard Rustin event 2015-04-29
Panel addresses Bayard Rustin's life and legacy 2015-04-28
StoryCorps founder to lead LGBTQ discussion at the CHM May 7 2015-04-27
Sidetrack event aids Cubans 2015-04-26
Chicago Dragons record biggest win in team history 2015-04-26
World news: Turing notebook; South African runner; Malawi law 2015-04-22
Chicago Red Dress Party readdresses HIV/AIDS awareness 2015-04-21
AFC: Rauner gets failing grades on HIV/AIDS issues 2015-04-20
Bayard Rustin event April 25 2015-04-19
Exhibit shows history of UChicago LGBTQ life 2015-04-14
Monthly 'Positive Thoughts' HIV/AIDS column launched 2015-04-14
Top student-historians to compete in Chicago Metro History Fair 2015-04-13
National Politics Panel with LGBT leaders at historic Congress Hall, Philadelphia 2015-04-13
Survey seeks input on Chicago African American lesbian history 2015-04-13
HIV/AIDS advocates ready for budget fight 2015-04-12
AFC hosts first-ever virtual advocacy day 2015-04-08
AFC forum at Center to deal with Rauner budget 2015-03-31
Office of Nat'l AIDS Policy hosts HIV/AIDS Strategy Regional Forums 2015-03-28
HIV advocates hail Coventry Health Plan improvement to drug access 2015-03-27
Lambda, packaging company: HIV-positive employee posed no safety risk 2015-03-26
Larry Kramer honored by Gay Men's Health Crisis 2015-03-25
Red Pump Project throws fashion show 2015-03-24
Gilead Sciences awards AIDS Foundation of Chicago $100,000 2015-03-23
Study: Most children with HIV, low immune cells, rebound after treatment 2015-03-23
 



Copyright © 2015 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
Sponsor
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      Post 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.