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 2015-07-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


  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

50th Anniversary of the Annual Reminders pickets celebrated at Independence Hall 2015-07-04
National politics debated during Philadelphia celebrations 2015-07-02
Wreath laying honors gay pioneers in Philadelphia 2015-07-02
National LGBT 50th-anniv. event in Philly July 2-5 2015-07-01
Forty years ago: Chicago's 1975 marriage protest 2015-07-01
Barbara Gittings: Gay Pioneer 2015-06-24
VIEWS Why celebrate LGBT 50th anniversary at Independence Hall? 2015-06-23
Kameny to be inducted into Department of Labor Hall of Honor 2015-06-23
PrEP advocates respond to AHF ads 2015-06-21
Chicago's Henry Gerber House designated National Historic Landmark 2015-06-19
PEW Center makes $300,000 grant for LGBT 50th Anniversary documentary 2015-06-17
National LGBT 50th-anniv. event in Philly July 2-5 2015-06-16
Engineer Jill Tietjen on recording women's history 2015-06-16
Zachary Quinto Joins Foundation for a National AIDS Monument Board 2015-06-12
Free HIV testing June 14 2015-06-12
National LGBT 50th Celebration in Philly 2015-06-08
'Pink Triangle' event remembers queer Holocaust victims 2015-06-06
Event raises funds for Legacy Project 2015-06-04
Open Door to hold Grand Opening of Elgin Health Center 2015-06-04
Study to look at quality of life for older, rural HIV-positive adults 2015-06-04
Chicago House, Center on Halsted deny merger talks 2015-06-03
Harmony, AFC bring awareness to testing, treatment, holistic health needs 2015-06-03
TRAVEL Los Angeles' queer history: Living the legacy 2015-06-03
LGBT homelessness training; Bilingual trans history; Black lesbian history survey 2015-06-03
Daylong summit to focus on long-term HIV/AIDS survivors 2015-05-31
'Pink Triangle' event at Center on June 3 2015-05-27
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
 



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

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.