One of the main reasons I got so interested in Gender Studies is because of my Uncle David. In 1990, at 30 years old, my uncle died from AIDS. I’m named after him (my middle name is David) and I am proud of having him as my uncle. Once I first started learning about AIDS, I was simultaneously understanding that my uncle was a gay man. Sexology was a very important aspect of the AIDS crisis that began in the 1980’s. In Janice M. Irvine’s Disorders of Desire, Irvine says, “…the AIDS crisis starkly delineated the ways in which ideology informs issues of sexuality, science, and medicine. First identified in the urban gay male subculture in the United States, the disease was virtually ignored by medical and governmental establishments, who saw it as affecting only marginalize groups…” (Irvine 124). The AIDS crisis became an event that will forever stigmatize gay people and fuel the fire of fear and rejection in homosexuality within our culture.

See asshole above.

Irvine also says, “…the AIDS epidemic represented a perfect opportunity for sexologists to consolidate professional expertise” (Irvine 125). Because the AIDS crisis was so fast developing, research on the disease and preventions against it became a huge issue for social conflict. Irvine even says that “AIDS had afflicted one hundred thousand people by the summer of 1989;of that number, half had died” (Irvine 124). My uncle soon followed that statistic. He was a proud gay man, and was living within the negative associations made between gay men and AIDS. The specificity of this disease should not warrant any further stigmatization against homosexuals within our culture. Hopefully one day AIDS will be cured and no longer seen as a strictly “gay disease.” Until then, no gay man, including my uncle, should ever feel shame.

– Sophie Reynolds

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