Macquarie University
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The discursive construction of LGBTQ+ women in Australian HIV documents, 2014-2018

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posted on 2022-03-29, 00:41 authored by Katherine Smith
In the Australian HIV landscape, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, and queer (LGBTQ+) women have undertaken a number of roles: as HIV-positive citizens, carers, health professionals, and activists. However, Australia's epidemiological categories do not recognise 'female-to-female' sexual transmission of HIV. Instead, LGBTQ+ women are forced to occupy alternate categories of 'risk'. In light of their discursive invisibility, this thesis explores how LGBTQ+ women are constituted as particular kinds of subjects in The Seventh National HIV Strategy (2014-2017) and 2014-2017 publications of a Sydney-based LGBTQ+ women's magazine, Lesbians on the Loose (LOTL). Drawing on Carol Bacchi's poststructuralist model of policy analysis, entitled 'What is the Problem Represented to Be?', this thesis pursues an analysis of the 'problem' of HIV, its presuppositions, histories, and constitutive effects, in order to illuminate the complex, culturally contingent ways that LGBTQ+ women are rendered (un)intelligible in Australian HIV discourses. Finally, this thesis will focus on the (few) moments in LOTL where LGBTQ+ women are rendered 'at-risk' of contracting HIV. In doing so, it will begin to question how normative conceptions of 'risk' might be 'done', 'redone', and 'undone' in moments of discursive silence and from identities, desires, and practices that are otherwise 'unthinkable'.


Table of Contents

Introduction -- Chapter One: Literature Review -- Chapter Two: Methods -- Chapter Three: The Seventh National HIV Strategy -- Chapter Four: Lesbians on the Loose -- Chapter Five: An 'Abbreviated Genealogy' of LGBTQ+ Women's (Non)Risk of Contracting HIV -- Chapter Six: (Un)Doing Normative Assumptions of Risk -- Conclusion.


Bibliography: pages 66-89 Theoretical thesis.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty ofArts, Department of Media, Music, Culture and Communication Studies

Department, Centre or School

Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Nicole Matthews


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