The discursive construction of LGBTQ+ women in Australian HIV documents, 2014-2018
thesisposted on 29.03.2022, 00:41 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'.