From HIV to SARS to COVID-19 and now MPX, we find ourselves simultaneously in the midst of viral pandemics and widening sociopolitical polarization. In each pandemic, we grow anxious with our bodies and suspicious of others’. The tools that are meant to help us, be they condoms, masks, or other prophylactics, are received as instruments of prevention and/or control.
Using AIDS activism as a case study, this panel of AIDS activists and scholars argue that bodies are sites of pleasure, joy, and collective care even in the deadliest of plagues. At a time when people of color, queer, and trans bodies are policed because of suspicion of contagion, our bodily autonomy has been key to our defiance as well as community and movement building.
Come join us for a reading and discussion about what AIDS activism can teach us about the current and future pandemics.
Dr. Jih-Fei Cheng is an associate professor and the chair of the Department of Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Scripps College and the Co-Editor of AIDS and the Distribution of Crisis
Keiko Lane is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She's a Contributor, Between Certain Death and a Possible Future: Queer Writing on Growing Up with the AIDS Crisis and the Author of Blood Loss: A Love Story of AIDS, Activism, and Art (forthcoming) - website: www.keikolanemft.com
Eric C. Wat is the author of Love Your Asian Body: AIDS Activism in Los Angeles, and the novel SWIM, about a gay Asian American man and a meth user who has to stay sober while planning his mother's funeral. Website: www.ericwatbooks.com