Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics Plus

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Queering the Matrix? Language and Identity Troubles in HIV/AIDS Contexts

TM Milani


The aim of the present paper is to take a queer approach to language and HIV/AIDS discourse, one which problematizes the notions of sexual identity and group categories, and instead calls for a foregrounding of (sexual) practices and desires. In support of this argument, I will examine two very different examples of patient-doctor interaction. One is a fictional verbal exchange taken from the TV miniseries Angels in America, in which one of the main characters, the lawyer Roy Cohn, is diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. The other one is a personal experience in a state-financed medical practice in Stockholm, Sweden, where the symptoms of tonsillitis became re-interpreted by the doctor as manifestations of HIV/AIDS infection as soon as I disclosed that I was dating a man.

Keywords: Angels in America, Healthcare, Identity, Queer Theory, Sexuality
AJOL African Journals Online