The Hiv / Aids Epidemic Essay

The Hiv / Aids Epidemic Essay

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The HIV/AIDS epidemic was a time of turmoil for the LGBT+ community due to the high transmission risk of HIV/AIDS between homosexuals (Richardson 5). Tension ran high within the community, as different groups experienced different amounts of discrimination for their transmission risk. In particular, scholars found that “tensions between lesbian and bisexual women was much more problematic than tensions between gay and bisexual men” (Udis-Kessler 46). Despite the similarities of lesbian and bisexual women as non-heterosexual women, the two groups are politically divided instead of united. What discrimination, if any, did bisexual women receive from lesbian women as a result of the 1981 HIV/AIDS epidemic? What were the socio-political impacts of this discrimination on bisexual and lesbian movements? The dynamics between lesbian and bisexual women were a complex amalgam of issues of sexual identity and feminism. This research aims to make arguments by making connections between existing literature, and focus on the tensions between North American women from the early 1980s to early 1990s. There were three effects of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on lesbian-bisexual relations: lesbian women blamed bisexual women for bringing HIV/AIDS into their community, lesbians rejected bisexual women from feminist groups, and lesbians became very prejudiced against bisexual women and bisexual identity.
Sexual identity is fluid and often hard to define; for the purposes of this essay, lesbians are women who are interested in women exclusively and bisexual women are women who are interested in both women and men. These two sexual identities are extremely similar but translate to vastly different experiences. Lesbians are the more prominent group in the LGBT...


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...the media. However, I can happily conclude that the greatest irony of the HIV/AIDS epidemic is that it gave the bisexual community the visibility and community that it lacked. HIV/AIDS brought bisexuality to the forefront of public discourse, and as a result it led to the widespread recognition of bisexuality as an actual sexual identity. The injustice in the scapegoating spurred bisexual women and men alike into political action. In fact, it is precisely in the 1980s that bisexual women started creating bisexual support groups that were inclusive of all women. The women that were excluded from lesbian and feminist efforts gained the skills required to create national bisexual movements starting in Boston and Seattle (Hutchins 244). The HIV/AIDS epidemic was a curse, but it was also a catalyst for the creation of a greater and stronger community for bisexual women.

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