Send to

Choose Destination
J Bioeth Inq. 2012 Sep;9(3):261-75. doi: 10.1007/s11673-012-9382-y. Epub 2012 Jul 18.

The painful reunion : the remedicalization of homosexuality and the rise of the queer.

Author information

Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.


This article considers the late 19th-century medical invention of the category of the homosexual in relation to homosexuality's moment of deliverance from medicine in the 1970s, when it was removed as a category of mental aberration in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). With the rise of the AIDS pandemic in gay communities in the early 1980s, I argue that homosexuals were forcibly returned to the medical sphere, a process I call "the painful reunion." Reading a collection of queer narratives across the 20th century, I show that historical and contemporaneous medical events prompted the mobilization of seropositive and queer artists at century's end to rehabilitate, revise, and offend the historiography of queer illness. Collectively, my conclusions redefine our understandings of queer theory and queer politics as distinctively 1990s projects invested in the present to ones that purposefully aim to challenge the past.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center