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J Homosex. 1997;34(2):1-35.

Harbinger of plague: a bad case of gay bowel syndrome.

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  • 1Ohio State University, USA.


In 1976, a group of physicians in private proctologic practice in New York City coined the illness "Gay Bowel Syndrome" in reference to a constellation of gay male anorectal disorders. Through analysis of biomedical discourse and popular media, it is apparent that Gay Bowel Syndrome is an essentialized category of difference that is neither gay-specific, confined to the bowel, nor a syndrome. The use and diagnosis of Gay Bowel Syndrome must be abandoned before it further lends itself to the formation of social policies and governing practices that seek to force gay male bodies into positions of social, cultural, and political subordination.

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