Wrapping it up…

‘Queerness, then, is not an identity, but a position or stance. We can use “queer” as a verb instead of a noun. Queer is not someone or something to be treated. Queer is something we can do. The black woman is the original Other, the figure against which white women’s sexuality is defined..to be silent is, yes, unexpected in a world of stereotype. However, silence merely stifles [us]. Silence does not change the status quo.’

            – [1] Kimberly Springer, “Queering Black Female Heterosexuality”

It has been an exciting and insightful semester in From Archives to iPads: Investigating the Discourse on Sexuality at Emory. We have all exposed and engrossed ourselves in a world of sexuality. We have investigated Emory’s history as we leafed through old yearbooks and Emory Reports/Wheels. We have investigated sexuality in relationships, the sexual desires within us, sexually transmitted diseases, and sexual assault.

What we have done most this semester however, is talked. We have communicated our views and stands on sexually related issues and heard each other’s opinions about matters that affect us all. We have also learned how to keep silent. Silence is powerful- overriding communication, in my opinion. Our silence can denote our respect others opinions and our restraint to object however, this can also translate to our lack of concern. It can have detrimental effects, as we have seen with individuals failing to express their sexual preference, individuals failing to communicate medical conditions, and the inability to say ‘no’ and combat rape.

To finish off the semester, we have read an article by Kimberly Springer. In “Queering Black Female Heterosexuality,” she discusses the stereotypes of the black female and how pop culture views them- ‘hoes with silicone breasts and butts that jiggle and quake’. She also goes into great detail of the difficulties surrounding black women to profess their pleasures in sex without being viewed as “too fast” and a “jezebel” to society.

Public assumptions about black female sexuality cause insecurities within these woman and young women entering this group. ‘Perhaps, if we do not speak about black woman and sex, the whole issue will go away.’ Why can’t these women profess their sexual preferences and stand strong to their confessions without adopting negative stigmas by others?

This issue also can resonate with everyone and all communities. How easy is it to keep silent in these situations? Why has it become the norm for us as a society to create these stigmas of black females, heterosexuals, gay, and queer individuals? Why do we target black females as being sex icons?

Does this vision of black females victimize them sexually? When we think of rape and how it occurs, when one person fails to communicate and unwilling has sex, does this unwillingness to project themselves another form of sexual violence?

Silence and communication is essential to sexuality. What we fail is our ability to act one way or another. We should be able to profess openly about our sexual preferences and pleasures without receiving any negative push back from others; black females ultimately desire this. We should also learn how to tame ourselves and learn how to keep silent so that we can listen to each other’s needs and wants and prevent sexual assault. Silence will not change the status quo but it will defiantly feed it further unless we gather the courage to speak up and communicate our fight against sexual victimization and assault- it begins with NO!


[1] Springer, Kimberly. Yes Means Yes. Chapter 6: “Queering Black Female Heterosexuality” 77-91. California. Seal Press, 2008.

Legislation and HIV AIDS

Emory Report: June 8, 2009

How does our legislation affect an epidemic such as HIV AIDS? Do our voice and votes count towards the spread of this disease or is elimination? I found an interesting article in the Emory Report from 2009 that opened up these questions and further explained how gay marriage bans are linked to the rise in HIV.

Still a hot topic today as in 2009 is the legislative right for gay marriage. [1] Gay marriage has indeed made great strides and as of early November 2012 a total of nine states have approved same sex marriage. Federal law still does not recognize same sex marriage however; steps are being taken to recognize gay marriage. So how can we link marriage to HIV? This article in the Emory Report proposed [2] “A constitutional ban on gay marriage raises the [transmission] rate by four cases per 100,000 people.” So, if the data is clear in that same sex marriage leads to fewer cases of HIV then why won’t legislation make greater strides to grant marriage to gay couples? Understandably, this would mean radical changes to the constitution and it will open up doors for other groups that want change and further still; the deconstruction and reconstruction of our government and nation. How would this tweak in the constitution affect us in the long run?

These economists from Emory have found data that link an epidemic to law making and economics. In what other ways does HIV affect our lives? If we look at condom purchases since the epidemic broke in the United States in 1981, I am sure that we will find a significant increase in the total number of condoms bought. Not only do condoms bring in money to our economy but so do lubrication, and sex toys (for those of us who would rather play it safe). There is huge research being done for better condoms and sex toys for more protection and pleasure. HIV has the potential to improve our economy in these ways. Does federal legislation hold back on change for these reasons? Or as I mentioned before, is it more a matter of what is to come if the constitution is altered?

If legislation does decide to grant same sex marriage in all states and federally then, will the number of cases of HIV go down? Will we begin to see an end to this epidemic if couples become less promiscuous and commit to marriage? With regular doctor visits and safe sex practices is this all we need to accomplish to see an end to AIDS? For the individuals affected with HIV through drug use, what can we do to eliminate AIDS in this way? Significant research is being done here at Emory and around the world to find the cure that can once and for all end AIDS but until then, will measures such as same sex marriage and safe sex practices better protect the population from AIDS?

[2] “Intolerance is deadly. Bans on gay marriage codify intolerance, causing more                    gay people to shift to underground sexual behaviors that carry more risk.”



[1] “Nov. 8 2012: States.” Freedomtomarry.org. Freedomtomarry, 2003. Web. 19 Nov. 2012.

[2] Carol Clark. “Gay marriage bans lined to rise in HIV.” Emory Report 8 June, 2009. Print.

Student accused of spreading HIV

Emory Wheel- September 6, 2005

November 2004, former Emory medical student, Gary Wayne Carriker was arrested on three felonies including civil litigation suits. He did not rob a bank, commit arson, nor committed homicide. He was arrested because he failed to communicate and inform his sexual partners that he was HIV positive.

Carriker attended Emory’s School of Medicine from 2000 to 2004 and he appeared to be [1]“someone you can trust.” Fulton County arrested Carriker in 2004 based on the Georgia Law that states that all HIV-positive individuals must informs sexual partners of their medical condition.

This article from the Emory Wheel not only caught my attention by its headline, but because Carriker was an intelligent individual, an EMORY individual whom should have know the severity of his condition and should have acted in a more responsible manner. Shouldn’t an Emory student be even more responsible and trustworthy because he/she attends one of the best schools in the country? Should he be charged on harsher grounds? What does his case say about Emory students overall? Did Emory lose some of its prestige with this trial? Also, if we assume that he was going to Medical student to be a doctor, does his trial have negative effects on other professionals in the field? Can we trust them as well?

Whether Carrikers acts may be morally right or wrong he obviously did not feel the need to communicate this to his sexual partners beforehand. The question is why? Explaining this article to a male friend, I asked him whether he would act similarly to Carriker. Surprisingly enough he told me, “Yes, I wouldn’t feel the need to communicate my medical condition to sexual partners if they were just one night stands because I probably wouldn’t ever see them again.” Did Carriker have similar views to this and thus the reason why he kept his silence? If this is true then why even tell them at all?

Do heterosexual males deserve to be punished in this way? As Reverend Falwell says [2]“AIDS is a lethal judgment of God on the sin of homosexuality and it is also the judgment of God on the Americans for endorsing this vulgar, perverted, and reprobate lifestyle. He is bringing judgment against this wicked practice through AIDS (Allen, 123).”

Whatever the case may be, we can see that AIDS is not only spread by those who are uninformed and uneducated. Silence is the first step in prevention however, only when it is communicated before committing the sexual act.

[1] Rao, Erika. “Student accused of spreading HIV.” Emory Wheel. Emory Wheel, 6 Sep. 2005. Print. 9 Nov. 2012.

[2] Allen, Peter Lewis. The Wages of Sin: Sex and Disease, Past and Present. Chapter 6: “Aids in the USA” 119-123. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2000.

Invisible: The Unseen World of Male Prostitution

So far this semester, we have addressed the means by which AIDS and STI’s are spread and the facility of women to contract these diseases. Not only does biology appoint women as easy contractors of AIDS but their vulnerability through sexual violence also makes them optimal contractors of this disease. Gay males too carry the stigma for being HIV positive because of their sexual preference and for some, their promiscuity. [1] “From 1981, AIDS was firmly constructed into the west as a disease affecting male bodies, more specifically the bodies of gay men (Richardson, 127).”

Whether these two groups contribute largely to the HIV positive community however, we have not addressed another population of HIV positive individuals who are neither women nor gay men- heterosexual male prostitutes. Don’t be fooled into thinking that all male prostitutes are gay or non-heterosexual and only service women. These are false assumptions.

[1] “Sexualizing the HIV-infected body as gay also encouraged the view that heterosexual men were also not at risk and, by implication, “safe” (Richardson, 128). Although AIDS has been firmly constructed as a ‘male disease’ in the west, the heterosexual male is largely invisible in AIDS discourse (Richardson, 138).”

Curious to find more info about these individuals who linger the streets afterhours, I came upon a short documentary for a new campaign named Invisible: The Unseen World of Male Prostitution. This documentary focuses in on the struggles of male prostitution in Rhode Island. Whether this documentary is fictional or not, does not deviate the focus for new groups that are affected by AIDS; as we tend to focus more on women and gay men prevention.

[2] What this documentary does reveal is the lives of male prostitutes who roam the streets picking up ‘tricks’ for a couple bucks in order to feed their drug addiction. Surprising too, is that they are not all (not seemingly) gay men. They describe the necessity to work the streets in order to acquire the drugs that they need and sometimes having 8-10 clients per night. One male prostitute discusses the lack of AIDS fear and how there are those men who admit their probability of AIDS contraction however, that this does not affect the number of ‘tricks’ they pick up. These heterosexual males have families, girlfriends and are NOT GAY and to put it simply, they are doing what they gotta do to get their fix. It is important to realize that we as a community focus too much on stereotypes and stigma and assume that all who are HIV positive are victims of rape and gay men, why must the stigma stop there?

As discussed in class, we generally think that AIDS prevention entails safe sex with condoms and educating others of AIDS. If everyone is educated, will AIDS stop? What I gathered from this video is that these men are aware of AIDS but there is no real fear for contracting the disease nor spreading it. They just want their drugs and unprotected sex guarantees them more money for their addiction. If then, they know about AIDS and the means of contraction then would further education really make a difference to the spread of AIDS? This is the big question here. What, if any, amount of education is really needed to teach the public about AIDS contraction so that everyone will commit to safer sex practices? In her article, “Structural Violence, Poverty and the AIDS Pandemic”, Jola Mukherjee writes that it is reasoned that AIDS can be prevented through behavior change.

 [3] “HIV prevention can be viewed as two interrelated entities: risk avoidance such as abstaining from sex and drug use; and harm reduction that is minimizing risk while conduction behaviors that are associated with HIV (use of clean needles for drug users and use of condoms). Prevention is often presented as “life-style choices…yet those who live in poverty have severely constrained choice (379).”

If poverty then, is a major factor of AIDS contraction, how can these men who are already struggling to make ends meet, have the opportunity to get the help they need. It is easy for us to reason that their safety is just a trip to Rehab away. This may be an easy solution however, if they chose to leave the streets, where will they find the funds to pay for rehab? If they decide one day that they want to leave the streets, how will they find a job? Who would want to hire them? Are those who continue to have unprotected sex and continue to contract others morally wrong for doing this? Do they feel no obligation to protect others and their well-being just as no one seems to care about their own well-being?

What we need to gather from this documentary and these articles is that, AIDS is not discriminatory. All colors, cultures, and genders are vulnerable to AIDS so we must not aim AIDS support to only specific communities. We must revise our plan of action and find new solutions to help those in need while protecting ourselves from this epidemic.

[1] Richardson, Diane. “In/Visible Women and Dis/appearing Men.” Rethinking Sexuality, 127-138.

[2] KickStarter.com. Invisible: The Unseen World of Male Prostitution. 29 Oct. 2012. Web. 7. Nov. 2012 <http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1928510921/invisible-1>

[3] Mukherjee, Joia S. “Structural Violence, Poverty, and the AIDS Pandemic”. Sexual Disease, 379-385.

1974 -Heated and Unafraid.

Cruising through the Emory yearbooks this year at MARBL left me impressed. While most of the photos continue to be displayed in black and white ink, I felt my cheeks turn rosy red every time I turned the page.

1974 inevitably was a year Emory students showed the most ease displaying acts of sexuality and bare skin. Page by page, clothing was slowly being removed, forgotten, until naked bodies were photographed streaking the Emory campus. What has happened since then? Acceptable social content seems to have regressed some compared to 1974. If we were to review this year’s yearbook, I’m sure to find drastic contrasts between images of then to today. I’m sure to find students lying in the quad, books in hand, but with full clothing. I’m also sure to find some exposure of skin but still covering the genitals and breasts. What was going on in 1974 year that compelled the students to show such liberty? They seem so free from judgment, media, and personal image.

On the concluding pages from this particular yearbook was a section devoted to poems composed by individual students. One poem was easily separated from the rest. “First Time” by Barry Marks, describes a heated moment. While the title seems obvious on the content, the poem itself can also be translated to first experiences of any and everything. “I put myself into you” Opens the poem up to the first heterosexual experience. Taken from a male point of view, the poem is both dominant and recessive at different points. This poem innocently enough, follows the transformation of a boy into manhood. How his submission of putting himself into girl was similar to how a “child sticks his finger into a tree.”

On the flip side, this poem also indirectly follows the transformation of a girl into womanhood. This idea, marked in blood, also is a major theme of this poem. Both of these adolescents linger in the joys of innocence.

Compared to the rest of the yearbook. I can say that this poem summarizes the intentions, transformations, and feelings of the students of Emory in 1974. I can relate each photo of nudity, student, and act to this poem: the transformation of young adults into college students and their epic moment together-heated and unafraid.

"First Time" by Barry Marks Emory Yearbook 1974


AIDS is a ‘Human Disease’

Emory Wheel- November 24, 1987

While reviewing the Emory Wheel and Emory Reports of the late 1980’s/early 1990’s it is no surprise that I found more and more articles pertaining to the fears and the education of AIDS. There are articles that educated the Emory community on the spread of AIDS and how it is contracted (NOT by causal means as most feared) while other articles concentrated on the support the community must share with the AIDS positive individuals.

I also found numerous advertisements for Safe Sex Lectures for students and even a questioner that posted questions by students on the AIDS epidemic. Common questions such as “Can you get AIDS/ HIV from a toilet seat?” and “Is AIDS more common in poor neighborhoods?” These and many others are questions that Emory students received answers to.  Sign up sheets for AIDS walks also made an appearance in these issues of the Emory Report and Wheel which shows the growing support for the AIDS community. All of these articles serve to understand AIDS and show support for those who had fallen ill.

The most interesting of them all, for me, was a particular article called “AIDS is ‘human disease’ according to panel.” It discusses the impact that this disease can bring to the human race and that it is indeed a human disease in that it can be contracted by anyone; no matter your gender, sex, religion, nationality, AIDS can be contracted by anyone.

The most powerful quote, given by Max Pessess, a worker from Center for Disease Control said “AIDS is a human disease which can and does threatened our society, (It) is not a gay disease.” This quote carries significant weight in that it proves wrong that only gays are contracting AIDS and that it can also infect heterosexuals: that the entire human race is in the same boat and thus all eligible to contract the disease. AIDS is not discriminatory so it is not correct for us to assume that it is only spread in the gay community. It is indeed a ‘human disease.’ Roy Griffin (AIDS positive) also appeared in the article and quotes, “All walks of life are afflicted with the AIDS virus; babies, women, blacks, Hispanics, straights, gays and even a 69-year-old grandmother.” These two quotes are significant in that they challenge the stereotype that AIDS is only a gay disease.  We as a community need to realize that “people who have AIDS are just that: People, who have AIDS (Karen Genry).”

This article is appropriate for the time because it not only serves to educate and others on the severity of the AIDS epidemic but it also serves to enlighten others that people with AIDS are no different from anyone else and thus they shouldn’t be neglected. People should not fear those with AIDS but should fear AIDS itself as an un-discriminatory virus that could potentially have devastating effects on the human race.

How we spread AIDS through Discrimination

Ferraro Speech on Discrimination. Emory Report 1988

On October 1988, Geraldine Ferraro, the first Democratic female candidate for Vice President, addressed the consequence of discrimination and the health of our nation.

“According to Ferraro, discrimination is a dysfunctional and maladaptive                               tendency. It gives rise to hunger, crime, and the spread of one of the                                     century’s most debilitating diseases- AIDS.”

This article, found in the Emory Report for October 10, 1988 addresses some important questions. Does discriminations directly correlate with the spread of HIV AIDS? If this is true then, does discrimination directly lead to the lose of lives? We have already encountered how radical discrimination can lead to destruction and mass death as in Holocaust Nazi Germany and how it only took one man to raise a community against a specific people. This one idea- this one negative distinction was responsible for millions of lives. How about today? Will our ignorance and lack of understanding eventually transform to massive death? Can we realize that because of discrimination, we are robbing society of talent, artistic expression and individuality? I think that these are the questions that Ferraro herself had and tried to emphasize in her speech.

If this is true, that we are a discriminatory society, then are we (the public) more responsible for the spread of AIDS then the actual AIDS holders? If we cannot realize that the LGBTQ community is just as much as part of our society then, can we realize that we too are also responsible for sickness, fear, and crime? Ferraro explained that if you have an individual who was HIV AIDS positive then he/she would be less likely to advertise it because of the negative views of society. Society will automatically assume that this person is rather pernicious and if he is male, then that automatically makes him gay and not “normal.” What if however, this individual contracted AIDS from his mother, who was AIDS positive, does that make him less fit? Or what if this individual was a health care provider and he somehow contracted the disease by an infected needle? How are we going to know this if we are going to automaticity assume that he is gay? For this reason, these individuals are less likely to advertise and inquirer others of their illness and thus, spread the virus even further.

I think that this speech is appropriate for its time, the 1980’s, because of the huge increase of AIDS positive cases in the United States. This was a way for Ferraro to voice her concerns of our well-being and tried to educate others on the negative affects of discrimination towards others. If individuals begin to claim their disease, do we as a society still need to make their lives more difficult by separating them from society and deeming them “bad” for everyone? No, I think that once someone has the courage and wiliness to claim their illness do we (the public) then have to recognize this accomplishment and honor them by accepting them for their courage and lend them support.

“Non-dicrimation must become more than just a nice idea. Discrimination is the most unpatriotic of acts. By blocking the expression of talent and by preventing individuals from soaring, they (institutions) rob the entire nation of the greatness it could attain.” – Geraldine Ferraro


The 1980’s can be best described as a time where poofy hairstyles were in, Calvin Klein the major brand and the first cases of AIDS were reported in the United States. This week, I spent my time in MARBl reviewing Emory yearbooks from 1981 and 1987. What I did notice, other than hairstyles, was how beginning with 1981, Emory’s sexuality was more apparent in public and pictures.

The first signs of sexuality were in the yearbook from 1981. This intro page reads “We kissed, and carried on- and allowed ourselves to talk about it openly in programs such as “Sex at Emory Expressed” during spring quarter.” I think that nowadays sexual talk is becoming sort of a norm between individuals in society and I was surprised to see this in because I could imagine how this little paragraph could have made such a big impact back then and how much weight it carries.

I’m sure that there is a correlation between the AIDS report in the United States to the number of sex talks on a campus such as Emory. What I would question now is, if AIDS did not exist or if it never made in impact in the US then, would we still have talked sex to our peers? Professors? World? Why did we need this negative impact to shift worldviews on sexuality and make voices heard? Today, would we still be hushed or afraid of talking sex if this never happened?

The positive impact that I can testify to, thanks to the AIDS epidemic is that voices began to speak up and were beginning to be heard. I think that because of this tragedy, we gained and are continuing to gain so much insight and knowledge about our uniqueness to one another and how communities are being created to support victims of AIDS and the LGBTQ groups. Yes, I feel that we have a long journey ahead of us in redefining what is “normal” and for those of us to get past our one minded views on relationships and discrimination but I think that we are better off than we were 30 years ago.

Programs such as “Sex at Emory Expresses” gave way to sex talk and awareness of sexuality in the Emory community. This shift towards sex talk in the classroom is more apparent today than ever before and I can see the benefit of them. Not only is this class exciting but, it raises awareness to the LGBTQ community and even helps to raise my own awareness to what my sexual opinions are. I have learned so much more in four weeks of this class than I did a full year of history.

Emory yearbook 1981. The first paragraph begins "We kissed..."


AIDS rally from Emory yearbook 1897.


Marriage Upkeep

Emory Report 1981-1987

Unfortunately, I did not find much while doing research in the MARBL on my topic so, I will write about what I did find interesting from an Emory Report dating from 1981-1987. There was a specific article that caught my eye pertaining to marriage. The article “Marriage upkeep” compared marriage to owning a home.

                        “If you by the best house in the world,

                         the day you move into it, it begins to fall

                         down. You have to polish the floors, paint

                         change the washer in the sink, clean the

                         toilet, make the beds and vacuum underneath

                         the sofa-all on a regular basis-or else your 

                         house fall down around your ears.”

This analogy, I think, describes marriage well. The issue that this article zoned in on is an issue that I think couples today continue to struggle with and that’s time-time to work, fuel and feed the relationship so that the love does not die. Even in the 1980’s, couples were burdened with a busy schedule and a set time period for family, interaction, and sexual time. This article advised the Emory students and faculty to not let schedules get in the way of what’s more important aspect of marriage-a relationship.

The article continues to go on even further about making accusations. For a participant of a relationship to not complain about “Why is it that we are having hamburgers again?” or “You never hang the towels up after you take a shower.” Instead of expressing oneself with “you always, you never or you don’t” one should begin with “I feel” or “I need.” this form of expressing and explaining will cause less drama and complications and everyone is happier because then there is no miscommunication.

Overall, I think that this article applies even today and how our lives have not slowed down over the years. This article reiterates the importance of a relationship in marriage and to continue working and improving it as if it were a house. I think that this article further implies how “sexy time” is of high importance and essential to any relationship. What I don’t necessarily agree with this article is how they connect sexy time exclusively to those in a legal, binding marriage. Why could they include those couple in a dating relationship? Further more, if sex is only for marriage then what about individuals in gay or lesbian relationships? Yes, I understand that for this time period “gay” or “lesbian” were unspoken terms but lets not forget that these individuals too participate in sexy time and they too develop deep relationships. Even today, these individuals still don’t get the recognition they deserve however, small steps have been taken to recognize these partnerships and we can only hope that someday soon they will be.