Policing Public Sex: Queer Politics and the Future of AIDS Activism


As some activists have turned to regulation rather than education in the effort to curb the AIDS epidemic, the public culture at the foundation of queer culture has come under attack.
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As some activists have turned to regulation rather than education in the effort to curb the AIDS epidemic, the public culture at the foundation of queer culture has come under attack.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Occasioned by the controversial opening of a new bathhouse in 1995 in New York City, this intentionally provocative anthology was "conceived as an introduction to the patterns and strategies structuring current debates around public sex." The 20 extremely readable essays question assumptions, critique the status quo, and battle conservatism within and without the "queer community." The authorsranging from artists and journalists to university professors and sex workersoffer a fascinating historical perspective on how the state has policed deviant sexual behaviors and identities; promote sex-positive HIV prevention strategies; and posit new working definitions of public sex, AIDS activists, and queer politics. Compiled by an editorial collective of academics cum activists, this thoughtful and thought-provoking collection is highly recommended for academic and public gay studies collections.James E. Van Buskirk, San Francisco P.L.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780896085497
  • Publisher: South End Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2008
  • Series: Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual Studies
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 13
Pt. I Public Sex 21
Sex Club Owners: The Buck Stops Here 25
The Twilight (Zone) of Commercial Sex 45
Going Public: A Conversation with Lidell Jackson and Jocelyn Taylor 53
Public Space for Public Sex 73
Talking with My Mouth Full 81
Pt. II AIDS Activism 87
Dangerous Practices: Ideological Uses of the "Second Wave" 91
I Was a Teenage HIV Prevention Activist 105
Why We Stopped Doing Primary Prevention for Gay Men in 1985 115
Discernibly Turgid: Safer Sex and Public Policy 141
An AIDS Vaccine: It's Possible. So Why Isn't It Being Done? 167
Pt. III Policing Sexuality 183
The History of Gay Bathhouses 187
Bathhouses and Brothels: Symbolic Sites in Discourse and Practice 221
P.I.M.P. (Prostitutes in Municipal Politics) 251
From Soubrette Row to Show World: The Contested Sexualities of Times Square, 1880-1995 263
The D.O.H. Papers: Regulating Public Sex in New York City 295
Pt. IV Queer Politics 317
Seducing Women into "A Lifestyle of Vaginal Fisting": Lesbian Sex Gets Virtually Dangerous 321
Skipping the Life Fantastic: Coming of Age in the Sexual Devolution 337
Ghosts of Public Sex: Utopian Longings, Queer Memories 355
Domesticating Partnerships 373
Epilogue: Calculating the Risk 395
Contributors 401
Selected Bibliography 405
Index 409
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