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A sociological analysis of gay racism and its affect on Asian men in HIV social research

Gopalkrishnan, Carl (2000) A sociological analysis of gay racism and its affect on Asian men in HIV social research. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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This thesis examines HIV social research investigating Asian men who have sex with men (MSM) and their HIV health needs in Australia. In recent years, there has been growing awareness in HIV discourse, based on a ‘diversity’ promotion in the gay and lesbian community, of the exclusion/rejection of Asian MSM from the gay community and from gay-community-led HIV services and social research. I argue that this is part of a racism and misogynist culture crucial to the formative structures of gay, male identity. This aspect of gay male culture is avoided when focusing on Asian or NESB HIV issues in research because of the higher representation of gay, white, male interests in HIV social research. There are further barriers to viewing Asian MSM’s rejection/reactions ‘anglocentricism’ in the gay male community – as symptomatic of an epistemological racism in Australian research. Since the climate of discourse in Australia does not support analysis of racism in research or policy-making, ‘gay racism’s’ invisibility in HIV research allows for the construction of an ‘Asian problem’. This is further made possible by new discourses of – 1/ cognitive reductionism in psychology and healthcare studies of risk – 2/ the effects of postmodern identity discourse on Asian MSM and NESB categories in HIV discourse – 3/ and a New Liberalism using ‘culture’, ‘the individual’ and ‘meaning’ as a substitute for open debate about the growing dominance of ‘rational racism’ in public discourse. The degree to which gay racism works with New Liberalism to silence Asian men in HIV social research is the topic of this paper.

Publication Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Social Sciences
Supervisor: Baldock, Cora and Kendall, Christopher
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