Drugs as technologies of the self: Consuming drugs, (re)making gender and sexuality in LGBTQ cultures

Event status:

Smiling person with brown hair, earrings and magenta shirt You are invited to this public research seminar by Dr Kiran Pienaar (Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University), as part of the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS) Research and Practice Seminar Series.

Date:
Wednesday 20 May 2020 04:00 pm (Add to calendar)
Contact:
Dr Renae Fomiatti
r.fomiatti@latrobe.edu.au; (03) 9479 8702
Presented by:
Dr Kiran Pienaar (Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University)
Type of Event:
Public Lecture
Cost:
Free – no RSVP required

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Drugs as technologies of the self: Consuming drugs, (re)making gender and sexuality in LGBTQ cultures

The consumption of illicit drugs has long been a mainstay of urban queer cultures and scholars have described lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) communities as ‘early adopters’ at ‘the forefront of emergent drug trends’. Yet despite evidence that drug consumption is more prevalent in LGBTQ populations, research exploring the gendered and sexual dynamics of LGBTQ consumption is limited and tends to frame it as a response to stigma, marginalisation and discrimination. Against these dominant explanatory frames, this paper explores the diverse experiences of LGBTQ consumers, focusing in particular on the role of drugs in shaping sexuality, gender and queer cultures. The paper draws on qualitative interviews with 42 self-identified LGBTQ people from an Australian Research Council-funded project designed to explore how sexual and gender-diverse minorities pursue particular drug effects to enhance or transform their experience of gender and/or sexuality. Our participants’ accounts illuminate how drug consumption materialises in relation to sex, desire and play where it can enhance pleasure and increase endurance. In the context of gender variance, their accounts suggest that drug use can transform gendered experience and enable non-normative enactments of gender. By considering the productive role of drugs in enacting queer identities, the paper treats drugs as ‘technologies of the self’ and explores how drug consumption, sex and gender shape each other across a range of settings. I conclude by reflecting on the implications of the project findings for research and service provision, and suggest ways of engaging LGBTQ consumers in terms that address their diverse priorities and experiences.

About Dr Kiran Pienaar

Kiran Pienaar is a lecturer at the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS), La Trobe University. Her research explores connections between health, gender, sexuality and the body, with a particular interest in drug consumption and sexual cultures, and the sociopolitical dimensions of health. She has published on topics related to drugs, addiction and the self; the biopolitics of disease; public health and drug policy; and drug experiences in LGBTQ cultures. Her first book Politics in the Making of HIV/AIDS in South Africa is published with Palgrave Macmillan.

Access

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Map:

La Trobe City Campus, Level 2, 360 Collins St Melbourne, Room 2.15 (Teaching Room 3)

360 Collins St Melbourne

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