The Biomedicalisation of sexuality and the politics of biomedicine event took place at the Falmer campus at the University of Brighton on 27 January 2016. Presentations were given by William J Spurlin from Brunel University London and Nicky Perry from Brighton and Sussex University Hospital NHS Trust.
This seminar examined biomedical discourses on sexuality historically, socially, and culturally in order to analyse the ways in which ‘good sexual health’ in biomedical research and clinical practice is often conflated with prevailing social norms within specific historical contexts. It examined specifically the diagnostic history of homosexuality over the course of the various editions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the addition of the new diagnostic categories ‘Gender Identity Disorder in Children’ in the DSM-III, and the most recent category ‘Gender Dysphoria in Children’ in the current DSM-V. The event also addressed the impact of heteronormativity within the history of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the UK through discussing the experiences of nurses and doctors who have worked with the same gay male patients infected with HIV since the early 1980s. Their oral histories will be collected in a larger project which will provide another important social and historical context for understanding better the ways in which the disease grew in significance and affected medical care.
Through understanding the diverse social, cultural, and historical meanings that affect gender performance, sexual practices, gender and sexual identities, STIs, and care, and the ways in which these fluctuate across time and across cultures, the larger project raises critical implications for biomedical research and for enhancing medical education and clinical practice.
This hour-long event took place in January 2016 at the Falmer campus.