Bugchasing is the fetishization of HIV among some gay men. Bugchasers, who thrive in online forums and social media, have generated complex subcultural narratives of the virus as a vehicle for intimacy, connection, and masculinity. While this practice has been addressed from public health and media studies, relatively little analysis has been conducted on their sex stories. In this article, I use the sex story 'Andy is HIV+' to explore how bugchasers appropriate the language of both HIV prevention and heterosexual reproduction to narrate new forms of vertical and horizontal kinship. These new forms are articulated through HIV infection: bugchasers 'breed' each other with their 'poz babies' and become 'brothers' and 'lovers.' While Dean (2009) has already discussed bugchasing kinship, I explore the practical implementation of these forms of relationality to address existing gaps in the literature. In the second part of this article, I also complicate existing research on bugchasing kinship by considering how the fictional nature of the materials under analyses problematizes our theoretical developments and our assumptions about the men producing the texts. In particular, I suggest that theoretical research on kinship should be accompanied by in-depth consideration of how fictional narratives translate into lived experience.
|NORMA: International Journal for Masculinity Studies
|Published - 19 Mar 2020
- Queer Theory
- Family making