Tag: Stigma

Silence and Noise: What AIDS Activism and Social Memory Can Teach Us

In the mid-1980s, when I was a twenty-something college dropout, I met people my age or older who knew a lot about history, about our history, the history of queer people. Part of this history included that of the men who were forced to wear the pink triangle in the Nazi concentration camps. And maybe… Read more →

Sex, Death, and Three Irish Women

In November 1984 the Catholic parish of Tynagh, County Galway, Ireland, gathered to bury a woman who had been dead for 150 years.1 Local tradition asserted that the woman, Áine, gave birth to three illegitimate children in the 1830s or 1840s and then became gravely ill. Citing her sexual transgressions, Áine’s parish priest would not… Read more →

Diagnosing Donald Trump

In his analysis of Donald Trump’s fitness for office, Brookings Institution fellow Robert Kagan recently wrote that “we can leave it to the professionals” to label with precision the relationship between Donald Trump’s behavior and what may be a clinically defined mental illness or personality disorder. Other commentators are less reluctant to diagnosis Mr. Trump…. Read more →

Flowers and Lady Charlotte: Talking about Menstruation, Past and Present

In some ways, 2015 was the year of the period in social media. Thinx panties, which claim to absorb menstrual blood without the use of a tampon or pad (even on heavy days), were named a “best invention” of 2015 by Time and made the rounds on Facebook. News outlets featured Kiran Ghandi when she… Read more →

“She Looks the Abortionist and the Bad Woman”: Sensation, Physiognomy, and Misogyny in Abortion Discourse

In November of 1866, a minor sensation rocked the Albany area following the death of the young widow Elizabeth Dunham, who passed away at her mother’s house on the third of the month under, as the Albany Argus primly noted, “suspicious circumstances.” The Argus’s suspicions quickly proved sound. An inquest performed the next day revealed… Read more →

Ghosts are Scary, Disabled People are Not: The Troubling Rise of the Haunted Asylum

This past spring, the defunct Willard Psychiatric Center (previously known as the Willard Asylum for the Chronic Insane) in Ovid, New York, opened its doors for tours — one day only, with no advance sale tickets. I immediately made plans to make the two-hour drive — after all, for the past few years, I’ve been working… Read more →