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Black Queer FreedomSpaces of Injury and Paths of Desire$
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GerShun Avilez

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780252043376

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252043376.001.0001

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Uneven Vulnerability

Uneven Vulnerability

Queer Hypervisibility and Spaces of Imprisonment

(p.87) 3. Uneven Vulnerability
Black Queer Freedom

GerShun Avilez

University of Illinois Press

This chapter shows how incarcerated gay men present prisons as spaces of exposure and seek to disorder the governing logics that enable acts of exposure, which derive from surveillance. Gay men’s experience of incarceration is one of hypervisibility, meaning that their visibility consists of multiple layers and is differentiated because of the perceptions of their bodies and their desires. This enhanced visibility magnifies the general vulnerability associated with detention. The chapter explores edited collections of writing alongside memoirs by gay men in prison to show how same-sex desire is used as a way to refuse queer vulnerability, to undermine notions of Black masculinity as rooted in the concept of the “cool pose,” and to rewrite familiar scripts about male prison rape and HIV/AIDS concerns.

Keywords:   prison, visibility, hypervisibility, surveillance, masculinity, memoir, cool pose, rape, HIV/AIDS

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