“CFL has its patient zero”: A Critical Examination of HIV Nondisclosure in the Trevis Smith Case

Title: “CFL has its patient zero”: A Critical Examination of HIV Nondisclosure in the Trevis Smith Case
Authors: Bogosavljevic, Katarina
Date: 2018-08-30
Abstract: Canada is currently the world leader in the number of per capita prosecutions of HIV nondisclosure (Hastings, 2017). Many of these cases garner the attention of media and receive sensational and dramatic coverage. This thesis provides a feminist critical discourse analysis of the juridical and mediated content on Trevis Smith who was a former Canadian Football League linebacker convicted of aggravated sexual assault for not disclosing to his sexual partners that he was living with HIV. Mobilizing an intersectional (Crenshaw, 1989, 1991) and masculinities (Connell, 2005/1995; Messerschmidt, 2012; 2016) theoretical framework, I specifically explored the ways in which the media and juridical content constituted Smith by considering how the different discourses were shaped by race, gender, class, criminality, sexual orientation, and seropositivity. The analysis revealed three main discourses: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The “Sodom and Ghomorrah of Shared Sexual Partners” and Playing a Dangerous Game. These discourses demonstrate that Smith was initially shown sympathy by way of his construction as a philanthropist, and sports hero. However, as the case progressed his masculinity was discursively linked to racialized tropes of hypersexuality, dangerousness, and criminality due to his failure to disclose that he was HIV positive. I conclude that these discursive connections are part of a broader historical narrative that subjugates and controls Black men while also working to symbolically and literally segregate the Canadian HIV-negative social body from the hypersexual Black ‘AIDS fiend’.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/38050
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -