Remembering an epidemic during a disaster: memories of HIV/AIDS, gay male identities and the experience of recent disasters in Australia and New Zealand
Memory is increasingly understood as a source of both vulnerability and resilience within the experience of disasters associated with natural hazards. In this article, we investigate how members of marginalised populations impacted by disasters in Australia and New Zealand drew on forms of memory tied to their minority identity. Gay men, along with other sexual and gender minority groups, experience increased vulnerability in disaster contexts resulting from discrimination and stigmatisation. We draw on interviews with two gay men, each of whom had lived through the crisis of HIV/AIDS beginning in the 1980s and who had, more recently, been seriously impacted by a disaster associated with a natural hazard. Memories of HIV/AIDS informed these men's experiences of the later disaster in ways which bolstered resilience but which conversely resulted in feelings of vulnerability and isolation.