Queer feminisms and the translation of sexual health

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This chapter focuses on the notion of health, which will be discussed through the lenses of translation on the one hand, and gender and sexuality studies on the other. It will make references to the way health has been theorised by a range of contemporary queer feminists in the United States, Europe, Latin America and China, who were inspired mainly by the feminist initiatives in the 1970s, like self- help clinics and self- awareness groups in the United States. For queer feminisms, health becomes synonymous with freedom of choice on matters such as one’s own body, affective and sexual relationships, and reproduction. Many queer feminist groups are actively engaged in the production of counter- knowledge on health, i.e. new and peripheral knowledge that opposes the official mainstream one, for two main reasons: first, to subvert the asymmetrical relationship between expert mainstream knowledge and the needs expressed by women and LGBTQ* subjects on these topics; second, to challenge institutional medical narratives, which have marginalised or censored this counter- knowledge. Pivotal in the production of an understanding of health in feminist terms is translation, given that it can make up for the lack of specific knowledge in a given cultural context. In this chapter I will discuss a number of translation scenarios, touching on health concerns that were raised by feminists in the 1970s and are still of interest to queer feminisms in the present day, namely the questions of female sexual health and reproductive choices, which appear to be the main topics that the translations focus on.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Translation and Health
EditorsSebnem Susam-Saraeva, Eva Spisiakova
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2021


  • Queer feminisms, sexual health, translation of sexual health