Sexualities and Intoxication: “To Be Intoxicated Is to Still Be Me, Just a Little Blurry”—Drugs, Enhancement and Transformation in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Cultures

Kiran Pienaar, Dean Anthony Murphy, Kane Race, Toby Lea

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Research


Despite evidence that drug use is higher among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) populations, research that explores the gendered and sexual dynamics of LGBTQ substance use is limited. Responding to this opening in the literature, and drawing on 32 qualitative interviews from an Australian study, we consider how LGBTQ consumers pursue particular drug effects to change their experience of gender and/or sexuality. Our analysis suggests that for many consumers, drug use and the experience of intoxication enhances sexual pleasure. In the context of gender variance, intoxication can facilitate free gender expression and, in some cases, palliate bodily discomfort. Acknowledging the generative effects of drug use for gender and sexual transformation, we conclude by commenting on the implications of our analysis for LGBTQ health policy and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCultures of Intoxication
Subtitle of host publicationKey issues and debates
EditorsFiona Hutton
Place of PublicationCham Switzerland
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9783030352844
ISBN (Print)9783030352837
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • LGBTIQ alcohol and other drug use
  • Queer cultures
  • Sexuality
  • Gender
  • harm reduction
  • Qualitative analysis
  • in-depth interviews

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