Long term HIV+ activist in France and in Belgium, Laurent Gaissad is a social anthropologist and ethnographer of sexuality and public spaces, formerly involved in a sex work community healthcare project in Marseille and in Acceptess-T, transactivist NGO in Paris. Grounded on a reflexive ethnography of cruising for sex in urban, suburban and rural settings in the North Mediterranean Arc, his book Hommes en chasse (2020) reveals the hegemonic masculine subculture, notoriously and secretly hosting sex between men, night and day in the open air. It traces the enduring impermanence of these places, revealing in the process the transitory transformations of the self at work in these one-off sexual experiences.
Laurent also co-edited the anthology Hétéros (2009) dedicated to the production of heteronormative discourses, places and practices during an FNRS fellowship at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, along with two issues of academic journals on the theme of migration, gender and sexuality. More recently, his multi-site participative surveys in the European gay party circuit and chemsex subcultures highlight hyper gendered and sexualized fabric and use of (inter)urban public space from traditional drug-fuelled parties to online traffic of bodies and substances at home. His latest research questions anal sex and care as a blind spot of emerging post AIDS queer sexual health policies.
He currently teaches at Université de Toulouse Jean Jaures, intersecting gender, sexuality, health and environmental issues, and is an associated researcher at SASHA (Architecture and Human Sciences) of the Faculty of Architecture La Cambre-Horta at the Université Libre de Bruxelles.