Our ability to properly recreate meaning in the archaeological record has been impeded by heteronormativity and the effects and importance of visibility, or in this case invisibility of queer, minority, and feminine bodies and what information they can offer to political, social, and cultural dynamics. By referring to modes of transformation, changes in ritual funeral practice surrounding bodies, technological advancements, and the general cultural effects caused by the transnational diaspora of minority bodies, focusing on treatment of the body and the unique production elements, I will explore how the funeral service transformed, organized, and classified bodies as it pertains to an emerging queer theory . Researching ideas of identity in a time where so much of the present and the future is dependent on the formulation of the now, we are forced to engage with questions on aspects of identity formation and the multitude of factors that facilitate it. As we obtain a grasp on an inclusive definition and role of identity within a cultural as well as individual framework we can use the tools present within mortuary studies to better understand identity politics and cultural formation. Drawing heavily on postmodernist theories and frameworks for power and the constitution of culture, this paper will apply these ideas to historical representations of death and dying, specifically as it applies to ideas of otherness.  With current shifts within the formal discipline of anthropology moving towards and encouraging a diverse multivocal narrative, it has become ever more important for disenfranchised and previously silenced voices to have a seat at the table on cultural discourse. When it comes to analyzing and consolidating ideas about culture, life, and social exchange, ideas of contrasting forces, such as the ones found in death and dying, aid in reconciling any unknowns. With this in mind, the main goal of this paper is to look at how queer identity and queer bodies alter and subvert institutionalized funerary processes in a neoliberal political landscape by analyzing how queer and feminist theory, as well as recorded lived experience, can be implemented to further understand the role of identity in transforming the body in a mortuary context. By embracing a philosophical and highly theoretical mortuary analysis to further substantiate experiential data as it appears in the social realm, in the form of case studies and interviews, we can determine how, if any, insight into modern modifications of the queer bodies has affected the productive potential of the human body post mortem. Within this research, I hope to employ the gained insight to further analyze the effect, both locally and globally, on social, political, and economic forces these identities have had in death.  In order to explore these ideas, I have opted to focus on two specific forms of death found within the queer community; premature death through violent homicide, and observable mass death. Death in these forms is a global phenomenon, but both take unique forms within the queer community, and are found even more distinct when geographically bounded to a western cultural landscape. Within this paper I will background my theoretical work with the HIV/AIDs epidemic which I have isolated as an event within the United States beginning in the 1980s as it uniquely encapsulates mass death in the queer community within a larger socially dominant generalized community. This mass death event highlighted the power of queer death and life to challenge normative behaviour and illuminate gaps found in power discourse. In order to further substantiate the nuances of identity constitution and experience, I have also drawn on more intimate case studies, interviews, and crime reports that characterize extreme violence against the queer community as it highlights and defines the “otherness” or “non-human” category that queer identity is sorted into. These acts that characterize death and dying in a community highlight the visible/invisible nature of identity and the role it plays in life and death, this paper aims to facilitate a discussion between the autonomy allotted in life versus the autonomy provided in death. The productive possibility of the body and constructed identity is then understood as being both social and also codified and represented politically and economically. NECROPOLITICS: During an address at Harvard University as part of the celebration of Malcolm X titled “Learning from the 60s”, Audre Lorde’s experience with resistance was represented and quoted as “If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” This defiance and self assertion of identity and role in society is characteristic of all identities in conflict with the ruling hegemonic class. As other theorists would later point out though, this approach is much more complicated than simple resistance. As even those who constantly are at battle with sovereign influences may potentially remain unaware of these forces.  Achilles Mbembe (2003, 11) introduced these ideas of necropolitics, necropower, and death worlds in his 2003 paper titled “Necropolitics” as a reworking of Michel Foucault’s biopower framework, where power is diffused throughout society, through institutions of social control, to largely include death and sovereign control over death. “The ultimate expression of sovereignty resides, to a large degree, in the power and the capacity to dictate who may live and who must die”. His introductory paper highlighted the role of self as a targeted entity both in life and after death. Evolving from a Foucauldian discourse on power dynamics and social exchange, Mbembe’s paper utilizes ideas on biopower to explore this exchange between the living and the dead and how this social role is transferred into death. Mbembe, however, differentiated necropower from biopower by expanding upon social and political factors which subjugate and control populations to conclude that these same forces have the right to kill and let live, and to also explore the condition of life as it teeters in the liminal area surrounding death. Mbembe achieves this in his own paper by focusing on war and specifically the nazi state to highlight the efficacy of biopower as a theory applicable to political and sovereign influence in war and extreme violence. For Mbembe, understanding politics as a form of war, necropolitics then is the question; “What place is given to life, death, and the human body”, again focusing on the slain body as the pinnacle at which all forces intersect.  Judith Butler helps substantiate this idea in her book “Frames of War: When is Life Grievable?”, in which she analyses the way in which war and violence divides a population into lives that are grievable and lives that are not. “One way of posing the question of who “we” are in these times of war is by asking whose lives are considered valuable, whose lives are mourned, and whose lives are considered ungrievable. We might think of war as dividing populations into those who are grievable and those who are not. An ungrievable life is one that cannot be mourned because it has never lived, that is, it has never counted as a life at all. We can see the division of the globe into grievable and ungrievable lives from the perspective of those who wage war in order to defend the lives of certain communities, and to defend them against the lives of others—even if it means taking those latter lives.” Butler 2016, 38While Mbembe frames the idea of necropolitics and necropower on a global scale, Butler helps reflect the idea in a way that allows for an introspective application in domestic terms. Providing a platform for identity politics, ideas such as micro aggression can be seen as a baseline or near-invisible tell that this division has been made. When employing ideas of biopower, specifically the desire to control a population, and considering the role of death, this division is ignored, masked, and categorized as non-representative of the “us” the “we”, the illusion of unity presented to align morals within a larger community. Then necropolitics can be understood as a relationship between sovereignty and identity, the form and presence of micro-resistances which undermine the normative body and expected universality of justice, ethics, and equality. Necropolitics is an explanation for the prevalence of death in an age of living, more specifically how structural forces dictate how one lives and how one dies. Combining both Butler and Mbembe’s ideas of necropolitics and necropower we arrive in a space that Mbembe identifies as death-worlds, a place where specialized forms of violence and subjugation can be actualized; establisheing a condition for life by marking specific groups within a population as a “living dead”(Mbembe 2003,40), a power through which letting die is a way to make live. These spaces are compartmentalized, bounded, and regulated through language, presence, and frequent action. In this way, a silent and invisible war is waged on any identity categorized as the “other”, where daily lives are the battlegrounds marred by excessive violence, domination, and forced confinement of personhood. Local sovereigns manage their own populations through invisible death. BODYSCAPES: In conjunction with the idea of Necropolitics, this paper will also draw from the theoretical understanding of bodyscapes as an approach to the understanding of bodies on various scales. This concept has been reworked and reimagined in drastically different ways to serve different disciplines and theories. For this research, I adopted Pamela Geller’s understanding of bodyscapes in her 2009 paper titled “Bodyscapes, Biology, and Heteronormativity”. This paper, which analyzes the bias of archaeology work which is done without consideration for the ideas of labour, family organization, and reproduction which may all come from modern heterosexist representation by subverting hegemonic representations of sex and gender in western society. In Western society, we have adopted a predominantly biomedical bodyscape to scientifically approach and understand difference in bodies, as a term it “pertains to any regulating social institution that conceives and creates an ideal body, whether it be education, sports, military, law, or science” (Geller 2009, 505). This idea of the biomedical bodyscape is a direct reflection of a modern cultural attitude and hegemonic influence, as institution and codified existence segregates symptoms and pieces of the body in order to further highlight difference between bodies, but also to reinforce normative or idealized representations. In this way, similar to Foucault’s (1994) idea on the medical gaze, bodyscapes are used to express differences in a way that reinforces normative ideas about socioeconomic organization. This biomedical framework becomes a bias in mortuary and archaeological research, as well as other disciplines, which necessitates the need for identity politics such as those found in queer and feminist works to break it back down to a question of human nature. Geller’s approach is critical as it focuses on queer and feminist understanding of body and highlights difference outside of a simple dichotomy. Outside of queer and feminist works the idea of the bodyscape has been applied to ideas of political and social violence. As shown in Rodrigo Parrini’s paper “Bodyscapes: Globalization, Corporeal Politics, and Violence in Mexico” bodyscapes can be used to explore the connections between the neoliberal processes of globalization and emerging forms of social violence through the cruelty that marks certain disenfranchised social groups as vulnerable. Focusing on how queer identity is marked as vulnerable in western society we can use the concept of bodyscapes to explore how queer bodies are made distinct and then endangered through extreme structural violence.1980s HIV/AIDs EPIDEMIC: In the early 1980s, an alarming number of gay men in the USA began experiencing symptoms and succumbing to the effects of what would one day be known as HIV/AIDs. The HIV/AIDs crisis was a unique event that marked recent history as it emerged within and affected predominantly the queer community. As mentioned earlier, the impact of HIV/AIDs was and still is a global phenomena, though less of a mystery and less of a death sentence than it was during the 1980s; it is now also less marked as belonging exclusively to the queer community. This departure and dissemination into the larger community makes the initial period so poignant and salient for studying the queer body and the role visibility of death played in dictating the social, political, and economic responses to a mass death event. This event in queer history marked for the first time a highly visible queer corpse, as the visibility of oppression for the typically invisible queer community was disjointed, temporal, and spatially bounded, to the act of being queer/performing queerness. As we will see within individual case studies, past and current news articles, and the state of the queer community as a whole, there is a strong anti-queer sentiment embedded within normative society. This was manifested in the 1980s within the medical field through the AIDs epidemic and anti-AIDs corpse sentiment shared more or less across the board. As a community, we watched as AIDs became a face for the “justified” hate of an entire community. The sudden visibility of the queer community in death like this challenged institutional ideas about family, identity, and biomedical procedure. It is within biomedical procedure that society had to redefine the way death looked to the living and how we institutionalized the queer existence, weaving it back in seamlessly with the population through the reformation and universalization of the funerary process.  Funerals are intended to manage and account for grief, honouring the dead, and mourning in the face of loss. The process and commodification of the body after death through embalming had been a common practice in Western Society since the necessity and prevalence during the first world war. As a key profession within the medical field, both embalmers and funerary practitioners held the responsibility to the safeguarding of public health, meaning that for the preservation of the economic viability of these technologies, body preservation had to happen despite perceived risk. At the time of the epidemic, the Director, a national funeral directors resource, published insight into the battle with the AIDs Corpse and the effect on the industry. Funeral directors were quoted left and right as adamantly refusing to embalm and work with Queer or AIDs corpses. One funeral director going so far as to say that he considered an AIDs victim to be the same as a highly radioactive body (Mayer 1987), by equating the body with the looming threat of nuclear fallout and the radioactive corpse, the HIV/AIDS corpse was now categorized with the highest public health hazard a funeral home could accept at the time. The American Funeral Industry adapted through extreme institutionalization, creating a dead body that is safe to handle, touch, and view.  Arguably, most of this sentiment existed due to biomedical confusion about the virus, the social role of queer identities, and the fragility of society. This refusal to embalm and interact with what were considered queer and contagious bodies made death visible in a place where death was made invisible. Ultimately, as further understanding of identity and HIV/AIDs came about, the necessity of medical professionals to produce shifted the entire funerary process to remove personal relations and treat all bodies as extreme hazards to accommodate queer bodies while still maintaining industry control over the appearance of death. “Universal precautions means an embalmer will treat all human remains as if the were infected with HIV”(Troyer 2010, 136). If the funerary industry was to survive society would have to find ways to tackle the problems illuminated, and regulations challenged, by queer existence. “Even though the HIV/AIDs corpse was a socially and medically different dead body then the technologies of the corpse had encountered before, that body still possessed a transformable “self” if it was given proper care” (Troyer 2010, 142). What this meant for the funerary process was that for the first time funeral directors and embalmers no longer largely considered just a preservation expert, now had the authority to transform the corpse into a different self after death. For those that regularly dealt with death, the overlap of queer bodies and HIV/AIDs bodies presented an opportunity to further define normative representations of death and identity constitution.  “The HIV/AIDs corpse was a kind of biopolitical force that challenged the basic tenets of well-established and institutionalized American funeral practices” (Troyer 2010, 133). Western funerary practice of late has been to remove the presence of death from the dead, which effectively normalized what form death could take and look like to the public. The HIV/AIDs corpse produced both an emotional and legal challenge to how the corpse could be publicly acknowledged. The extreme otherness of queer corpses shattered the presented illusion of death erected by medical practitioners and challenged the commodification of corpse through embalming as death was made real. This reality of death was reflected socially as ideas of family were challenged as biological families and social families knew and loved two different personae, a fake identity maintained for survival in a narrative that wished the real social identity harm. Technologies of the corpse can be understood as a modification to Foucault’s technology of the self, instead of understanding the self as dying with the person it is processed through an often competing external narrative and transformed into a new form of post-mortem subjectivity. In the context of queer representation of self in death this is typically meant to be obscured and reduced to nothing as if to finally destroy an entire identity in death as represented through the individual.  Achilles Mbembe (2003) raises the question “What does it mean to do violence to what is nothing?”; when the voiceless cry out, who hears them. In queer theory, this violence would be  seen as being permitted and erased through law and regulation that makes these direct acts appear as non-representational of society. Stanley (2011) reveals a structural repressive dichotomy as “humans” are situated in a place of life and vitality under the domain of rights, and queer is positioned in a zone of death and compromised personhood. This violence continues after death in the performative ritual erasure and normalization of death in western society. Judith Butler argued that identity, no longer understood as a static concept, has instead been embraced as a dynamic map of power through which identity is constituted and erased. It can also be understood to rework the relationship between identity and death which constitutes a battle as queer bodies are made visible by existing, and acts of extreme violence, while simultaneously made invisible through ritual performance and legislation. LAURYN PAIGE FULLER: Audre Lorde (1982), in her address on racial violence and dysphoria, situated the experience of living adjacent to extreme violence and being aware of it as “The deaths we are forced to live”. Personhood then exists in orbit around the disenfranchised and is a shared cultural experience that is reflected in the emotion and response shared by onlookers.  An example of excessive violence against the queer community and an exemplification of the role of visibility and technologies of the corpse in practice — Lauryn Paige Fuller was an 18 year-old transwoman who was subjected to extreme violence and overkill for the crime of her own existence. The murder was so excessive, having been stabbed near 100 times, partially decapitated, and violated before being abandoned in a ditch, that it could only be understood as overkill, which is sadly typical in hate crimes of this nature, as the aim of the violence isn’t just the end to this one life, but the end of all queer life. The ditch then represents queer life in death as the queer tomb is open and openly scrutable. Despite the high profile nature of this crime, next to no media coverage was provided, and what was offered was ill informed and actively erased the severity of the crime and the identity of the victim; some reports going so far as to celebrate the death for defending the community from the threat of queerness. Identity and death was further contested by the biological family of the victim who themselves used the funeral as a testing ground for reconciling the loss of their child both in life, in identity, and now in death. The mother was quoted “He was my son- my daughter. It didn’t matter which”FURTHER CONSIDERATIONS: Focusing on a modern representation of death within this paper was important for substantiating claims about socio-sexual life and death and developing a framework that highlights the role and value in considering and prioritizing ‘invisible’ communities in the archaeological record. Understanding the presence and role of necropolitics and expanding research questions to accommodate the populations targeted by normative and political forces will provide deeper insight into cultural organization and the significance of non-representative data.  Geller expands her ideas of bodyscapes and queer theory in her book “The Bioarchaeology of Socio-Sexual Lives: Queering Common Sense About Sex, Gender, and Sexuality”, applying modern theories to prehistoric communities is typically not effective as modern populations are not representative. This book does not hold that certain aspects of sex, gender, and sexuality are universal as they are not, but instead cross references a broad scope of case studies in which hierarchical power structures can be observed and analyzed within queer and feminist theory.  Joana Soafaer and Marie Lousie Stig Sørenson ties the presence and importance of gender in the mortuary record as it is represented  through the use of burial construction and grave goods to annotate the body as a social being.  Authors such as Blackmore (2011) have been putting effort into incorporating queer theory effectively into existing archaeological theory with their work investigating status and identity as applied to ancient Maya commoners as a tool to extract class status and composition over time. Highlighting that queer archaeology is not limited to analysis of burial patterns and past societies for the presence of homosexuality, but instead with how it provides a unique perspective on all aspects of identity formation and the behaviours that mediate it. CONCLUSION:As we shed the illusion that normative behaviour is representative of culture and society, we can better analyze rites and rituals that constitute culture by referring to modes of transformation and the associated cultural dynamics. There is a lot of space within the provided texts to further explore the role of violent political, socioeconomic, and cultural hierarchies as they’ve been upheld for centuries have had on normative and non-normative populations. Questions about identity and identity constitution within a population have never been more important in expanding archaeology as a holistic discipline. Only through incorporating more voices and more identities into the socio-political cultural narrative will we be able to fully grasp the pervasive nature of power and it’s drive at creating meaning and affecting change in conflict. The professionalization of directing the funeral is still a vehicle for standardization of funeral rite, the spread of the service economy significantly increases this process of change. The process of classifying and organising queer bodies within the grander normative framework exposes the lack of control over death actually afforded to us despite the illusion presented in life. On a socio-cultural level full acceptance and incorporation of modern queer identities may never be fully reflected by an economic or political framework. The productive capablities of the queer corpse in affecting change however, can be extended and modelled to include or be applied to all marginalized identities, further expanding understanding and actively challenging the normative structural policies in similar but unique ways