In the wake of the Orlando murders and during LGBT pride month, I have been looking to the elders of the literary queer community for wisdom and context. I’ve been reading lesbian poet, essayist, and self-proclaimed woman warrior Audre Lorde. I’ve been reading gay essayist and novelist James Baldwin. And I’ve been reading the words of gay essayist, cultural critic, playwright, biographer, memoirist, and novelist Edmund White. Still very much on the scene – Our Young Man, his latest novel, was released only this spring – he might protest being called an elder, despite his seventy-six years. Yet as a participant at Stonewall, as the co-founder of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, and as the co-author of the groundbreaking tome Joy of Gay Sex, White deserves esteemed elder status. He also deserves it because he is one of our country’s best living writers. Continue Reading →
Our country is in the throes of an undeclared civil war, and in the wake of the Orlando murders I find myself with little to say except in urgent letters to political representatives. I look to the elders–to James Baldwin and especially to Audre Lorde–for a path with heart because all around me is broken, bleeding. Lost.
On the subway home last night, surrounded by the beautiful purple and green and pink and black and brown and yellow and blue and red misses and misters and mizzers of my city–variously tired, wired, sober, drunk, happy, sad; variously queer, too–I felt this powerful tenderness for every person in their precious, precarious trajectory. I wanted to strap on an arrow and bow like an Amazon, like Artemis, like Eros himself, and protect them all. We each have a right to be cranky, undefended, soft around each other–to sit shoulder to shoulder without fear or judgment. We are getting closer to that state. We are moving further away. Continue Reading →