“Two tears in a bucket… motherfuck it.” Isn’t it the way that Lady Chablis, the true star of one of the few un-loathsome Eastwood films–one I watched again and again just for her–died on a day when many of my colleagues and I tore the director a new arsehole. You just know she would’ve appreciated the irony. Heck, she probably engineered it. She was 59, which is not bad for a transwoman who lived through AIDS, but still far too young. (Here’s to the day when transgendered people of color regularly live to a ripe old age.) Rest in power and pretty peace, you doll, you grand empress, you hip-shaking, sooth-saying, stone-cold fox.
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 →