Archive | Queer Matters

In Love and Anger: Larry Kramer, 1935-2020

That Larry Kramer lived to 84 was a miracle. But it was not a privilege. It was a victory hard-won through the sheer voltage and focus of his beautiful, ungainly will–the same will that saved millions of “othered” bodies through his dedication to activating the passive, the phony, the pious-all the institutions that didn’t give a fig about a virus mostly killing off queers, POCs, addicts, and prostitutes.

I always say when a public figure dies, we are re-acquainted with his legacy, so the timing of the AIDS activist and writer’s departure is not a coincidence. And it’s not just because we are once again grappling with institutional indifference to a widespread lethal virus. It is because Kramer showed us that we have to enact our righteous fury if we are to ensure the justice and protections that every human body deserves.

For all through Trump’s reign, we have been wrangling with the bloody legacy of the colonizers we still exalt. This dangerous dehumanization always has been the law of this land (literally and figuratively) but our evil reality TV oligarch has newly empowered it—much as Hitler liberated a long-simmering national anti-semitism just as German gentiles were feeling disenfranchised post-WWI. Due to new technology, some Americans are waking to what everyone else lacked the luxury to ignore: that freedoms, including the right to live, are only a given for those whom our fucked-up Founding Fathers deemed human.

As a white woman–queer, yes, but privileged in so many other ways– it is not enough for me to say I am devastated by the lethal entitlement endorsed and institutionalized in my country. It is not enough for me to just write something here, which is why I’ve largely kept mum. It’s not even enough for my heart to break, though it really, really has. Larry Kramer’s legacy must be honored.

He taught us it was not enough to prettily and politely express our objection to institutionalized murder. He taught us to love each other enough to rise against the machine of greed, willful ignorance, selfishness, hate, and violence. He taught us we must act as if every human body endangered by institutionalized oppression is our own. And he taught us that the goal is for every body to live long enough to tell their story.

We still have much work to do but you have earned your rest, Cousin Larry. Thank you for your messy, heart-forward resistance.

My Queendom for Your Ragu

All day long my downstairs neighbor–a 78-year-old woman from Campania–has been cooking an indescribably delicious-smelling tomato sauce. Mikey and Paulie, my Muppet critic pals from the coffee shop, call this woman one of the “black stockings” of our East Williamsburg neighborhood where they have lived since birth. By this they mean she is one of the older Italian (not Italian-American) women who scream at their philandering husbands all day, every day, in between cooking delicious-smelling tomato sauces and attending Mass not once a week but twice a day. On this point my Muppet critic friends are as right as they often are.

(The only times they are wrong is when they insist on my need for a bicycle I mean a man. Yes I am the fish in this equation.)

It makes me laugh to see my downstairs neighbor all demure in the hallway, given that those daily fights with her philandering husband are so loud that my intuition clients can hear them in our Zoom sessions. When her philandering husband made moves on me I got him to lay off by any means necessary, so she refuses to share her delicious cooking even when there is not a raging pandemic. Long ago I accepted this as fair exchange for not having to play nice with a sex offender and his enabler. But today that sauce is torturing me. All I want is to sit at someone else’s table and eat a big bowl of home-cooked pasta and cheese and tomato sauce that magically appears in front of me. I want gnocchi, lasagna, ravioli, penne, fettuccine. Marinara, ragu, puttanesca, carbonara. Focaccia. Broccoli rabe. Arugula. Spicy olives. Polenta. Arancini di riso. I want to wash it all down with a big glass of red. And I do not want to wash the damn dishes.

Essentially I want an Italian mother–or an Italian wife.

Second Puberties Are Nowhere To Be Stuck (NSFWAH)

Last night I had a Quarantime dream awash in all the human dynamics that are verboten right now. You know–people crowded together, sex with someone new. In it, I was staying in a self-serious commune for adults and Adam Driver and I were grateful allies, complicit amid all that NPR and Park Slope-style overearnestness. Since it was an adult sort of commune, it was well-appointed and well-organized, and we each had our own quarters within the greater shared space.

Adam invited me to his digs and I was impressed by his beautifully arranged pantry, carefully chosen possessions. Burnished wood, 70s turntable, a perfectly gleaming whiskey decanter. Also his long strong fingers, wide mouth and unwavering stare. It seemed clear we were going to come together so I wasn’t surprised when he raised his eyebrows at me in the common dining room and mouthed: “Call me daddy.” I straddled the back of a chair and mouthed back: “Call me daddy.”

Next thing I knew we were in an open, industrial kitchen—rolling on clean white floors, fucking on chrome prep tables– Continue Reading →

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy