writing queerness, queering writing
I’ve been thinking about the performativity of writing about queerness.
We narrate stories that follow the normative trajectory of coming to terms with ourselves before coming out to those around us. Or recount how we’ve come to diverge from the path of homonormativity.
We write about the thrill we felt upon discovering the words that captured and explained our innermost feelings and desires. Or how we’ve learned to transcend the confines of an imposed and misplaced language and forge our own meanings for our existence.
We pen declarations on fitting in. Or keeping others out.
We reach out. Or shut down.
But in the midst of all this push and pull, this build and break, is an audience that expects you to expose an anguished, tortured soul – constantly on the brink of collapse, constantly in need of validation.
I tend to think of this audience as being the saviours and the islamophobes, the racists and the heterosexists. But the truth is that it exists within our own communities and so-called safe spaces too.
How often have we can only receive the stamp of authenticity through sharing tragic tales? How often have we pressured others into putting their pain on display?
And it is this public performance – and centring – of queerness that has worn me down. That is not to be dismissive of the importance of such narratives, for I have survived and thrived on them. Nor am I forgetting that the main culprit here is the structure of society itself and the systems built to uphold it.
But I’m often left wondering….what next?