Who is Eli Claire?

After researching the life of Eli Claire, I have always admired his writing. Throughout Claire’s successful career as writer he’s written two non-fiction books Brilliant Imperfection: Grappling with Cure (2017) and Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation. One particular period of his life that I chose to highlight is the period in which he explores the crossover of having a disability and being queer.  During this time of his writing, he explores two separate marginalized groups that come together into their own as they are both disabled and queer.  This subject is not often touched upon, which is why I admire this work of his.  Through his research and discussions with disabled queer persons, Clare was able to publish “Stolen Bodies, Reclaimed Bodies: Disability and Queerness”.  On their own, someone who is queer faces their own struggles of acceptance in society, and the same goes for people who are disabled, when someone falls into both groups of society, we see the exploration of someone overcoming the obstacles of both marginalized groups combined.  Through his writing we are educated on the life of a person who is both disabled and queer and I believe that during this period of his life Claire was trying to provide a wakeup call to society on the reality of these people’s lives.  Discrimination is prejudicial treatment and unfairness based on physical appearance. In society, transgender is a personal identity that an organization has classified as a “barrier” for social inclusion.   Eli introduced the idea that being different is “NOT” being wrong.  This is a standard that society needs to meet and introduces the need to change the views of those who have radical ideals of society.

3 thoughts on “Who is Eli Claire?”

  1. I’ve read Eli Clare for a prior class (with Professor Kersh funnily enough), and I quite loved everything he had to say in Exile and Pride which we read for class. I especially loved his views on disability and intersectionality, as his queerness also plays a big part in how people view him. I really especially appreciated his views on environmentalism as well, and how it relates to these themes. He has a great understanding of oppression and power dynamics which really helps inform how intersectionality ties many of these things together, and I just think he occupies such an important and unique area that enables us to gain further perspective on marginalized groups that don’t often get to have enough of a say in literature or elsewhere.

  2. Thanks for this piece, Maddy; an airplane view into Eli Clare’s work. I love the dissonance in the structure of your first sentence: “After researching the life of Eli Claire, I have always admired his writing;” poses a chicken and egg tension, no? The temporality “After” and “always” seem to be at odds here, but perhaps isn’t. Being “Queer” and “Disabled” are too broad to be coherently defined into a single experience; what is the context for Eli Clare? How did he explore his experiences specific to himself? Good luck!

  3. This is a great post! I think that’s a great choice to investigate his work when he writes about being disabled and queer. To my knowledge, it is not popular for queer authors to write about disabilities they may also have. But, of course if there’s an author who can relate, there is an audience who relates. I wonder if Claire has found that what he does to overcome the discrimination of one of these difficulties if that could help him to live with the other. I could see this work being a great conversation starter, to bring attention to a topic not popularly advocated for, and unite those who face these challenges. I think Eli Claire is still looking for help himself and would appreciate to have these thoughts be a conversation with others.

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