Queer Bodies are the Wreck

In Eli Clare’s book Exile and Pride the chapter “the mountain” there is this passage, “The body as a home, but only if it is understood that bodies are never singular, but rather haunted, strengthened, underscored by countless other bodies” (Clare 11). In this passage I think that Clare has clear repetition when it comes to the theme of collectiveness. This is made evident to me when he mentions the phrase “never singular” and the word “countless” with these references he is committing to the idea that the identities of people are not fixed by their own individual experiences but rather they are in some part motivated by other people’s experiences which can cast a shadow on their own life. He is saying s the people around us play a part in how we understand ourselves and our bodies. This doesn’t seem to be dependent on just familiar relations such as parents or siblings but it can be the stories and voices of other people within a group that individual possibly finds home in. In this case, I will focus on how acknowledging the stories and bodies of other people in the LGBTQ community can help strengthen one’s view of their own identity and what queer can mean for them. One of the main class themes that we learned about after reading Adrienne Rich’s “Diving into the Wreck” was the idea of not just hearing the stories of the oppressed people or the “wreck” but seeing “the thing itself and not the myth” (Rich 102). By this I think she means that we must not get these LGBTQ experiences second hand and instead should hear of them from the people who are apart of this community. The voices and bodies of other queer people are meant to be heard so that they can help a queer person understand their identity better which is what makes reading LGBTQ literature like the one that Clare’s passage comes from so important.

One thought on “Queer Bodies are the Wreck”

  1. This is such a beautiful and meaningful connection across our class materials! I wanted to touch on your point of how both of these texts insinuate that our own identities are formed by others, particularly through community. I think this speaks to how queerness has multiple intersectional definitions that are unique to us as individuals, yet the idea of being queer is so largely dependent on the work we do as a collective. Much of Clare’s work in Exile and Pride pushes for queer advocacy to adopt a fully inclusive agenda, and he expresses his gradual frustration with the “us versus them” mentality of LGBTQ+ politics over time. Though the gender/sexual minority population is doing good, hard work towards queer rights and inclusion, they have inherently excluded a lot of queer people whose identities are confounded and conflated with many other dimmensions. For me, all of this is really saying that our identities should be informed by our ENTIRE community, rather than the majority group that has the power to speak the loudest.

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