Friday, September 10, 2010

"A Queer Time and Place" by Judith Halberstam

A Queer Time and Place opens with this quote from Michael Foucoult, the author of Friendship as a Way of Life, “…To be “gay,” I think, is not to identify with the psychological traits and the visible masks of the homosexual, but to try to define and develop a way of life.” Halberstam makes it clear with the opening of this quote that the concept of attempting to look at homosexuality as not only a marking or a trait, but as an ever changing aspect of what homosexuality means to the person’s life and to the person’s society, is worth doing. Halberstam again brings up Foucault, citing when he wrote “homosexuality threaten people as a ‘way of life’ rather than as a way of having sex.” Halberstam states that many gay, lesbian, and transgendered people live lives comparable to that of heterosexual people but that part of “…what has made queerness compelling as a form of self-description in the past decade or so has to do with the way it has potential to open up new life narratives and alternative relations to time and space.” Halberstam delves into why living in either a rural or urban area of the country can have a major impact on the way people live and are treated. She states that her theory “both confirms that queer subcultures thrive in urban areas and contests the essential characterizations of queer life as urban. Halberstam is also also curious about “gays and lesbians who attended candlelit vigils for Brandon [a transgender murder victim], and even more so for Matthew Shepard, were indeed people who would not be organizing on behalf of gender–variant queers of color. The varied responses to the tragic murders of these two young, white, rural queers have much to tell us about…political activism, space and sexual identity, and the mobilization of trauma.” Halberstam concludes by stating that numerous younger white urban gay and lesbians have grown to dislike labeling, “even as those same identity categories represent the activist labors of previous generations that brought us to the brink of “liberation” in the first place.”

1 comment:

  1. Halberstam means, "queer time" can be different from "straight time" because of how queer people organize their lives, perhaps what they do with their time? And then the question of "space," is it just abut where queer people live? Does Halberstam give any examples? Oh and can you define gender-variant or a provide a link to a definition? And check your spelling and grammar too please?