mah tongue is in my friend’s mouf —Zora Neale Hurston Soon after I completed high school, I worked at a small nursing home. Every few months, a certain kind of patient would come in: a young man, brought by family, rarely visited, visibly wasting. This was before antiretrovirals. He seemed terribly isolated and resigned. He … Continue reading Watching Pose from Nairobi
Category is: Live! Work! Pose!—Pray Tell The second episode of Pose focused on work: the care work of being the mother of a house; the political work of challenging transphobic, misogynist, gay white publics; the have-to-eat work performed by Blanca in a nail salon and Angel in a peep shop; the freedom work of expanding … Continue reading Category is: Work!
A point of departure: The advent of HIV/ AIDS is the moment that captures the real energies made possible by the outpouring of the carnal pleasures that Stonewall unleashed. Stonewall was queer sexual liberation, alongside heterosexual liberation, but HIV/ AIDS was citizen-making; the distinction is important. HIV/ AIDS worked to produce a very particular and … Continue reading Queer Returns
A peculiar anxiety marks E. Patrick Johnson’s introduction to No Tea, No Shade. It emerges as repeated assurances that younger scholars respect and follow the work of older scholars. Listen: The black queer “children” who came of age during the burgeoning stages of black queer studies also learned from the lessons of their foremothers and … Continue reading No Tea, No Shade
I have been having trouble thinking-feeling about Kwanda—acted by the beautiful Niza Jay Ncoyini. I am always undone by scenes of anti-queer violence, from the insults and bullying to the beatings and killings. I am undone when queerness is treated as a synonym for disposability. Undone because of the impossible demand that truncation not be … Continue reading Inxeba: Kwanda
Inxeba is a sensitive exploration of toxic masculinity and repressed same-sex love, set against the backdrop of Ulwaluko, an initiation rite into manhood practised by the amaXhosa. —Pierre de Vos In a country that has always celebrated diversity, Inxeba asks of Xhosa men whether they are able to welcome people who are queer, or whether they have to … Continue reading Inxeba
They are sitting alone, dreaming a world, wishing for a little tenderness. Wishing for a different kind of tenderness, not the limp-stumble, bruise-soft after that lingers, not the aloe-rubbed, ice-packed relief, not the gravel-hard calluses where tenderness used to be. And now the thick-thick scar tissue where tenderness cannot be. The question of whether tenderness … Continue reading tender(ness)