Like so many others, I’ve been chirping about the end of 2020, as if the transition from one year to the next will somehow magically suture our open wounds.
It has felt hard to state how much I’ve been missing my family lately. But Audre Lorde and Pat Parker’s relationship is a testament to the life-affirming power of queer kinship. Their enduring love attests to the power and beauty of Black queer sisterhood.
To be Black in this world is to be intimate with a kind of living death. It’s an intimacy no one craves, and yet Black people know better than most that Audre Lorde speaks truth to power when she says “we were never meant to survive.”
I am safe nowhere, the Black women in my family of origin and family of choice are safe nowhere. It’s a fact we’ve known but one that feels all the more threatening in the wake of continuing violent injustice for Black women.
In my own myth, New York has been the cornerstone of what shaped me, finally allowing myself to be in my queerness. While the New York I inhabited and the one of Audre Lorde’s life looked radically different, Lorde’s relationships and the women she loves and lusts for each leave her fuller than before.
I’m still angry. Breonna Taylor’s murderers still walk free. Let’s be real, they’re probably running around without masks. Audre Lorde’s sense of restlessness and barely concealed fury are evident. But so, too, is her unwavering belief in our magic.
We are in the middle of a revolution. My Black woman’s anger is here to signal a necessary sea change. Understand that all of our freedoms are bound up in one another.
“I am going to write fire until it comes out my ears, my eyes, my noseholes — everywhere. Until it’s every breath I breathe. I’m going to go out like a fucking meteor!”
This is dedicated to those who are just trying to make it through every day. It’s been gratifying on an almost cellular level to find that the queen mother Audre Lorde can so frequently speak to the times and places in which we find ourselves. Her final book of poetry, “The Marvelous Arithmetics of Distance,” is no exception.
The world tells us that we should not want anything beyond what is here and now, right in front of us, but what’s in front of us is violent and harmful. What’s in front of us is killing us. Wanting for more is such a queer project.
One of the biggest lessons of Audre Lorde’s work is the strength of coalitional politics. I need a movement that can hold my anger. I need a movement that can hold my contradictions. I shouldn’t have to qualify my rage when speaking out about injustice.
I’m pairing Audre Lorde’s 1984 conversation with James Baldwin and arguably her best-known speech, “The Masters Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House” in hopes of exploring how our power and freedom lie in embracing our differences as the source of our strength.
Introducing our new series: Year of Our (Audre) Lorde, a monthly analysis of works by queen mother Audre Lorde as they apply to our current political moment. First, how harnessing our erotic power can help us THRIVE!
SPOILER ALERT: Gender is (sort of) a myth.
Women’s studies. What the f*ck is that? And how the f*ck did it get that way? Let’s find out!
Cara’s Team Pick: Everyone’s favorite Swedish brother-sister electronic duo turns queer theory into crazy atmospheric semi-dance music. FINALLY.
From Queer Nation to queer theory to alphabet soup and umbrellas and the always-dicey process of reclamation.
“You learn, through how you live your body in the world, how power operates and how institutions reproduce oppressive forms of normativity.”
“If hope is an impossible demand, then we demand the impossible.”