“My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you,” warns Audre Lorde in her paper The Transformation of Silence Into Language And Action. In this essay, Lorde argues for speaking–the voice–as an essential, if not the most essential, activist tool. She concludes, “The fact that we are here and that I speak these words is an attempt to break the silence and bridge some of those differences between us, for it is not difference which immobilizes us, but silence. And there are so many silences to be broken” (44).
I don’t know about you, dearest Filthy Dreams readers, but the past couple weeks (ok, year) have felt like civilization failed us. Between the murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, the shootings in Dallas, the shootings at Pulse in Orlando, the Brexit vote, the attack in Nice, the failed coup attempt in Turkey and …
What would happen if we looked back–past the contemporary Western civilization that we know? Past governments that try to regulate use of bathrooms depending on the biological sex written on birth certificates? Past governmental restrictions on who can be served at what establishment? Past rigidly constructed sexual and gender identities based on science, law and religion? Past, as Foucault described, biopower and biopolitics? What would happen if we looked back to cultures where there were no identities only acts?
Delving deeper into David Wojnarowicz’s fluid, transitory movement in his writing and art not only further enlightens his artistic style, but also his articulation of his queer sexuality, corresponding to and sometimes directly confronting the focus on queer spaces in queer theory.