Queer Literature

a study of sexuality in literature

Some Interesting Queer History

by griffin325

This clip is from the Tasmanian Theatre Company’s performance of I Am My Own Wife, a play which centers on Charlotte von Mahlsdorf. If anyone is interested in queer history and specifically trans history, her story is incredibly fascinating – Charlotte survived the Third Reich as an openly trans woman and an active member of the queer community of East Germany. There is still debate about whether she should be lauded as queer hero or not, as she may have also been a Stasi informant.

This play is fascinating in its approach to gender and gender performativity, not only as in its content but also in the way the information is presented. This is a one-man show, and the actor performs 30 characters of various genders (including Charlotte, the American playwright interviewing her, Charlott’s Nazi father, Charlotte’s colleague Alfred, and various other characters).


Urloved Photography

by shererj

Recently in the Bay area, a photography company called, Urloved refused service to a same-sex couple based solely on the fact that they were same-sex.  This photography company focuses on photographs of weddings.  They ended up changing their policy all together and would no longer photograph any couple to avoid being charged.  It is illegal to discriminate against same-sex couples this way in California.  I think it is absolutely ridiculous that instead of serving this couple and being more excepting, that they changed their policy altogether and would not serve any couple.  I think that these people need to be more open minded.  The name of their photography company is ‘Urloved’ but they really don’t seem to be sending this message.  I read an article that was commenting on this incident and saying that they think it is unfair as well.  They also owned a photography company and they are accepting of all couples. They started realizing that “many photographers say gay clients are welcome only to discover they’ve never photographed any same-sex couples. It becomes apparent that these claims were less a show of solidarity and more so a marketing method for gay (and ally) dollars”.  This just shows that there is still progress to be made and the struggle never seems to end.

-Jaclyn Sherer



by burrm3

There are many sides to a person that others do not, cannot, or do not need to see. I question quite frequently people’s obsession with authenticity. I see the guy next to me in the disability resource center giving me weird looks because I seem perfectly able, and he is wheelchair bound. I see people look at me funny because I refuse to read out loud in class. I have dyslexia, a learning disability that makes reading, writing, math, and pretty much anything on paper incredibly difficult for me to process. But, unless I told you, or you watched me try to read out loud you would never know that I have dyslexia. This inability to tell upon seeing me that I have a learning disability, makes people constantly question my authenticity. I find this so much more with the disabled community. Why is it that we question each other more than people on the outside looking in? People need proof for everything in our world, if we can’t see it, we refuse to believe it. Many people have no problem arguing the prescence of a higher power, but the mention of invisible disability? How dare you. Help me out here people! WHY?

Oranges and Sweet Sister Boy

by trana20

Reading Oranges and Sweet Sister Boy by Judy Ruiz, touched a place close to home for me personally. I’ve always prided myself in thinking that i’m an open minded person that I would be able to accept people for who they were as long as they were good people. When a close friend of mine confided in me about thinking they were a gender different than the one they were born with i didn’t know how to feel. At that point in my life i had never really thought about genders other than male or female i didn’t know trans people existed because in my world at the time it was not something i was aware of. At the time i felt lost, i didn’t know how to help one of my closest friends when they were lost. The one thing i love about todays world is that technology made the world a smaller place in a way. On the internet people have found places where they feel like the belong.

Many people criticized that technology has made people less social but i feel like it’s done the complete opposite and connected people who may have never met and save lives of people may have given up.

My Brother is Now my Sister

by kellamn

My Brother is Now my Sister

~Nicole Kellams~

What if your brother one day became your sister? A similar thing happened in “Oranges and Sweet Sister Boy”. I related to the story because I have a brother who I do identify as being a ‘boy’ and can’t truly imagine him becoming a sister. This may be easier to transition into if he gave indications of not liking being a ‘boy’ and wanted to be a girl. It would be much more of a shock if just one day, out of the blue my brother did become my sister.

The character in the story had a little bit more of an indication that something like this was going to happen. A big clue was that the brother dressed in drag most Halloweens’. But still it seemed that the main character had problems accepting this change of identity. Why I think it would be a big change is because you then feel that you do not truly know what your sibling is like if you have to change such a huge part of them in your perception.

In the end what should happen is to accept your sibling despite what gender they choose to be, who they choose to love, and what they choose to do in their own lives. To support them through these changes and to accept that it is their life and they are living it like they want. they will still be the same person, only with a different identification for themselves.

Thoughts on MLDQ

by sarrahvz

What is the all-encompassing concept that one can take from this book? This novel seems to identify two different types of “populations”, or “cultures”, that we often look at—the population of disability, as well as the population of queer sexuality. In Galloway’s case, both of these worlds collide, and it is interesting to see how both of these identities play out for her. In Galloway’s life, I think, her disability played more of a role in the conflicts of her life than her sexuality. Indeed, there wasn’t actually any mentioned problem with her sexuality besides coming out to her parents (which turned out better than she had expected), and her own personal frustrations to be able to sexually express herself. Her being deaf, however, was the ultimate contributor to her story and how she came to be. If this book didn’t happen to be used for a Queer Literature class, one might be more apt to focus on the conflict of her disability than her sexuality. Her disability did complicate her sexuality, which is important to note as it is also for this reason that her disability takes a dominate role in the memoir as an internal conflict. There was actually one sex scene where she talked about engaging with other women, and it wasn’t until she changed the position of her face to watch what her partner was saying that Galloway was able to adjust and get into the groove of what was going on so as to please her partner (see page 130), and even then the other woman usually would switch positions and take over being on top.

It is interesting to think that something like a disability could make someone completely different from the rest of the population. We perceive sexuality to act the same way because the choices of sexual excursion are what make queer people different from the rest of the population. But sexual behavior and need is innate, whereas disabilities are usually physical hindrances, including being deaf, blind, paralyzed, or even mentally impaired in some kind of way. These physical instances are something that cannot be changed, compared to how up until  recently it seems that psychologists thought that they could change the minds of the queer patients they are given to become a “normal heterosexual” like the rest of the population.

by greerl820

As we stumble into our final post for this quarter, I’d like to look at it in regards to reflection to some of the content we’ve discussed in the past. I’m sure many of you are away of the decision that was made regarding the Mike Brown Grand Jury hearing and how Darrell Wilson failed to be indicted. Looking at the talk that we listened to by Leslie Feinberg about the history of The Stonewall Riots, we are still today working and fighting within a system of oppression.

I found the juxtaposition of the whole situation jarring and it feels as with we are simply repeating the past, and although one minority level obviously doesn’t equate to another, we can almost look at this in that the media is performing some universalizing qualities whilst also ignoring the minority aspects of it. The way the situation with Mike Brown is playing out just goes to show how little we have in fully discussing past oppressions, and that we has a society can only grow and actually learn once we understand how the different levels of intersectionality and oppression actually do affect us all. I hope that our strong impact to simply discuss things in a more open context helps change history and how we can better help these various forms of oppression.

-L. Greer

Beautiful Mature Deaf Queer

by allisonsoergel

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Mean Little Deaf Queer more so than any other book read this quarter. I think one of the main reasons why I liked it so much was because Terry Galloway really put the reader into her own life. I was phonetically sounding out my words with her and covering my eyes in order to feel the silent world she lives in and that is a powerful thing to achieve as an author and I applaud her. Not for just her technique but for her life overall; the struggles of being deaf, moving from place to place not knowing how your sexuality stands, and coming to terms with all of this through a theatrical personality.

I enjoyed the contrast in the novel as well. From her hiding her hearing aids and being ashamed to proudly acting on stage and being the comic relief. From wanting to become a male as a child to accepting her femininity and finding a partner later in life. And also from her brief episode of bulimia and self hate to becoming the person she always thought she would be (despite the efforts of high school counselors and people met along the way). I think these contrasts are what connected her to her personality, sexuality, and expression. The years of self hate sent her to live a life where she was the entertainer, she was the center of attention, not because she was disabled but because she was funny and through that was powerful.

I titled this blog post in a way that shows the journey Terry Galloway experienced from Germany to Texas and from cowboy outfits to Marilyn Monroe and I think this makes her a Beautiful Mature Deaf Queer that I have come to admire.

-Allison Soergel

Perceptions of the Narrator

by monicaronquillo

In “Oranges and Sweet Sister Boy” the narrator was the sister of the queer character in the story; I found this to be a new perspective as most of the pieces we have read have been told from the point of view of a queer character. I really felt like this piece gave the reader the chance to see what the “coming out” process is like from a family member’s view point. I thought it was creative of Ruiz to create the sister character as someone who is schizophrenic and has an anxiety disorder. To me this seemed to make me find the relationship between how the sister processed the news that her brother is now her sister and how other family members may react or process this news even without being schizophrenic. I really loved how the piece brought the reader along for the questions and acceptances the narrator had to come to terms with in her own mind to realize that she no longer had a brother but instead a sister. The end of the story was my favorite because after the sister’s struggle to come to terms with her brother’s new identity yet even through it all she final comes to see her new sister and love her just as much as she loved her when she was her brother.

Ask A Lesbian

by sharpc3

So recently BuzzFeed posted this video titled “Ask a Lesbian” where standup comedian Camron Esposito answered 11 questions on what it is like to be a lesbian. As of now the video has received over 3,881,221 views on FB and has been reposted by the Huffington Post and George Takei. It is very interesting that this would be a thing. On the one hand I have heard many of my friends who identify as LGBTQ complain that ‘coming out’ for them meant that many people then felt the license to ask them a whole manner of personal questions (like “Since you’re a couple and you’re around each other a lot, do you’re periods synch together?”) that you would never consider asking in another social situation. This topic on this forum is then particularly pertinent. On the other hand many of the questions and their answers are relayed with so much snark and sarcasm that the audience is supposed to find the ridiculousness of the question quite apparent (like the answer to the aforementioned question: “Yes, and we also dress exactly alike and walk four abreast. Is exactly like the movie The Craft.”) However there is also a serious moment when the music stops and the sarcasm ends. IT is when she addresses opponents of gay marriage on the basis of ‘protecting the children.’ She eloquently responds that there are little gay children and children with gay parents, then asks “so, what children are you talking about?”

Of course, this is only a 2:33min video so there is some very specific editing going on. They received almost 3,000 questions and narrowed it down to 11 then crafted short answers to each. Judith Butler would criticize that this completely participates in the totalization of the ‘I’ for lesbians and treats lesbians as if they all feel and act the same. However, as the questions are framed as asking her specifically, this may not necessarily be a problem. But it does ignore lesbians who identify as femme, by only focusing on butch lesbians. It also focused on white seemingly middle/upper-middle class women. Would the video receive the same amount and type of attention if women of color, with disabilities, or were visibly lower class? Should those intersections be eliminated fore a streamline focus or is that just an excuse for erasure? What does it say that these questions and their responses are funny?