"People look into space. They seem to be elsewhere, lost in a secrecy the paintings cannot disclose and we can only guess at. It is as if we were spectators at an event we were unable to name; we feel the presence of what is hidden, of what surely exists but is not revealed. By formalizing privacy, by giving it a space where it can be witnessed without being violated."
Mark Strand on the paintings of Edward Hopper. Excerpted from Hopper.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Astronauts on lunar expeditions have
orbited the moon and seen its entire surface. But the rest of us have
never seen more than 59 percent of it. As the moon revolves around the
Earth, it always keeps one side turned away from our view. Isn’t that
amazing and eerie? The second most important heavenly body, which is
such a constant and intimate factor in our lives, is half-hidden. I’d like to
propose that there is an analogous phenomenon in your inner world,
Sagittarius: a part of you that forever conceals some of its true nature.
But I’m pretty sure you will soon be offered an unprecedented chance to
explore that mysterious realm.
— Interview with Justin Torres, author of We The Animals. Granta, 2011.
“Mainstreaming, normality, being normal. I understand how much everybody likes to fit into that mainstream gay and lesbian community. You know, it used to be a wonderful thing to be avant-garde, to be different from the world. I see us revert into a so-called liberated closet, because we, not we, yous of this mainstream community, wish be be married, wish for this status. That’s all fine. But you are forgetting your grass roots, you are forgetting your own individual identity.” Sylvia Rivera, 2001
On Saturday, the American Psychiatric Association board of trustees approved the latest proposed revisions to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, what will now be known as the DSM-V. Moving away from Gender Identity Disorder, the new manual diagnoses transgender people with “Gender Dysphoria,” which describes the emotional distress that can result from “a marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender.”
While many people are praising this as a movement towards acceptance and equality, i find this ruling really complicated. A lot of low income, trans people of color and incarcerated trans people rely on GID diagnosis in order to access Social Security benefits, housing and much needed medical care that would be “cosmetic” otherwise. As the brilliant activist Kiara St James said:
“i have been saying that trans women of color,were able to access housing/medical and even higher education! through the now obsolete dsm.it shows the great divide in our community,and i for one,find it sad.”
A divide that is very much along racial, class, disability lines. Because its not just about access to care and benefits we need to survive, but there’s also an underlying current of anti-mental illness and the push back to not be described as “crazy” or mentally ill, rather than pushing back against the pathologizing process/medical system in general.
““I always think that females are insiders, and that female rebellion starts someplace where you’re really trapped…” - Eileen MylesSheila: Can you explain what you meant when you wrote that females are insiders?Eileen: It started with that idea of males being outsiders, which I had been fed for a long time – the idea that the male artist is howling outside of the culture. He is transcendent, omnipotent, or you know, just a rebel; the institutions can’t hold him. And my own female existence was often about trying to imitate a male existence, because all the images of artists I had were of men, so how could I be like that? How could I be Kerouac? But then persistently seeing that in On The Road the girls were jumping off the roof, the girls were fading into the background. And if I really thought about my female existence, it was very much about what it felt like to be in the Myles family, what it felt like to me at my job – feeling oppressed by who had a crush on me, or who didn’t. Institutions seemed to be places where women were sort of held and prodded, and I would have to figure out my freedom from in there. So often it was a hollow pain; the pain of being inside, not the yop of freedom of being outside. Whether I was in a mental hospital or in a job as a camp counsellor, I was institutionalized. So it began to seem like to get wild and crazy would be to say what that really looked like. To really camp out in being female and say how it is.”
“from my recent interview with Eileen Myles (via sheilaheti)”
…Omg, yes. The idea of the outsider, free to create, is another way of looking at the solitary genius myth which is something we have superimposed on male artists a lot, since medieval times, annoyingly. It seems to be valued as a lone-wolf trait, an alpha thing. When it’s really more like abandonment.