Welcome to the Second (semi) Annual Queen Mob’s Teahouse Queer Translation Issue. Funny, but between all of the delays (on my part) and procrastination (on my part) the issue comes out right in time for Pride Month. I’ve always had a difficult time with Pride Month, mostly because I get nervous around large crowds of people, but my other conflict with it is more complicated. I can’t stand corporate queerness. I don’t like the idea of homo-nationalism or the persistent practice of it. I want Pride to be something more inclusive, better than what hetero-normative models have to offer. To me, for my queer identity, queerness is the opposite of a shiny, pre-packaged whole. I think it is like any other marginal experience: complex, varied, rough, exciting, but generally average. By average I mean there are highs and lows, good days and shit ones, and I often wonder where exactly my queerness fits into my identity, which parts, which percentages—and I see that it changes almost daily. As I write this from my apartment here in Rome I see a very bleak reality for me and my fellow queer Italians. Our new government has stated in its very first week in office that “queer families do not exist.” That our rights are not a priority. So my stance on pride is that is shouldn’t acquiesce to proving how “normal” we are but should rather change what the norm is. I don’t want to fit into a world in which we treat each other so badly. I want to see differences in identity accepted, not because we can see ourselves in them but because despite not seeing similarities we can still care for one another.
This issue hopefully shares this theme of fragmentation and difference. The queer identities, themes and forms represented here have some things in common but have more differences, perhaps, than anything else. Some of the pieces deal explicitly with queer lives, others queer the very idea of writing and translation. All of these things are valid conceptions of queer literature. If anything my own queerness has taught me to live with these differences, these differences inside of myself and within the community and to stop asking for complete coherence, to see that this fragmented, jagged self is the only self. Last week I was at an art show looking at Piero Manzoni’s work “Egg with Thumbprint.” I was drawn to this piece, and not for its clever notions of authorship so much as because I felt like both the egg and the thumbprint. Being queer, being an artist, being any sort of “different” character, we are both crushed by the identity and wouldn’t be ourselves without it; we are fragmented by it and still intact.
These pieces collected here do not shy away from being marginal. And why should they when the mainstream is so violent and ugly and individualistic? These pieces show so many unique forms of collaboration and vulnerability between languages, cultures, ideas, forms and writers. Some pieces actually reveal the messy process collaboration actually is and how our lives are often entangled in our work. I am honored and excited to share this work with you and I am grateful to all of the authors and artists for their patience and hard work in making this issue.
With love and gratitude,