September 2, 2015 / Perspective
This essay draws on Judith Halberstam’s The Queer Art of Failure to discuss the relationship between queerness and children.
In this issue of The Other Journal, we seek to further explore and understand this deeply woven connection between our locations and our lives, between our land and our souls. The essays, artwork, and poetry in this issue consider this primitive and intimate connection. From snuffling bears in the Northwest backcountry to the magic of twinkling lights on California palms, from the cathedrals of Wales to the hardwood forests of Shenandoah and the trash-covered banks of Corpus Christi Bay, from contemporary bioregional praxis and the practice of reinhabitation to Saint Justin Martyr and the kingdom of God, we investigate the many and multifaceted ways that geography gives shape and content to our lives. And we especially hope to illuminate the broken places, for as Andrew Arndt says, “wherever there is pain, wherever there is struggle, wherever there is brokenness and hurt, wherever there is conflict, wherever there is paradox, wherever there is contradiction and chaos, wherever the human struggle for integration and wholeness is present, those are the places God is present and calling us.”
While Halberstam’s articulation of the concept of “queer forgetfulness” is rich and widely applicable, we may not want to be too quick to assume that forgetfulness can function as a normative concept. In respect to economically marginalized groups, such as African Americans in the United States, forgetting and forming the new kinds of queer kinship bonds Halberstam speaks about may simply be impossible. Within certain minority groups family bonds and the memory of the past may well be necessary for survival and act as the material through which creative transformation of the past emerges.