elegy for a queendom that never became


Look at this photograph.  Doesn’t she look like someone we know?  Like it could have been taken outside of Public Assembly at the last Hey Queen! or the crowded sidewalk in front of the Pop-Up Museum of Queer History?  I feel like I saw her somewhere recently, maybe she was crashing on a friend’s couch when I stopped by to say haaay, or maybe she asked me for a light, or maybe we cruised each other at the dyke march…. I can’t ACTUALLY remember, but somehow I know her face.

Except this image is actually from 1992, and given its presence in the Visual AIDS archive there’s a good chance we are looking at a ghost.  Sarah Schulman talks about the phenomenon of the fiercest queens as the ones who died in the Plague, and I often wonder if there’s a psychic link between the wave of deaths in the 80’s and early 90’s and the current generation of young transfolk born at the same time.

I don’t assume that everyone in the images in this gallery identifies as trans or has passed ~ in fact, I’m pretty sure at least some of them are still here, and who even KNOWS about their gender identity.  But there is a larger point to be made about the wisdom passed from one generation to the next, and how much was lost in the fire.

Open to comments both critical and supportive… curious to know what you think.  I’ve been mulling this all year and haven’t reached much of anything yet, to be honest.

Click here to go to the gallery.

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