Queer theory had a good year in 1987. Three texts of major import for queer thinking were published. Leo Bersani's work took an explicitly queer turn in ‘Is the Rectum a Grave?,’ an essay that rendered the arguments Bersani had formulated during his long career as a literary theorist, beginning from the mid-1960s, relevant to queer thinking energised by the violently phobic reactions to the AIDS crisis. The same year, Judith Butler published her re-worked dissertation, Subjects of Desire: Hegelian Reflections in Twentieth-Century France, in which she brilliantly recuperated Hegel's philosophy from the collective dismissal by its numerous critics. Subjects of Desire is important for queer theory, for in this book Butler extracted from the theory of the dialectic a politically salient account of Hegelian becoming. It is on this re-worked model of Werden that she would three years later, in Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (1990), erect the theory of performativity, perhaps the single most important concept for the institutional recognition of queer thinking.
The third text I have in mind is Gloria Anzaldúa's Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza. In this text, Anzaldúa elaborates on the theory of being and becoming – terms that I use here advisedly – that she had first articulated in the collective project of This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color (Moraga and Anzaldúa 1981, 2nd edn 1983) earlier in the decade.