Now, my suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose… I suspect that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of, in any philosophy.— J. B. S. Haldane, Possible Worlds and Other Essays 286
If there can be a modernity without foundationalism, then it will be one in which the key terms of its operation are not fully secured in advance, one that assumes a futural form for politics that cannot be fully anticipated, a politics of hope and anxiety.— Judith Butler, ‘The End of Sexual Difference?’ 180
Signs of the (queer?) times. Two Michaels legally marry each other in Toronto, while the Vatican pronounces homosexuality ‘objectively disordered’ and lesbians ‘anti-human’ (Congregation; Butler, Undoing Gender 190). Newspaper and TV images show 4,000 lesbian and gay couples lining the steps of San Francisco City Hall for their own legal marriages (shortly followed by those marriages’ annulment in the State of California), while other photographs circulate through the global lesbian and gay media witnessing the hanging of rural Iranian teenagers Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni for sexual acts they were unaware were criminalized under Iranian law. An Italian newspaper proclaims that tolerance for homosexuality has led to a proliferation of genders in the US (male, female, homosexual, lesbian and transsexual) (Butler, Undoing Gender 183), while American fundamentalists claim that 9/11 is God's punishment on the US for allowing homosexuality, feminism, abortion, and the ACLU. Court victories are celebrated in South Africa, Spain, Canada, the Netherlands, and Denmark, entrenching equality and basic human rights for all people regardless of sexual orientation, while Matthew Shepard, a young college student, is beaten, tied to a fence in Laramie, Wyoming, and left to die. At least Shepard's murder is national news, unlike that of 15-year-old Sakia Gunn, an African-American lesbian stabbed to death as she waited at a bus stop in New Jersey; the media neglect of Sakia's death, like its near silence on the executions of gay children in Iran, reminds us that sexuality never exists as a discrete category, but is always inflected by class, gender, race, religion, and nationality.