Please visit the Fall 2012 class website project at Queer Arts Los Angeles Website.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Lazzari, Chad GAYTINO! (insert that other upside down exclamation mark)

Greetings from New York City!

I am sitting in a coffee house on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and it is a fascinating perspective from which to consider Dan Guerrero's story of queer subjectivity, not to mention the histories we are  looking at in class.

I, also, regret not being on campus for such an exciting week, but I was able to attend the Q-Scholars brunch on Monday and spent a good amount of time with Dan; you are all in for a real treat, he is an exciting and energetic storyteller. Wow!

The piece, Beyond the Comfort Zone, was a fantastic read by my estimation, at least insomuch as it examined Dan's work. While I felt the author was a bit obsessed with their newly coined concept of the queer zone of comfort, I have to admit the term is useful in understanding the subjective growth of identity through assimilation. The idea of queer migration; that we, in the face of oppressive heteronormative and hegemonic environments, often need to get away in order to find ourselves, but then feel the need to "come home," practically or spiritually, in order to complete a fuller acceptance and ownership of who we are, is a fascinating story to me from both psychological and sociological perspectives. All that to say: Dan's story, while not a new one from the broader perspective of queer identity narratives, is an important one for the proximal perspective it brings to queer Chicano identity and to Angelino identity, acknowledging Dan's So-Cal roots and the Hispanic heritage we all share in this city. I loved reading it.

I also want to acknowledge the important contribution Dan has made in bringing us an identity tale from pre-stonewall and through the AIDS era. Ours is, by all accounts, a brand new culture. It has emerged from the shadows of oppression only very recently and at lightening speed. It seems to me that the speed of that emergence, not to mention the history-destroying qualities wrought from losing a critical generation to AIDS, threatens to leave us without reliable roots from which to grow. Knowing, hearing, and experiencing queer history from the words of those who lived it is important to an honest assessment of who we are as a people and a culture and not a reliance on a made-up history that serves only politics. I was grateful to experience some of  Dan's contribution.

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