Friday, September 28, 2012

"I didn't write in order to escape. . . "

                                                   Photo by Sigi Zang
Leslie Feinberg
For millenia, art rendered on every continent has explored themes that are described in today's English-language terms as same-sex love, transsexuality, intersexuality and gender variance—in narratives spoken, rhymed, signed, sung, chanted, acted, danced, smelted, sculpted, drawn, painted, carved, etched, cast and written. In the long, long history of our cooperative human past, story tellers/teachers/hirstorians played a social role, passing on communal knowledge harvested by group labor.

Today in the U.S., an English-language writing career is portrayed like the matchbook-cover offers of my girlhood for bright futures in drawing—the glittering promise of a lottery, a brass ring, fortune and fame, a ticket out. I didn't write in order to escape the working class. I write for those who have little time to read, for whom reading is difficult, and who don't expect to find themselves on pages. I write for those behind bars and barbed wire. For those fighting to narrate their own liberation.
- Leslie Feinberg, excerpt from Lambda Literary Foundation Pioneer Award Acceptance Speech