Brainstorming (Queer) Family Values


Texts in our course thus far that deal centrally with the idea of a queer “family” (beyond time, biology …), however differently defined and imagined:

  • Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest
  • Todd Haynes (dir.), Velvet Goldmin
  • Radclyffe Hall, The Well of Loneliness
  • Alison Bechdel, Fun Home
  • Leontine Sagan (dir.), Girls in Uniform 
  • Jennie Livingston (dir.), Paris Is Burning

What are some other texts, authors, contemporary performers (e.g. in literature, film, or examples from popular culture) you know that deal somewhat centrally with this idea, too?  (List as many as you like below; feel free to add a brief commentary if you are so inclined.)

  • Margaret Cho   -PDT
  • Jeanette Winterson, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit   -PDT
  • Freud, Totem and Taboo (included because of the way it queers the family through deep time) -H.D.
  • Queer anthems like “YMCA” and “We Are Family” -H.D.
  • Le Tigre (LOVE THEM!!!) -H.D.
  • Of Montreal -H.D.
  • Audre Lorde (esp. Zami and “The Black Unicorn”) -H.D.
  • Lots of Roald Dahl like Boy, James and the Giant Peach, The Witches, and Matilda H.D
  • Rocky Horror Picture Show (queer family as literally created) – er
  • Rick and Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple in All the World – LY
  • BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR, dir. Abdellatif Kechiche — W
  • A SINGLE MAN dir. Tom Ford – W
  • THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT  dir. Lisa Cholodenko – W
  • BEGINNERS (so good, if you haven’t seen it) dir. Mike Mills – W
  • THE BIRDCAGE dir. Mike Nichols – W

What are some traditional, usually heterosexually connected, family values and desires in our culture?  (List as many as you like below; add brief commentary if you like.)

  •  marriage   -PDT
  • having kids   -PDT
  • modesty -H.D.
  • privacy -H.D.
  • monogamy/exclusivity -H.D.
  • financial stability -H.D.
  • racial and ethnic homogeneity -H.D.
  • age similarity -H.D.
  • love ? – er
  • strength of nuclear family- LY
  • similar class backgrounds – LY
  • honesty/monogamy – W
  • sexual fulfillment – W
  • emotional support – W

From the texts we are studying in this course (literature and film), what are some queer family values and desires you’ve noticed?  

(List as many as you like below; add brief commentary if you are so inclined.)

  • there’s often a search for queer role models or/and ancestors, to find points of identification and comparison   -PDT
  • radically different origins–and analogously, from a formal perspective, generic mixing and seamless transitions between art forms (e.g., ekphrasis, musicals, synesthesia) -H.D.
  • Multiple and conflicting autobiographical narrations -H.D.
  • Relationships formed under some kind of oppression  – er
  •  selective omissions, re-definition of truth – LY
  • a sense of almost un-questioned acceptance of ones sense of individuality – W

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