August 15, 2018

Yasmin Nair Quote


Because I am actually, surprisingly, deeply optimistic. And I can give you historical examples. I’ll give you an example: when people talk about queer history, we tend to forget that there was a time, just to take the most recent history, there was a time in the 30s and 40s when to be outed as gay was the end of your life. And it was completely unrealistic to ever imagine a world where you could actually be out. And if that has changed today, to a degree, it is because we had relentless hope! [Laughter.] There’s this crazy optimism that we had. But if you fast-forward just a few decades, think about the ‘80s, and you think about the fact that the reason why we ever got anything resembling healthcare for queer people, the reason we got even just one motherfucking AIDS drug, ever, was that a whole ton of people—with many of whom I have many differences over marriage, since their radicalism turned out to be bound to a time and place—but a whole lot of very angry queers fucked up the system, and said “You can’t even conceive of the idea that I could die peacefully in a hospital, but I’m going to tell you that it has to be possible. You can’t even conceive of me as a person who deserves life, but I’m going to tell you that you need to work on pharmaceuticals for me.” I mean queer history has always been about demanding the impossible. And, you know, call it optimism, call it brashness, call it just a refusal to take no for an answer… So when people come to me and say, oh, you’re not being realistic, I want to ask, well, what motherfucking revolution has not been unrealistic?

- Yasmin Nair

[from An Interview with Yasmin Nair, Part Two: The Ideal Neoliberal Subject is the Subject of Trauma]


No comments: