In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to repeal the Roe v. Wade ruling protecting American women’s right to have a safe and legal abortion, we’ve invited six writers to explore the joys of queer love—as well as the fierce return of discrimination and political repression—and to assess the danger to the future of reproductive and LGBTQ rights in the United States.
Physician and writer Christine Henneberg weighs in on how the reversal of Roe v. Wade has profoundly shifted the balance between right and privilege. In a moving essay on the expression of human compassion between doctor and patient, she describes her firsthand experience as an abortion provider in California. Jon Roemer has a look at the first signs of a slow post-Roe slippage back into the dark days before decriminalization, gay rights, and same-sex marriage as he describes the first rollout of the Moneypox vaccine in the gay community of San Francisco. Bonnie Altucher’s tale of love and sex between two teenaged girls floating through a gritty haphazard universe evokes a seventies New York take on early Godard, while in an excerpt from her first novel, The Teachers’ Room, award-winning playwright Lydia Stryk explores the risks of lesbian love in the 1960s.
A personal essay by Steven Cheslik-DeMeyer sifts through his coming-of-age memories as a young man trying to understand and come to terms with his sexuality in a homophobic world; tracing his experiences on a timeline of rulings extending from Roe to Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell—and as the religious right openly targets these Supreme Court precedents safeguarding the right to abortion, contraception, and same-sex relationships and marriage, he casts a spotlight on just how fragile the victories won for gay rights in America—which at least some of us assumed to be based on permanent and stable rulings—suddenly seem.
German poet and philosopher Alexander Graeff deconstructs the gendering of poetics; in this excerpt of his brilliantly argued essay, he posits a long-overdue corrective to a patriarchal narrative that is all the more insidious for its apparent invisibility. In references to Donna Haraway and Paul Preciado, Graeff explores education, knowledge production, power, and class as they intersect with the binary constraints of gender—and offers an alternative in the form of a contemporary queer poetry whose method of inquiry is tentacular, ambiguous, and inclusive. In a luminous English translation by Jake Schneider.
Finally, from Pinocchio to Kermit the Frog to the avatars and bots of the metaverse: taking a macro view in his piece Puppets, John Reed asks if we’re no more than a simulation in someone else’s gameboy, while Joan Juliet Buck of The Price of Illusion weighs in on the tantalizing tribulations of Second Life, cybersex, and falling in love with an elusive avatar.