Antigone’s claim signifies the refusal to participate in the heterosexual matrix. Laws become normative, they become ‘facts,’ when they are continuously recited. Antigone’s suicide is not inevitable as Lacan might contend since, in Lacan’s reading, the symbolic depends on the suppression of incestuous relations. Rather, Antigone’s suicide signifies a refusal to participate in a system that might have saved her. The law cannot make her give up her incestuous love for her brother or compel her to assume a normative heterosexual position. In Butler’s mind, what’s important about her suicide is that the narrative does not end with the affirmation of heterosexuality. Antigone’s claim is that alternative forms of sexuality are possible.
Do the suicides of queer people in our society signify not only the psychological damage of a heterosexual matrix but also the refusal of queer people to participate in it? I have definitely been feeling the toll of this system on my life. In the past three months, I have spent a lot of time researching and following news on homophobia. Four months ago, I would have said, “it is inevitably going to get better.” Now, I am not so sure. I am not sure if it is the recognition that four months ago, I was naive or if something changed in those four months. I am under the recognition that life does not necessarily get better, but rather we get stronger. Perhaps that’s why I cling so much to beloved community as conceptualized by King, Jordan, and the SNCC (the early SNCC). It is a means of bringing utopia to earth. It represents the best of Christianity. My interpretation of it is a means of seeing queer culture in action, in existence: flourishing. It’s a grand dream, to be sure. Can queerness be redemptive? Yes!
Nevertheless, I am finding myself wonder, “can I ever get stronger?” Will the sensitivity that I feel for the plight of queer persons, or people perceived to be queer ultimately lead me to the same fate as Antigone? It’s not to say that I am suicidal. It’s to say that part of me is losing hope and that’s dangerous. I hear everyday things like, people arguing that homosexuals in the TSA can only pat down people of the opposite sex, or that the South Carolina Southern Baptist convention promotes that while they should treat queers with compassion that they need to uphold biblical values “against all onslaughts” (notice the rhetoric of war here).
Speech hurts. I’m losing hope. Maybe the messiah will come soon and say, “what the fuck?” Maybe God will finally speak and say, “what the hell have you done to my earth?” If only things were that easy. Can I get stronger?
Dear God, please make us stronger. please allow us to floursh. Love always, and with all my heart, one of your creations.