55 How Queer Feels

Jayda Delatorre

In thinking about our discussion on Sappho, I was really interested in the idea that queerness can exist a bit more broadly than I had thought before. At first, I felt like it was a bit of a disservice to the queer community to use Sappho as such a “lesbian icon” when we aren’t sure at all that she was a lesbian (there is already so much wishy-washy representation and it sort of felt like settling.) However, after our discussion I was really inspired by the idea that something can feel queer without actually needing that hard definition, because I have noticed that in a lot of other forms of media which I really love. So, in an effort to understand this better and therefore Sappho better, I have made a collage compiling everything that feels queer to me.

Some photos I chose to include were of some of my favorite musicians, Hozier and Mitski. Hozier’s lyrics have always felt like ones so full of love and longing and earthiness. One of his songs “in a week” is literally about decomposing with your loved one, together forever:

“We lay here for years or for hours/ so long we’d become the flowers.”

Some other people who inspired me is the poet Kevin Kantor. They mostly do slam poetry which I’m not as into anymore, but some of their poetry is nearly engraved in my brain. I’ve also included Angel and Papi from Pose, as well as Michiru and Haruka from Sailor moon. Both of these couples feature queerness in some form, but the thing that is most similar between them is the sense of love and companionship. I have also included the poem by Rita Dove “I have been a Stranger in a Strangeland” which tells the story of Adam and Eve, but differently. It describes the garden from Eve’s perspective, the boringness of the monotony, her lack of interest in Adam, until she sees the apple on her own. There is no devil or snake telling her to take it, she just takes it to change things and escape the sameness:

“And there was no voice in her head,
no whispered intelligence lurking
in the leaves—just an ache that grew
until she knew she’d already lost everything
except desire, the red heft of it
warming her outstretched palm.”

I offer no explanation of how this is queer- it just feels right to me.

I used some of Sappho’s poems to tie the whole thing together, as well as some purple violets, of course.


Gender & Sexuality in Ancient Greece Copyright © by Jayda Delatorre. All Rights Reserved.

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