“Velvet and Pus”: I’m in Commonweal

“Velvet and Pus”: I’m in Commonweal July 8, 2021


And only now, decades later, I’m realizing how much “the Catholic imagination” and one familiar form of queer imagination have in common. These traditions don’t simply overlap because Oscar Wilde and Steven Patrick Morrissey happened to be baptized in the Church (if such a thing could “happen to be”). They overlap because queer culture preserved and exemplified countercultural truths and unwanted beauties. What I found in the Church was at once strange and familiar—and the familiarity, more than the strangeness, was the result of my experience in queer cultures. You may shape your tongue to Church Latin only to find that the words come out in Polari.


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