Chapter 3: Unhappy Queers Diablog

"To arrive into the world is to inherit the world that you arrive into. The family us a point of inheritance, shaping what is proximate to the child (see Ahmed 2006). The queer child fails to inherit the family by reproducing its line. This failure is affective; you become an unhappiness cause."


When a son or daughter comes out to a parent it is not unusual for the response to be "We love you anyway." The "anyway" here is a paradox.

"It is always paradoxical to say that something does not matter; if you have to say something does not matter, it usually implies that it does."

What is stated is "We love you anyway" but what is heard is "I'd rather this wasn't the case because this will stand in the way of not only my happiness because it is not really what I planned for you but will also but will also stand in the way of your happiness because it does not conform to societal ideals of happiness. However, if you insist on making things more difficult for yourself then I suppose that's all right. "

"The father is unhappy as he thinks the daughter will be unhappy if she is queer. The daughter is unhappy as the father is unhappy with her being queer. The father witnesses the daughter's unhappiness as a sign if the truth of his position: that she will be unhappy because she is queer."

Let's take the statement: I am happy if you are. Such a statement can be attributed, as a way of sharing an evaluation of an object. I could be saying I am happy about something if you are happy about something. The statement, though, does not require an object to mediate between the "I" and the "you"; the "you" can be the object, can be what my happiness is dependent upon. I will only be happy if you are. To say I will be happy only if you are happy means that I will be unhappy if you are unhappy. Your unhappiness would make me unhappy. Given this, you might be obliged to conceal your unhappiness to preserve my happiness: You must be happy for me.


If love is to desire the happiness of another, then the happiness of the subject who loves might depend upon the happiness of the other who is loved. As such, love can also be experienced as the possibility that the beloved can take your happiness away from you. This anxious happiness, you might say, forms the basis of an ambivalent sociality: in which we love those we love, but we might also hate those we love for making us love them, which is what makes us vulnerable to being affected by what happens to them: in other words, love extends our vulnerability beyond our own skin. Perhaps fellow-feeling is a form of social hope: we want to want happiness for those we love; we want our happy objects to amount to the same thing. Even if we feel guilty for wishing unhappiness upon our enemies, it is a less guilty wish than wishing unhappiness upon our friends. In other words, our presumed indifference toward the happiness of strangers might help us to sustain the fantasy that we always want the happiness of those we love, or that our love wants their happiness.


What about being unhappy? What does this mean? Does this mean queers need to be sad and wretched? The killjoy? Is unhappiness necessary? Can you be a happy queer? What does that mean? Does happiness come when you queer heteronormative standards? When you have a family? When you have children? Or does happiness come you deviate from any type of heteronormative expectations?

It is interesting to think of these questions and wonder what it means to be really happy or unhappy. Such ways of thinking help use to imagine living a life that is different from the "normal "ideals of happiness - whatever that may be. Freedom to be unhappy means freedom in itself. It would mean the freedom to cause unhappiness by acts of deviation.

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