Tennessee Williams: We Are Human

Duane Michals

Interview with Tennessee Williams
Conducted by James Grissom
New Orleans
Deleted from Follies of God: Tennessee Williams and the Women of the Fog (Knopf)

It simply isn't enough to be queer, you know? I'm proud to be queer--gay, homosexual, odd, inverted--whatever the term. There are people who want me to be solely that, to cater to a theatrical community that identifies most strongly or solely as queer, but I find this most unhealthy and dishonest. I am queer, but I am many other things. I don't trust people who are solely queer, any more than I trust those who are dominantly heterosexual or persistently Episcopalian or Catholic; adamantly American, plastered with flags and jingo; passionately Southern or Western. 

If we were capable of sectioning--I'm thinking here of those marvelous portions of the Encyclopedia, where you lift sections and see different parts of the body or lift sections and see the earth at various times in the world--we would find that we are made up of so many things and places. We're probably all a little bit black and Semitic; a little bit gay and straight; a little bit Republican and Democratic and Socialist; a little bit antisocial and a bit manic.

We are human, and I have decided that I would rather be known as a human, primarily, than as a queer or as a writer or as a Southern person. I think if we all subscribed more to our humanity, things would work out far more nicely.

©  2017  James Grissom


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