The homosexual is a living symbol of perversion, inversion, reversal. We represent the need that arises in time of crisis – whether personal or social – to upset and reverse the established order.

Perthshire, England, Swastika, c. 9th C. AD

When we are “perverted” by desire, we are turned around and connected with a cosmogonic energy. This is the archetype represented by despised gods, who are murdered by mobs, only to become immortal. It is acknowledged in the enormous legacy of myths and legends that reveal the spiritual through shit or buffoonery. Perverse energy is described graphically by a spiral or philosophically as a dialectic; it grasps the coincidence of opposites and refers to an interconnected whole.

Shadow: Attention to the archetype of perversion instructs us on the creative function of difference. In places where homosexual difference is denied, we may find that prejudice has only become more secret. The wish for our annihilation is expressed politely, as a wish for our assimilation: “We are no different,” or, “It makes no difference to me.” The space between the toleration of difference and the annihilation of difference is too easily bridged. Difference creates dialectic, opposition, paradox, and the possibility of transformation. By inventing, exploring, preserving and proclaiming queer difference, we enable creative change in society and in each heart.

Related Figures and Attributes: Clown, Abnormal

For more writing on this symbol, see these chapters of Orientation: Mapping Queer Meanings: Introduction, Tree God, Laughter