According to the stereotype, homosexuality makes us acutely sensitive. Or perhaps it is hyper-sensitivity that predicts or precipitates homosexuality. Isolated, unhappy children; men whose hands flutter as they cry; women ready to rage rather than accommodate: diverse sensitivities are decipherable as homosexual.


Michelangelo, The Creation of Adam, Sistine Chapel ceiling

Indeed, we need to be sensitive enough to hear and follow the faint beat of the inner impulse. We need intuition enough to let us find our way in the darkness of heteronormative thinking, as we seek the warmth and light of our own kind. Like the artists who crawled inside the belly of the earth to create the great cave paintings of Ancient Europe, we never see an overview of the forms we are creating. We cannot experience the world through a one-point perspective, but must develop sixth senses and multiple viewpoints. Highly sensitive, we are always unpredictable. We do not navigate the world trying to prove we are who we think we are. Queer is astonishment, a thunderclap. We inspire both fear and wonder.

Shadow: Each queer person can claim and embrace a self that balances sensitivity with courage, delicacy with strength. Can we hold these opposites without seeking compromise or the cheap solution of indifference? A love that admits our glittering immensity can also admit what is awful and incomplete about us. We have nothing to “be” but this inspired openness that is always just a breath away (the inspiration in each breath).

Related Figures and Attributes: Suffering, Effeminate Man

For more writing on this symbol, see these chapters of Orientation: Mapping Queer Meanings: Suffering, The Aquifer, Annunciation