Brilliant Queer Authors Talk About Sex

"Greenwell decided to read an essay as part of the panel — normally a tough thing to pull off, but the audience was floored. He started by quoting a diatribe on the behavior of “militant homosexuals” by the anti-LGBTQ congressman William Dannemeyer. (Dannemeyer was later busted for cruising a public restroom.) Then he plumbed his own childhood, Jordy Rosenberg’s “virtuosic” Confessions of the Fox, and the history of queer persecution and transformation, eventually bringing the crowd to tears. “I imagine queer kids learning to think of their desires with Machado’s, Chee’s, and Yuknavitch’s words in their mouths” — words he’d never had access to as a queer kid in Kentucky. Yuknavitch got down on one knee. “You just got to go to secular church for free,” she told the crowd. “Well, free-ish.”

The final audience question was perfect, allowing the panelists to excoriate the Guardian for its annual Bad Sex Awards, which single out steamy passages for scorn. “I would like to win the Bad Sex Award,” Greenwell said, “because I will go to accept it, and I will give them an acceptance speech like none of them has ever heard.” He concluded, fittingly, with a profanity: “Fuck them.”

Leslie Shipman