Clowns are Queer Things
Other than the outward flamboyance, I have been thinking about the parallels between clowns and queerness.
I feel the word ‘Fool’ in the same place I feel the word ‘Queer’. Queer as springtime, young and naïve and foolish. The fool card in the tarot is an androgynous figure, all long hair and fine features. They are both othering words – not damning descriptors like their extreme counterparts ‘Idiot’ or ‘Faggot’, lighter terms that still suggest an unavoidable otherworldliness, a different reality. They both suggest a humility borne of being constantly maligned in this world.
Many queer people feel a need to re-parent themselves. To re-learn the techniques to support themselves practically and emotionally in the world. Through childhoods spent being perceived as a gender other than your own, bullied, harassed and shamed, there can be little space to explore what it means to live joyfully and fully as a queer child. Clowning is a kind of re-parenting, learning to listen to the most playful and childish part of you, trusting and encouraging yourself to interact with people from that place. Teaching yourself it is safe to show up in the world. It is learning how to live your life driven by the urge to connect, to learn from one another and bring silliness and celebration to everything you do.
I wanted to put something online about clowns and queerness that wasn’t about John Wayne (Bloody) Gacey and his bloody murderous ways with young men. To start a conversation with myself, my clown and my queerness. Next it will be an interview with some queer clowns, I think.
Here’s to allowing ourselves to be seen, beyond the fear.
For more resources about the intersections between clowns and identity from a queer clown, check out Maud @daintyfunk on Instagram or Youtube :