by pattrice jones
This interview and book review was originally published in the December, 1999 edition of LesbiaNation.
In her recently released book Exile & Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation (South End Press), lesbian feminist and disability rights activist Eli Clare explores the political and emotional terrain of disability, class and sexual orientation by means of personal narratives. In sometimes surprising ways, Clare brings together issues that on the surface seem separate but which she sees as parts of a devastating unified field: environmental destruction and the sexual exploitation of children, homophobic violence and the economic exploitation of workers, cultural bigotry and the exploitation of natural resources.
Some of us, Clare maintains, are more scarred by these things than others, but none of us are unscathed. As she points out, our bodies can be and are “stolen, fed lies and poison, torn away from us…. Stereotypes and lies lodge in our bodies as surely as bullets.” But Clare is not content to simply catalog the damage; she insists that “the stolen body can be reclaimed.”