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Corbett, K. (1997). Speaking Queer: A Reply to Richard C. Friedman. Gender and Psychoanalysis, 2(4):495-514.

(1997). Gender and Psychoanalysis, 2(4):495-514

Speaking Queer: A Reply to Richard C. Friedman Related Papers

Ken Corbett, Ph.D.

Freedom is what you do with what has been done to you

[Sartre, 1946, p. 495].

Readers who have followed this exchange will not be surprised to learn that Richard C. Friedman and I hold differing views regarding protogay gender experience. However, both the content and the tenor of Friedman's accusatory protest point beyond our views on protogay gender to a foundational disagreement between us: Our beliefs about authority, specifically, what constitutes a truth claim, who is invested with the power to speak, and how that invested speaker may utter the truth. Friedman moves toward “setting the record straight.” I was striving to queer the record, to experiment with a queer inflection within psychoanalytic discourse.

It is not my intent to stake out a heterosexual-homosexual divide. Indeed, I find such simplistic divisions deeply troubling. The degree to which one's approach to the protogay subject is influenced by one's sexuality is open to considerable variation. One could argue, as does LeVay (1996), for example, that gay people have a “privileged insight into their own natures” (p. 7). While I appreciate and share the commonsense recognition of the potential for empathy among those for whom imaginative identification can be more readily achieved, I believe we must, nevertheless, recognize that no form of knowledge or empathic access is free from the impact of wish and will (including the

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Ken Corbett is a Candidate, New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis.

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