Queer Theory Lecture - (Gay) Panic Attack
Thursday, February 23, 2017 - 5:30pm
David L. Eng presents a series of case histories and commentaries on academically accomplished parachute children, all of whom identity as gay. (The term "parachute children" encompasses adolescents and children as young as eight who migrate often on their own from different parts of Asia to English-speaking countries in the West for educational opportunities.) What is striking about their life narratives is not just the self-determination that motivates them but also their common goal of living freely-however they define it-as gay men in the West. Yet, what remains perplexing in nearly every case history of these driven undergraduate and graduate students is the fact that sexuality remains largely tangential to their self-understandings of their psychic predicaments. All have sought therapy because of debilitating panic attacks-high levels of anxiety and stress that rendered them incapacitated, depressed, and dissociated. Strikingly, while they view sexual orientation as key factor in their desires to immigrate, they do not regard it as a significant site of conflict or related to their panic attacks. What, then, is all the panic about? To answer this question, my talk explores the psychic structures of colorblindness and intersectionality among millennials.