Brilliant Imperfection: Grappling with Cure
Eli Clare is a poet, essayist, activist, and the author of Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation, also published by Duke University Press, and The Marrow's Telling: Words in Motion. He speaks regularly at conferences, community events, and colleges across the United States and Canada about disability, queer and trans identities, and social justice, and his writing has appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies. Clare lives in the Green Mountains of Vermont and can be found online at www.eliclare.com.
How Cure Works
This section explores different ways in which cure functions, starting with how cure research prioritizes the future, often more interested in future-focused eradication than present-day access. These priorities are reflected in the missions and fund-raising strategies of many disability- and disease-specific charity organizations. But once a cure technology is developed and refined, moving from a dream in an imagined future to a current reality, the ways it is accepted or resisted often shift. This analysis is illustrated by the evolving responses in Deaf communities to cochlear implants. Finally, the section examines how the life-saving, life-manipulating, life-prioritizing, and profit-making purposes of cure bolster, oppose, trump, and provide cover for one another, using as an example the pharmaceutical history of the drug eflornithine, which both cures the fatal central African disease of sleeping sickness and removes women’s facial hair.