Written in 1987 in response to the aids emergency unfolding in the United States, Leo Bersani’s “Is the Rectum a Grave?” is often described as an early entry into the strain of queer theory that offers queerness as tarrying in abjection, failure, and antisociality. This essay, however, is much more interested in thinking about the ways Bersani mobilizes connections to femininity in “Is the Rectum a Grave?” As Bersani moves from “women and gay men” to “average, law-abiding family” to “being a woman,” femininity haunts, each of these individual nodes further illuminating an insight about femininity with and without women.

You do not currently have access to this content.