This article examines the role of pugilistic gesture and form in queer performance, focusing on Franko B’s Milk & Blood (2015) and Cassils’s Becoming an Image (2012). Walsh considers how pugilism functions as a mode for “working out” queer fights—personal and cultural—that offers us a performative complement or reverse-orientation to Sigmund Freud’s psychologically centered idea of “working-through” (1914). Reading these pugilistic performances along the slide between working through and working out—their psychic and material practices and effects—allows us to perceive the body as both the object of loss and trauma and, in practiced form, the key instrument of processing change. It compels us to keep the body at the center of debates of traumatic intervention and negotiation in queer studies and beyond, as the fighting bodies themselves appear to insist.

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