All of Caffyn’s books and programs are rooted in a queer ecological imagination, which they have been exploring through art and writing since the 1980’s.
Caffyn describes Queer as a relationship with nature that contradicts capitalism and colonialism. The capacity for transformation, that brings us from expected modes of life to who we are, brings us into alignment with the transforming world – flowing rivers, flowering plants, and dramas of metamorphosis, birth and rebirth. Queer means we challenge borders and erase boundaries. We transform established patterns, live and thrive where it seems we cannot. The extraordinary persistence of same-sex passions, throughout history and around the world, is evidence not of reproduction, but of magic.
Western culture deprives people of magic, just as it cleaves them from place. Separated from the earth and one another, they lose the capacity for storytelling, shape-shifting, tracking animals or talking to them. Nature is seen on TV, through a car window, or confined to parks. Wild is a resource and a refuge, never a home. Both the culture which rewards exploitation of nature and the resistance culture of the environmental movement are shaped by this view of nature as other. Being queer allows us to dream and to live a more intimate relationship with the natural world. Queering nature may mean that instead of preserving or protecting, observing or extracting wildness, we can come home. Mythic, magic, medicinal knowledge of the wild world is part of every human culture that is rooted in place. Coming home means recovering these powers in a community that includes every form of life. Home is an idea of nature that admits a place for human capacities and needs, and tells stories of human loyalty and love for plants, animals and water. With queer as our premise and viewpoint, we cannot see humans as irrevocable enemies of wildness, any more than we can see the wild world as a territory to conquer, or a series of resources to extract. To queer nature is to claim a kinship with all life, embracing the world’s diversity and interconnectedness. We are wild and wild is us.
QueerMap: Mapping Queer Meanings
This website which Caffyn built more than twenty years ago shares research, writing and artwork that explores the cultural meanings and social power of homosexuality. The archetypes, stereotypes and images in which we are enmeshed are an enormous burden. They are also a gigantic opportunity. Exploring the cultural meanings associated with queer is a way to amplify our difference, and claim our power. Enjoy the website
Caffyn Jesse and Max Tea offer reflections on their longing for a deeper level of queer liberation. Read More
Exploring queer difference can offer insights that challenge core structures in society, including gender oppressions, the culture of nature and economic systems. Read More