Audre Lorde Ain’t Here for Your Hopelessness: How Her Words Are Fueling a New Generation of Queer Rage

Harkening to Lorde’s belief that feelings are genuine paths to knowledge, Story tells Reckon that “injustice and inequity are experienced at the personal and subjective levels first, and the pain and, ultimately, the rage that comes from those experiences ignite the individual to begin collaborating with others in order to ensure systematic change and social action.”

Gumbs adds that people who don’t share Lorde’s identities also manage to see themselves differently through her work.

Lorde’s words as an unapologetic blueprint for uncomfortable conversations of all kinds

Lamya H. is a brown, nonbinary, queer and Muslim author of the Stonewall Award-winning memoir “Hijab Butch Blues,” a story on faith, family, community and sexuality. Despite not being a Black feminist themselves, Lamya draws inspiration from Lorde.

Having discovered Lorde’s work in their 20s, “I was coming into myself then—into my queerness, my Muslimness, my brownness, that I was raised a girl—coming to terms with these things and seeing them as sources of empowerment,” they said.

The first work Lamya read by Lorde was “A Litany for Survival,” and its last line stayed with them: “So it is better to speak / remembering / we were never meant to survive.”

“I remember coming back to that over and over not just the next few days, but also the next few years,” Lamya recounted. “I remember the defiance in those lines: we were never meant to survive, but look at us, we’re here and we’re carving out lives for ourselves.”

Lamya credits Lorde’s impact to her ability to blend the personal and political, and reading Lorde “taught me that writing could do this, could be a tool for resistance and organizing and a channeling of anger,” they said. This was their compass for their memoir.

“I wanted to write in ways that were both personal and political, telling everyday stories from my life while using the vignettes to make arguments about Islamophobia, racism, homophobia, transphobia, and others.”

Above all, an urgency to stand up against oppression NOW

Lorde grew up in proximity to death—something Gumbs sees in today’s fight for racial, gender, ability, environmental and reproductive justice movements. According to Gumbs, Lorde grew up down the street from where the atom bomb was invented.

“They were one of the first kids who grew up in a world where they knew that nuclear war was possible, and they had this idea that someone could press a button and end our entire species—this is the context she grew up in.”