Making oneself: Queerness as immigrant identity politics in Christos Tsiolkas’ ‚Loaded‘ and Jeffrey Eugenides’ ‚Middlesex‘

Beniamin Kłaniecki

In her article “Making home: Queer migrations and motions of attachment” (2000), Anne-Marie Fortier distinguishes several modes of migration seen as formative of lesbian and gay identities. Fortier centres her analysis on autobiographical works, which predominantly focus on the experience of one-directional movement, that is of leaving, abandoning one’ s patriarchal home. As a result, she devotes less room for the discussion of more complex personalities, immobilised in constant motion and search for still more plausible (semi-)identities. The aim of the present paper is to analyse two novels, Christos Tsiolkas’ Loaded (1995) and Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex (2002), in regard to their representation of queer and gender identities as produced through the sinusoidal movements of attachment and alienation, instrumental in shaping the lives of their immigrant protagonists: Ari from Loaded and Cal from Middlesex. Both as second-generation emigrants from Greece, they strive to create their sexual and gender identities, which could be accommodated into their Greek heritage and the realities of 1990s Australia, in Ari’s case, and in Cal’s, 1960s America. I propose to read the formation of Ari’s gay and Cal’s intersexual selves through Fortier’s slightly modified interpretation – by deconstructing the process of redefinition that the characters undergo in order to reconcile their conflicting sexual and national identities. In that, the analysis will include the category of gender, manifesting itself through Ari’s consistent denial of socially acceptable behaviours and Cal’s queering (perhaps ‘Greeking’) of the well-established and thus fossilised American cultural myths.