Queer Themes in Ayn Rand

I’m reading a very fascinating book called “Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand”. A collection of essays and articles written by feminists on Rand and her books. It’s been several years since I last read any Rand, so the book has been a very unique re-introduction to her writings and ideas.

One thing pointed out by a few of the authors has been the queer undertones in her novels. Non-monogamy is prevalent in both of her major novels Atlas Shrugged and the Fountain Head. All of her hero’s range in complicated webs of relationships. Some characters cheat on spouses in the name of authentic love. Others like Dagny find themselves passionately loving multiple partners without concern for labels or exclusivity.

Homoerotic tension is also ripe between the male heroes in Atlas Shrugged. Rearden literally has this exchange with Dagny after he meets Fransisco.

“I’m saying that I didn’t know what it meant, to like a man, I didn’t know how much of missed it — until I meet him.”

“Good god, Hank [Rearden], you’ve fallen for him!”

“Yes, I think I have.”

Keep in mind Rand was a careful writer every word on her page had meaning and justification. She once told Braden that “there was not a single word in her novels whose purpose she could not explain”. It would make a lot of sense given how Rand understood love that she’d include queerness as a theme. Love for the rational human is derived from mutual virtue not collectivist norms or pressures. Love is not about the Christian standard of one man and one woman for procreation. Love is instead a selfish action, a rebellion against selfless society that says you can not love who you wish.

I recognize Rand did say some irrational things about homosexually during interviews. A victim of the culture of her time. However, for the young queer kid who wants to love based on who they are and not who society wants them to be maybe they can find some solace in Ayn Rand’s novels. Love yourself, do not suppress your being in the name of the greater good.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s