It’s a real quilt of experiences that takes shape before our eyes when reading the collection Troubles, our shadows, edited by Jennifer Bélanger. With texts by 11 artists, the poignant work is intended to be “a safe space where LGBTQ2IA people can express themselves freely, outside of injunctions to happiness and celebration”.

The strength of this collection lies in the collective exercise of which it is the result. The combination of such varied voices allows us to leave our reading nourished by a rich and plural reflection. From the vibrant testimony of Martine Delvaux to the very berlinesque story of Nicholas Dawson passing by the exploded calligram of Marilou Craft, it tells the shadows of queer existence, far from clichés and stigmatization.

“To be gay is to grow up with a keen awareness of the social charade that everyone plays. This punchy phrase taken from one of the first texts of the collection, which we owe to Étienne Bergeron, sets the tone well. In each of the texts that shape this work, a presumption takes over. Rather than recounting an imagined common reality of queer people, it instead weaves a map of possibilities, as a tool to free oneself from expectations and dictates.

Navigating from the zany to the overwhelming without ever being out of place, Troubles, our shadows brings together texts with characteristics that are both complementary and contradictory, and that is what makes the beauty of this composite body.