Adventures in being straightsplained

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Click to embiggen.

Earlier this week I posted about how much I love fantasy and science fiction and one of the reasons why. Specifically that sf/f had been a refuge from some of the cruelties a homophobic society heaps upon queer kids while they’re growing up. Much of sf/f is about escaping oppression of one sort or another. Science fiction in particular is often about the triumph of the light of reason over the darkness of ignorance. That gave me hope, as a kid. Sometimes it was the only hope I had. Which is why it feels like a double betrayal when I encounter homophobia in sf/f circles. One phrase I used to describe the homophobes in question was, “whose ultimate goal is to erase us.”

Which led one commenter to tsk at me and insist that, while the people in question are decidedly anti-gay, there was no evidence they want to erase us.

Oh, goodie! Straightsplaining! Homophobia isn’t what I think it is, at all! How foolish of me to think that my 50+ years of surviving the slings and arrows of homophobia gave me any expertise in the meaning or aims of homophobia!

It’s possible the commenter has a reading comprehension problem and thinks that erasure must always literally imply extermination and is trying to claim that the people in question don’t want all queers dead. So, on the slight possibility that that’s the case, let me just explain that when I say “erase us” I mean “wish that we were invisible and that all or nearly all evidence of our existence was removed from stories, books, movies, television series, and society in general.”

And you know what? Every single homophobe in existence wishes that we were, in the least, invisible. It is part of the definition of being a homophobe! It’s a common lie they tell themselves and us all the time: “I don’t hate gay people, just why do they have to shove it in my face all the time?” Or “I wish they wouldn’t flaunt it all the time!” Or “I don’t want my children seeing that!”

And in the cases of the Sad Puppies, making us invisible is exactly what they’ve been talking about:

  • When they lament the fact that they can’t always be sure when they pick up a “book with a rocket on it” that they aren’t going to encounter gay characters inside? That’s wishing we were invisible.
  • When they insist (in the comments thread of the post linked in the first bullet) that it is deceptive that another book’s back cover blurb didn’t mention prominently enough that the protagonist is gay? That’s wishing we were invisible.
  • When they insist that in a novel about a young person’s quest for self-discovery the fact that the young person is gay isn’t revealed until nearly midway through the book (when the character finally admits it to himself) is some form of malicious deception? That’s wishing we were invisible.
  • And when a pair of artists/writers reveal in the final scenes of the finale of their cartoon series that the female lead and her female companion are in love, and a homophobic sci fi writer compares those artist to termites that need exterminating simply because they included queer characters in their story? That’s wishing we were invisibile.

And while we’re on the subject of John C. Wright: when he says that the “instinctive reaction of men” to “fags” is “beating them to death with axhandles and tire-irons,” that’s beyond wishing we were invisible, it’s an explicit statement that they wish we were exterminated.

To the commenter who kicked this off: I don’t know how you could have been paying close enough attention to the Bad Puppies to notice that they were anti-gay, yet missed the many times they have alluded to the bashing (and worse) of queers. Just as I don’t know how you could have been paying close enough attention to these guys to describe Vox Day/Theodore Beale as “vile” and have missed all the times he’s said that homosexuality is an existential threat to civilization that must be either cured or eradicated. Because all of that is also evidence that even more than wishing we were invisible, they wish we didn’t exist.

So please, don’t tell me or any other queer person that we don’t understand our own oppression. To paraphrase bunnika : when you were watching our lifestyles and checking out the homophobes’ web sites, we have been living our lives and experiencing actual homophobia that you have no right to ‘splain.

Thanks for your comment, though. And bless your heart.

Note: Comments on this entire blog have always been moderated. Specific commenters have been whitelisted, but everyone else’s comments sit in a queue until I approve them. And I don’t see any point in approving comments that are insulting, or obviously coming from sock puppets (there have been a lot of those this week) or—such as the comment alluded to here—indicate the person isn’t interested in listening.


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About fontfolly

I've loved reading for as long as I can remember. I write fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and nonfiction. I used to publish an anthropomorphic sci-fi/space opera literary fanzine. I attend and work on the staff for several anthropormorphics, anime, and science fiction conventions. I live near Seattle with my wonderful husband, still completely amazed that he puts up with me at all.

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