It’s the fifth anniversary of the worst mass killing of queer people in U.S. history. Before the 49 victims of the Pulse massacre, the worst single event had been the UpStairs Lounge arson attack on June 24, 1973 in New Orleans.
I see that certain news sites and deplorables are once again trying to push the narrative that this event was a hate crime directed against queer people. I explained why they are wrong last year: Four years after the Pulse massacre and don’t feel the need to re-hash everything, other than to point out the the shooter’s own father was one of the people who thought the club had been picked because of how much his son hated queer people and that his son had ranted a lot the week before the shooting about how marriage equality was proof that American culture had embraced evil.
On this night five years ago, a lot of people were at Pulse celebrating Latinx Night as one of several Pride Month activities at the bar. They went out to have fun, to dance, to be with other queer people. To celebrate life. To celebrate Pride. To celebrate the concept that love is love.
Forty-nine of them never came home that night. I don’t personally know any of them, but when I am reminded of that night, I cry just as hard as a did when I was first reading news reports of the even the next morning. Because queer people are my tribe. Queer people are my community.
And the biggest fear I have had since realizing I was gay, is that some day a hater is going to kill me or someone I love because we’re queer.
Four years later, the Pulse massacre is still a gut punch.
You Know Things Are Bad if the Guy Whose Boots You’ve Licked for More Than Four Years Won’t Meet You
Liz Cheney On Matt Gaetz: ‘As The Mother Of Daughters, The Charges Certainly Are Sickening’ – Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) on Sunday said that sex trafficking and other allegations against Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) are "sickening."
Glenn Greenwald Defends Gaetz’ Right To Have Sex With ‘Consenting’ Teenagers – Frequent Fox News guest, this week said that Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) has the right to have sex with a "consenting" 17-year-old girl.
Mass Shootings Everywhere
Cops Killing Unarmed People
Derek Chauvin’s defense begins its case by highlighting George Floyd’s prior arrest Because of course they do!
King County Executive Dow Constantine urges Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht to retire – Sheriff sent an internal email to staff saying the settlement is “not a reflection of how I view the actions” of the deputy who shot unarmed 20-year-old Tommy Le This one has the complication that we King County voters approved a charter amendment last fall that ends Sheriff elections and makes the position of county sheriff an appointed position. In just 9 months the request from the executive (and calls from several county council members) will no longer be requests…
And a few links:
Explosive eruption rocks volcano on Caribbean’s St. Vincent – There were no immediate reports of casualties. The La Soufrière volcano last erupted in 1979, and a previous eruption in 1902 killed some 1,600 people
Fact-check: Was Matt Gaetz the lone no vote on an anti-human trafficking bill? One of the few times that when a headline asks a question that answer is ‘Yes’
The giant parking squid has come to Ballard My old neighborhood!
Let’s close with something funny:
There are several blog posts I should be finishing. Instead you’re going to get a silly post. Because goodness knows we could all use a bit of silliness.
I’m trying not to be worried about the likelihood—thanks to so many people throwing off their masks and/or going out the bars and restaurants—that COVID cases are going to surge again in coming weeks.
I’m not going out partying. We’re cooking a beef brisket and staying home. Yes, I’m wearing new silly shiny green shamrock earrings. And my husband and I each have a silly shamrock-adorned mask to wear today. But I’m staying home all day, and he’s doing his usual workday then coming home.
Here is hoping that come this time next year, we’re all playing at being leprechauns and/or chasing after the end of the rainbow.
I hesitated to post this, because the QAnon fuckwits think that today is a magical day when the former Traitor in Chief will be sworn in as president because original constitutional inauguration date and a mythical law in 1871 and blah blah blah.
But I can’t let fuckwits make my life decisions for me. So I’m going to continue to observe my personal March Forth tradition. I urge you all on this March Forth, to go please donate to The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.
You can also go to this page on the NCHV website, click on the name of your state, and find a list of organizations helping the homeless in general and homeless veterans in particular in your community. Donate or volunteer.
March forth, and spread the word.
I need to get my other hosting issues sorted out and get a couple of my other sites back up on the web. But a conversation elseweb made me dig out this essay I wrote and first published 22 years ago and resurrect it on this blog. Homophobia is not a recent development in the sci fi community. But also neither is allyship, so:
(Originally published 18 June, 1999)
Theodore Sturgeon (1918-1985) was one of America’s finest writers. He was one of the great figures of the Golden Age of science fiction. During his lifetime he produced over 200 stories, several novels, film and tv scripts (including two of the most famous episodes of the original “Star Trek” series), plays, and dozens of non-fiction reviews and essays. His many literary awards include the Hugo, the Nebula, and the International Fantasy Award.
Sturgeon wrote such great fiction because his philosophy was “Always ask the next question.” He even created a symbol or personal shorthand for “Ask the next question,” a capital “Q” with an arrow through it. He was never satisfied with conventional wisdom or pat answers.
And that tendency got him in big trouble in 1953, making him the central target of an intense “anti-homosexual blacklist” within the publishing community. Prior to the 1970s, it was virtually unheard of for gay men, lesbian, or bisexual characters to appear in any kind of fiction, and when they did, they were either vile villains or tragically flawed creatures who committed suicide before the end of the story. While many science fiction authors were questioning racial stereotypes or decrying McCarthy’s rabid anti-communism, they closed ranks with the rest of the status quo on the question of homosexuality.
Not Theodore Sturgeon. At the time a father of four and somewhat notorious womanizer, Sturgeon still couldn’t help but ask the next question. If racism was wrong, why not sexism and heterosexism? He wrote three short stories in quick succession. The first, “The Silken Swift” was a twist on the unicorn legend that questioned society’s definitions of purity and innocence, while making some comments about the role of women in most cultures. It caused a slight stir, but didn’t seem too far out. Then “The Sex Opposite” started showing up in editor’s mailboxes, in which Sturgeon posited a whole subspecies of humans who could change their gender at will, and whom engaged in long term relationships with members of all three sexes. This provoked a mild uproar, and many editors shied far away from it. Sturgeon started receiving unsolicited advice, some of it implied that people were assuming he was homosexual (because only a “pervert” would even think of portraying such relationships as possible, let alone successful and happy) and suggesting that he tone it down, for the sake of his career.
Which seemed to firm up Sturgeon’s resolve. He sat down at his typewriter and created “The World Well Lost” in which homosexual characters were not only portrayed as normal, well-adjusted people in the future, the story came right out and referred to the homophobic past has a horrible time. Fear and loathing of homosexuals was a sign of an immature society, the story said. This was too much for some people. The editor of the magazine Fantastic, Howard Browne, was so outraged by the tale, not only did he reject it, he immediately started phoning all the other editors he knew to organized a boycott of Sturgeon. Browne wasn’t satisfied with bullying other editors into agreeing never to publish anything from Sturgeon again. He and his cronies promised to completely ruin the career of anyone who dared publish “The World Well Lost” itself.
Ray Palmer was a feisty man who was editor of Universe Science Fiction, a small pulp sci-fi zine at the time. Perhaps it was because Mr. Palmer had suffered from disfiguring disability since childhood, and had little sympathy for bullies, but in any case, Palmer put “The World Well Lost” into a fast track to get it published right away. And he publicly dared Browne’s group to make good on their threat.
Browne’s coalition quickly crumbled, and the “Homosexual Blacklist” faded away before it had a chance to damage any other careers.
Sturgeon kept on asking the next question, never afraid to broach topics just because they were controversial. And Palmer enjoyed a long and successful career in publishing. Thanks to them, other writers in the fifties, sixties, and seventies could explore the subject of homosexuality in a more balanced and tolerant fashion. While it was true that, even into the late seventies, most readers, critics, and editors assumed that any author who wrote such a story was probably gay, bi, or lesbian themselves, it was because of two courageous heterosexual men, Sturgeon and Palmer, that those authors could give us those rare, early glimpses into a world where homophobia was neither common nor acceptable.
This pride month, remember to raise a toast to Theodore Sturgeon and Ray Palmer, two people who knew it was better to do the right thing than to be perceived as the right kind of people. Where ever their spirits are now, I’m sure they are still asking questions.
I’m doing NaNoWriMo, and have already diverted a lot of attention on the election and commentary thereof. So instead of a substantial blog post, here is a fun meme-set swiped from iamjohnlocked4life.tumblr.com: