Well, Pride Month is halfway over!
If you’ve read any of the “About Me” stuff that’s listed here on the website, you can probably figure out that Pride Month is something of particular interest to me. I’m pansexual, meaning that gender is irrelevant to me in regards to attraction. I’m also a trans woman. So, on these two fronts, the LGBT Pride season is important to me. On top of that, my anniversary is smack-dab in the middle of Pride Month – June 12. My wife and I were married back in 2009 and we’ve somehow managed to stick by each other ever since. Oh, and our honeymoon was attending Boston Pride that year actually!
You might be asking yourself why I’m making this sort of a post. It’s because I want to point out how important the principles behind LGBT Pride are to me. I want to point out how they’ve shaped me as a person and even as an author.
Time for a very brief history lesson. Back in 1969, hell broke loose in a gay bar, the Stonewall Inn, in Manhattan. Police swarmed the place citing suspicion of bootlegged liquor. Heaven forbid that the government not get their cut, right? Once inside, they proceeded to check the identification of everyone within the place. People were lined up and checked, and all variety of trans folks, cross-dressers, drag queens, and so on were especially singled out. Folks found not to be matching what their ID said as far as gender were to be arrested.
Then things got chaotic. As people were starting to be hauled off to jail, the crowd grew restless and the police started to get violent. Things finally blew up. People began throwing trash at the police and things escalated from there. The next thing you knew, you had people slinging bricks, beer bottles, and depending on the account, high heels at these police as they grew sick and tired of watching just how little they meant to the eyes of “the man.” It was time to fight back. Queer activist legend Sylvia Rivera is reported to have said, “You’ve been treating us like shit all these years?! Now it’s our turn!”
It didn’t take long for the LGBT community to start trying to fight back, though efforts didn’t always go as planned. Just a year later, New York and other cities commemorated the anniversary of the riot. That, obviously, led to the modern Pride scene that we know today. Led often times by trans folks and people of color (or both!), people started trying to make waves for the sake of equality. Since then, tremendous strides have been made, but there is still a lot of work to be done.
Back in October 2018, when I had just started working on Unbound Horizons, I visited friends and family up in New York. One thing I did while I was up there was take the time to clean a memorial plaque dedicated to Sylvia Rivera. That moment got me thinking about her and her influence on the LGBT community as a whole. Calling her a trailblazer might be an insult, because she didn’t just start the trail, she cut the path, laid the stone, paved it, and put road signs out to show people where to go during a time when being publicly open about any sort of queer status made you a target. For all that the term “social justice warrior” has become a cliche in today’s day and age, she was a warrior for social justice – for queer justice. That didn’t entail rambling on Reddit, obviously. Instead she was out in the streets raising hell, often winding up in jail as a result, trying to do what she could for the sake of social justice, and she knew that it was going to take a revolution.
Sylvia Rivera once said, “When I was young, I never thought I was going to be a part of gay history – I didn’t even expect that gay history would be in existence. … You know what was beautiful about [the Stonewall Riots]? To see the brothers and sisters stand as a unified people.”
What does all of this have to do with me as an author? A lot, actually. What would humankind look like if LGBT* folks were treated no differently than anyone else to the point that there was no need at all to have any sort of designation as such? Now, I’m not saying that representation isn’t important. In today’s day and age, it’s critical. I’m simply saying that I long for the day when, as a whole, it is no longer needed because being LGBT* is not really important.
My stories, almost universally, don’t bat an eye at any sort of LGBT content, except for pointing out the flaws within humankind as they are today. For almost all of the races I’ve wrote, LGBT subjects is a total non-issue because it’s normal. It doesn’t matter because it shouldn’t be treated any differently. Still, I have gay characters, non-binary/genderless characters, and so on. Except for when I’ve dealt with humans, I don’t make a big deal out of it because there’s no need to. I hope that humanity will one day come to that same sort of conclusion – that it just doesn’t matter, because it’s really no different. No matter what gender you’re attracted to, love is love. No matter what your body was born as, you are the one who dictates your gender. I could go on and on with all the variations, but I think you all get the point.
So, all that said, I hope everyone’s Pride Month has been wonderful so far, and I hope it’s a memorable one for you. Take time to remember the reasons for the Pride season.