LGBTQ Literature is a Readers and Book Lovers series dedicated to discussing literature that has made an impact on the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people. From fiction to contemporary nonfiction to history and everything in between, any literature that touches on LGBTQ themes is welcome in this series. LGBTQ Literature posts on the last Sunday of every month at 7:30 PM EST. If you are interested in writing for the series, please send a message to Chrislove.
Good evening, faithful LGBTQ Literature readers. I had different designs for this diary, but I don’t think I knew how many feelings I was having until I started writing it. For Pride Months past, I have often dedicated this space to Stonewall, and while that certainly might fit the mood this weekend, even that doesn’t seem quite right this month. Long story short, I’ve scrapped my plans for this month’s diary. In light of the recent reversal of Roe v. Wade—and considering the ominous feeling that many in the LGBTQ community (myself very much included) detect in the air this Pride Month—my original plans for this diary now seem trivial at best, and inappropriate at worst.
Truthfully, I’ve grappled with what to write in this diary for the past month. Pride Months in the recent past have been times of protest, yes, but also celebration. The idea that “linear progress” exists has always been a fiction, of course (see: Reconstruction), but still, it was difficult not to feel that “it gets better,” as Dan Savage put it over a decade ago. This month—and I know I'm far from alone—I can’t shake the feeling that the climate has profoundly shifted. Perhaps it was naive to think that we would be in a better place in June 2022, with Biden and Democrats at the helm (however tenuous that power may be), but the fear inside me is more palpable than it was at the height of the Trump administration.
You might think that I’m talking about Justice Thomas’ concurring opinion on Friday that overtly signaled that landmark LGBTQ rights cases such as Lawrence and Obergefell are on the chopping block (and I am). But it runs deeper than that, in ways that cishet liberal allies might not even realize or fully appreciate. This month, as I opened a drawer to find my rainbow Apple Watch band (as I’ve done every June), I realized—really realized—that I was afraid (I have not worn anything rainbow this month, not for lack of pride, but for lack of desire to be harassed or assaulted). My boyfriend and I don’t really hold hands or otherwise display much affection in public anymore, much like we avoided it in the pre-Obergefell days. My resistance to putting that kind of a target on our backs has less to do with fear for my own safety (although, that’s certainly a concern) and more to do with my protective feelings for him. I recognize that, as somebody who can mostly “pass” as a white, cisgender, straight guy if I want to, he is much less able to do so. Rarely does a day go by anymore when I don’t think about the possibility that he could end up the victim of some kind of attack. None of these are “new” feelings or fears, of course. But for the better part of a decade, they were pushed to the back burner.
Now, as the assault on trans rights has (very predictably, I might add, and trans people warned everybody) given way to an all-out assault on LGBTQ people, their rights, and their very existence, we’re reminded that any feelings of security we once had were false. Marriage, privacy in the bedroom, our lives—it’s all on the table. From Christofascists openly preaching about LGBTQ executions to the Right’s largely successful (and mostly unchallenged by our Democratic leaders) weaponization of the term “grooming” to the Don’t Say Gay laws at the state level to the looming and very real possibility (even probability) that the Supreme Court will erase every bit of legal progress we’ve made—this Pride Month is different.
I know, none of this seems to have anything to do with LGBTQ literature, except that it does. Giving up and letting the fascists roll over us isn’t an option. We all have to figure out how we’re going to individually fight. As a history educator, I will continue (nay, I will double down on) my own project of making sure that our history is not erased, despite the wishes of right-wing legislators who are trying to wipe away any trace of LGBTQ people in our school curricula. I’ve long viewed this LGBTQ Literature series as a separate but related project, but it’s really part of the same mission to make sure that marginalized LGBTQ voices are included and heard in all places. The fascist goal is erasure, and we will not be erased.
This series will continue, and there will be a new diary next month. It’s more important than ever. I hope you’ll excuse whatever this was, but nothing else seemed appropriate this month.
LGBTQ Literature Schedule (2022):
If you are interested in taking any of the following dates, please comment below or send a message to Chrislove. We’re always looking for new writers, and anything related to LGBTQ literature is welcome!
January 30: Ushka Waso
February 27: OPEN
March 27: Chrislove
April 24: Clio2
May 29: Chrislove
June 26: Chrislove
July 31: OPEN
August 28: OPEN
September 25: OPEN
October 30: OPEN
November 27: OPEN
December 25: OPEN
READERS & BOOK LOVERS SERIES SCHEDULE