No Hate But….

Published June 30, 2021 by swankivy

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Panel 3 was actually said to me by a publishing professional in response to one of my stories, so. Fun.

We all see what’s really going on when someone wants the stories they read to stop including LGBTQIA content to help them enjoy it. We all see what’s really going on when they feel that these characters’ existence and relationships in stories constitute “shoving it in their face” if we want to act like it’s normal and acceptable. We all see what’s going on when they react to the 3% of media that includes any queer content at all and insist we’re burying them in it (despite how buried we’ve been in EXCLUSIVELY HETERO-CISNORMATIVE CONTENT our literal entire lives). It seems overly prevalent because they want it to be 0%. It seems “forced” and “too PC” to them because they fixate on how foreign it is to acknowledge this in their world. They interpret queer content as an invasion of their lives because their carefree escapes into fun and fiction depend on excluding us. And if we react negatively to being told our content doesn’t belong, we get accused of harassing THEM and denying THEM a voice and an opinion. (Defending our right to exist in fiction after being told we don’t belong isn’t OUR aggression. It’s them starting a fight, and then acting all shocked Pikachu if we respond like we’re being bullied.)

They probably ought to reconsider any sentences that include a disclaimer identifying themself as a supporter or an ally but then lead into the word “but.”

At the very least, if they don’t want to learn from queer people about what our queer stories sound like, they should be able to quietly accept that it isn’t for them and stop whining that they aren’t centered in media that’s made by and for us. We know how easy that is because we’ve been doing it all our lives, consuming media that centers and coercively reinforces hetero-cisnormative ideals, and the big difference for us is that there was no alternative until or unless we started creating it. Our queer-centered content doesn’t stop them from living their life or consuming the content they want to consume, and the times queer narratives and characters make it into mainstream media definitely will not take anything away from them.

(Oh, and if anyone out there is about to argue that our “invasion” DOES constitute pollution of their stories, there’s a word for that: Bigot. You might as well not bother with the disclaimers about why this doesn’t make you hateful. Media is how the world talks to itself, and if our acknowledgment in it causes you discomfort, you might as well admit that you don’t want us to be part of the conversation and you would prefer we stay isolated, closeted, unable to see ourselves in media or even write our own without someone complaining that we didn’t prioritize the very fair and balanced idea that queers are icky. These statements are invariably followed by accusations of “shoving it down my throat” and “being SJWs/too PC” or some other weird impossible standard we were supposed to live up to before we dared to give the world stories about ourselves.)

We have Pride partly because the world is still telling us to be ashamed. That world celebrates its cisgender norms and heterosexual expectations every day without even noticing how free they are to do it. It shouldn’t have to be A Thing, but we don’t live in that world yet where the shaming, the violence, the demand for us to be censored out of society has stopped. I’m really tired of hearing that our visibility is what caused homophobia and transphobia to start existing–if it only started being visible when we were able to talk about it and get coverage, that means it was invisible to most people before that and they literally think it started existing only when we got the tools to tell the outside world what was happening to us. Pride is a counter to that shame and violence. It absolutely is still necessary even though invariably someone always whines and accuses our activism of causing all our problems.

I’m proud of being a queer person and my stories will authentically reflect that queer people exist. If our stories aren’t interesting to you then you should treat them like any other content you don’t want to invite into your life. I don’t read Westerns but I assure you that I’ve never written to their publishers or tracked down their authors to tell them I don’t want to read about cowboys or their weird lifestyle. And if a dude rides a horse in a movie I’m not going to whine about it even though I don’t care to seek out movies about dudes who ride horses. It doesn’t offend my morals that this man lives differently from me or how I would ever want to live. I also incidentally don’t care for toxic romances but guess who’s not writing to the authors of romance books that include that element to lecture them on their irresponsibility.

I recommend non-queer audiences learn about queer people through the media we make, but if they won’t do that, they could at least do us a kindness and shut up. If they’re not going to shut up, they should really do us a courtesy and avoid the performative “Not that there’s anything wrong with that BUT” schtick. It’s embarrassing, and furthermore, it doesn’t fool anyone.

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