Welcome to the Hop Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia!
Last year, I posted a discussion on bullying and same-sex domestic violence rebutting the myth that women can’t abuse each other. Same-sex domestic violence is serious and deserves as much consideration as all types of domestic violence.
This year, I have a message for everyone who is part of the LGBTTQQIA (or whatever letters you prefer) community, including straight allies:
Stop being a bigot.
I can hear gasps in the background. “I’m not a bigot! I’m open to everyone. If people are nice to me, I’m nice to them.”
If that’s our goal, why do we need HAHAT and IDAHO? Just be nice to the people who are nice to us…right? Problem solved.
No. As people who have experienced marginalization, discrimination, and perhaps even violence, the bar is set higher for us. Too often, we see one marginalized group fight for acceptance at the expense of another. The Puritans escaped religious persecution and came to the US to burn women as witches. Early Americans fought for independence but imported and enslaved untold numbers of Africans. White women fought for the right to vote but excluded women of color. The list goes on and on.
One of the sites I have come to love is Everyday Feminism. (Give it a look!) The articles are well-written, well-thought-out, and represent a broad spectrum of experiences, ideas, and identities. It uses intersectionality, a term that means speaking from more than one identity or perspective at a time.
How often does “LGBT” really mean “G” for Gay men?
How many “Rainbow” or “LGBT” review sites actively promote, solicit, and welcome anything besides gay and m/m literature?
In a “queer” group recently, someone asked about tropes in F/F literature. This was the response (paraphrased):
F/F tropes? Is there even enough F/F to have tropes? Just saying…
I’m not sure I can address this kind of ignorance in a constructive way, but let me give it a try.
I’m not familiar with the Fae world or Fae literature. I have seen a few references in books and movies, but I haven’t actively sought it out. Because I will write a character who is half-fairy (in my book world, “fairy” will be related to but not the same as Fae), I asked some questions. I was not familiar with any resources on Fae or stories on Fae.
However, I assumed that my ignorance, rather than lack of Fae literature’s existence, explained my unfamiliarity with the genre.
There are some people who can’t even recognize that F/F means “female-female” rather than, say, Fan Fiction or Future Fantasy. Then we have the same people claiming there is no lesbian fiction…how does this make sense?
We (rightly) talk about bi-erasure (not to mention biphobia). We talk about transphobia. We talk about sexism, racism, classism, and all of the alienating “isms” that define our community more than we want to admit. The prejudice against bi and trans is jaw-dropping, and it doesn’t only go one way.
Recently, in beta reading a trans story written in honor of Leelah Alcorn, I asked approximately ten trans women and men to give feedback whether the story honored their experience. The story depicts conflict between a transphobic lesbian and a trans woman fighting for acceptance. For the most part, I received (and was grateful for) helpful information.
One individual, however, felt compelled to share her opinion that anyone transphobic deserved to be raped and probably had it coming to her.
Since when does fighting for acceptance mean tearing others down? For the “mainstream” folk who fit into easy definitions, the expectations are not there. For groups that should know better, the disappointment is almost unbearable. Emily, the main character in the story, explains this fundamental hypocrisy as she confronts her own bigotry:
Isn’t this what I’ve said to the straight white girls all along, that they can’t take feminism as a one-dimensional enterprise? I understand my privilege as an able-bodied woman who doesn’t need a wheelchair, crutches, or cane. I don’t have a chronic illness. Feminism is about human rights, not women’s rights…and it must be intersectional. We can’t pick one aspect of feminism over the other.
What about the concept of privilege provokes our defenses in a way that nothing else can? I told the feminist girls that they don’t see straight privilege because they’re conditioned not to. Humans aren’t designed to recognize what we can do or what we have, but to get what we don’t have.
There are those who will say, “But M/M is the majority! We’re all m/m authors/readers/publishers.”
Really? Last time I checked, M/F was the majority. Not M/M. Just saying…
To fight for acceptance while silencing others is ignorant at best and shameful at worst.
I support the LGBT community, but I do not support erasure of literature by and about women. Lesfic does exist. You just haven’t been looking hard enough. (Check out this introductory post by Nancy Heredia for Ana’s Advent Calendar 2014.)
Isn’t it time to stop the bigotry?
Please comment by listing the publishers, authors, and books of F/F that you have read or want to read. If you have not read any yet, please look through the list and pick out one or more. F/F ONLY, please!
Here are a few to get you started!
Publishers that don’t specialize in F/F fiction (meaning they publish other pairings as well) but give it equal consideration and promotion:
Prizes include a copy of Love’s Reprise, First Lady Love (a F/F anthology that will be published next month), and books from my backlist. Number of prizes awarded will depend on number of commenters.
Edited to add: If you’d like to see the whopping 160 F/F books Lynn read last year, here is the link to her Goodreads shelf. Wow! She cautions that not all of them are wonderful, but it’s a good start.