Before I get into the reviews, let me be serious for a moment. I’m known for taking hanfic too seriously, but I’m not so known for talking about real, serious things. It’s time, and it’s going to get long.
For the past two weeks, I’ve been in a state of shock and grief over the Pulse nightclub massacre, and I expect I will be for some time to come. This will stay with me, as it should with all of us. I did not know anyone there personally; I have only watched with horror as a friend (more of an acquaintance, if I’m honest) learned the fate of his friends. And though I more often identify myself as an ally, my own sexuality has been a question mark for the better part of my life, and I’m coming to terms with the fact that I may never know the answer… or even the question.
But this isn’t about me. It is, however, about the LGBTGA+ community, and I don’t want anyone to forget that. The fair weather allies and those who aren’t allies at all, but see an opportunity to further other causes, have flooded out of the woodwork in the last few days. The one thing that gives me hope is that I know love is still winning. I see the little victories everywhere, even if hate is louder. Yet I’m sobered to dare wonder–what would we have done with this thirty years ago? Twenty? Swept it under the rug like the dirty little secret so many of us still see homosexuality as? We have so far to go yet, but we have also come so far, and I think it’s good to remember that.
We cannot let hate drag us back into the past.
From its beginnings, and certainly since the inception of the world wide web, fan fiction has been a safe haven, a place to hide, for those outside of society’s norms, which certainly includes the LGBTQA+ community. It has been, for many, the only place where they are safe and free to be who and what they cannot be in “real” life. It is by no means a perfect community, but it provides something that reality often still cannot.
The stories that we tell are criticized for their idealism, stories where homophobia doesn’t exist and no one is a zero on the Kinsey scale. We write these stories because this is the reality we want to see. These stories, even the silliest, smuttiest slash, are safe space, one that so many are not fortunate enough to have outside of their computer screens. These stories (yes, even the ones about boybands the world has forgotten) are meaningful.
Someday, the world will catch up with the stories we tell. I have to believe that. I have to believe it or go mad with grief. There still is and always will be good in the world, even in a country on the precipice of becoming something out of a dystopian novel. I believe that, in spite of all evidence to the contrary.
I believe in love, and I will not stop. I am full of grief and pain and anger, but I will not stop, and I hope that all of you who hope for a better, safer future share my stubbornness.
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