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Dismantling the Closet Door

The Abnormal OnesToday’s topic comes from one of our QSFers, but I have to apologize – I misplaced the name of the person who submitted this one – if you wanna come forward, I’ll happily give you credit.

Nevertheless, it’s a great topic: “Are we past telling ‘coming-out’ stories? Are we past ‘being LGBT makes you a pariah’ stories? Do we need new sources of dramatic tension?”

LGBT stories in general have gone through some historic periods. In the fifties and early sixties, they were all about how terrible it was to be gay – the repercussions in society once you were “found out”.

That all changed with gay liberation – all of a sudden, coming out stories were all the rage. It was important for us as a community to show that we were proud of who we were, regardless of the consequences. I had a story that I wrote during that time about a couple, one of whom had HIV. I never sold it, and when I took it out to brush it up for resubmission recently, I changed it to cancer instead of HIV. The time for those stories seems to have passed.

The next phase was ushered in by the AIDS crisis – suddenly all the stories were being told about the pain and anguish the community was going through, and sometimes the grace which it discovered through this painful period.

We seem to be moving beyond these old narratives into something new. LGBT characters are now being woven into mainstream fiction in all sorts of ways.

So here are my questions today: is there a place for these old narratives, telling them in a fresh way, especially through the prisms of Sci Fi, Fantasy, and Paranormal? Or do you think there is a new narrative theme out there that we should be pursuing?


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