Most people have never heard a queer, traditional fairytale, but one writer has revealed that this is not because they didn’t exist, but because they were erased by a homophobic academic.
Cornish writer and illustrator Pete Jordi Wood has explained how queer folklore was erased from history, but revealed that he has managed to rescue one “fabulously gay” fairytale. He told Forbes: “We know that queer characters and stories were prevalent in mythology. There is some fascinating stuff about the origin of Mulan and how it’s actually a trans narrative. So why, particularly in European fairy tales, did queer characters suddenly, seemingly, disappear?”
Wood explained that “before books, people told stories to one another, often around the fire”, but with the invention of the printing press during the industrial revolution, this tradition began to die out.
The study of folklore became an academic discipline in the 1800s, and folklorists began collecting and writing down tales to publish. By the 1900s, a group of academics began to compile the Aarne–Thompson–Uther (ATU) Index, “a catalogue of the world’s folklore with a system which logs different variations of tales across borders around the world”, according to Wood. But during the process of cataloguing fairytales and folklore from around the world, one of the index’s creators, Stith Thompson, began erasing queer stories.