ZERO :: the Fool (annwyd) wrote,
ZERO :: the Fool
annwyd

this icon makes me less angry (my queerness is not your ship fodder).

This post. That post, about an April Fool's joke involving an interview revealing the main character of Final Fantasy Versus XIII being gay. The prank to which it refers is insulting enough, but the comments on the post--how the majority of them seem to be variations on either "I don't want this because I don't like yaoi" or "This would be awesome because I like yaoi"--are worse.

There is one good comment. It's here. I'm going to expand on that, just in case I've got the attention of any of the kind of people who would babble about yaoi in response to the idea of a major character of a famous video game franchise being openly gay.

Here is my point: the gay is not there for yaoi, yuri, or any other kind of shipping. Pairings are for entertainment. Queerness is real. Having gay characters in accessible popular media affects more than your browsing options on Fanfiction.net. It normalizes the experiences of young gay people who, like everyone else in the world, look to fiction to find echoes of their own lives. Let me repeat that in smaller words. Having gay characters in fiction makes gay kids feel better about themselves.

Fiction is not reality, but fiction shapes reality. In parts of the reality I live in, LGBT people are accepted without second thought, without even a pause to consider whether they should be accepted; they simply are, the same as straight and cisgendered people. I want that reality to spread, so that more people in more places can know what it's like to be accepted for who they are. So when I write original fiction, I'm going to include LGBT (especially T, because talk about underrepresented) characters. To make a better reality--not to make hot ships.

A few weeks back, I went to see a play called The Boys in the Band. It was about gay men in the late sixties, and it circled round and round how dysfunctional and self-loathing they were because they'd grown up in a society that offered them no model or encouragement for how to be themselves. At the end, one of them has a breakdown, and his friend comforts him by saying, "Someday we'll learn to stop hating ourselves." It was a powerful moment to me, because since then, we have learned so much about how to stop hating ourselves for being gay. And the existence of both queer fiction and queer characters in mainstream fiction has been part of that, and it will continue to be a part of that as we learn more.

When I first realized I was a lesbian, I read Annie on My Mind, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, and Rubyfruit Jungle. Queer books about queer women. They helped me make sense of my experience. But even over a decade later, every time I run into queer characters in mainstream fiction, just chilling and being themselves, I feel a little better.

And it has not one thing to do with anyone's thoughts on yaoi.
Tags: actually this is serious business, meta
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