LGBT pride flag photo via quotecatalog.com/quotes/inspirational.
Happy Pride Month—which sounds odd to say this year, given what is going on for women and LGBTQ+ folks right now. Trans kids are being banned from playing sports with their friends and somehow we’re still talking about which bathrooms people should get to use.
There is an increasingly crazy rage on display—all at people’s freedom to be and love and like who and how they want.
In my book The Road Not Taken, I take my protagonist to Weimar, Germany, on the cusp of WWII, and she glimpses the impact of Nazi rule—with LGBTQ+ folks sent to concentration camps, and women forced into the tight box of Children, Kitchen and Church. The life of the place is removed, turned to gray. The euphoria disappears.
My new book, 44 Horatio Street, also does one of these duel examinations—of sexism and homophobia among the Beat generation. One of them killed a gay man and got away with it. Another killed his wife and served no jail time. And what we see decades later is a virtual erasure, in those spaces, too, of the stories and of the voices of women and LGBTQ+ folks.
In the background, as I work on my third novel, the SCOTUS is preparing to kill Roe v. Wade. And much like the intertwined plots in my stories—in our histories—I see a sinister next aim: the end of marriage equality, among other queer and trans rights.
Cutting off women’s freedom, and LGBTQ+ people’s most essential choices, always go together when a homophobic, male dominant government seeks to control the population. This is why none of us are free until ALL of us are free.
They whisper about banning birth control, allowing no exceptions to terminate pregnancy for women who were raped or victims of incest, and claim it’s because they care about the lives of children—even though they won’t do anything about the guns killing them in classrooms across the country. They storm into drag brunch, threatening violence toward families, and want to investigate parents who provide their kids with gender-affirming care—and then ostracize and exclude the kids they claim to be fighting for.
I have always written in pursuit of a different future. And I will write stories as long as my fingers still move. Because words are mightier than the Cowards who hate everybody who isn’t like them.
In the futures I dream up on the page, women’s equality is enmeshed with LGBTQ+ justice—because it’s like that off the page, too. And if we band together, we can tell stories that allow people the freedom to be and love who they want. We can write feminist stories, scream and march, and together, we will be stronger than they are.
We have the majority of Americans with us. So we get to write the future however we damn well want. And that is something to celebrate.