I wrote this a week ago:
It is a truth that LGBTQ+IA persons do not have a literature that reflects us. We have a literature that reflects some of us, and we have a literature that reflects many of us partially. We don’t have a literature that reflects how varied the community is and how different we can be, one from another. How differently we are treated and how differently we respond to our treatment. We differ by race, class, geography, gender and age, among other qualities. Our literature largely ignores our political predicament—that our “rights” are limited and depend on one vote in the Supreme Court. We don’t have novels about LGBTQ+IA people who are discriminated against and abused and murdered. Channing Smith killed himself September 23, 2019 because he had been bullied and his notes to his friend were made public. He was sixteen years old. We have few adult novels about gay teen-aged suicides. The thinness of our literature is mainly a result of the wholesale purchase of the publishing industry by large media corporations, the large distributors, large booksellers who deal in the economies of scale, and writers who hesitate to write about the real lives of LGBTQ+IA because they don’t think we are interested or are afraid. But some of us are interested, and some of us are not afraid. We know we are being abused, yet our literature doesn’t show characters who rebel. We ought to be asking about our literature, Does this book in any serious way reflect our lives? Usually it doesn’t, and these Earthrise essays look at the effect of that failure.
The question is, Are things getting better for LGBTQ+IA people? Of course they are. But marriage equality and the dozens of lawsuits that led to that success have only changed some parts of the lives of LGBTQ+IA people. In the last several weeks, the media have carried two stories that indicate the problem. LGBTQ+IA people are still dying.
Channing Smith killed himself September 23, 2019 because he had been bullied and his notes to his friend were made public. He was sixteen years old. (see above)
This is the link to the original newspaper article in the Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/09/30/tennessee-teen-channing-smith-instagram-lgbt-killed/
Every so often, I run across some article like this. Some teenager in some high school somewhere kills themselves because they couldn’t bear the humiliation they were subjected to because they were LGBTQ+IA. This morning, I read a post where a person in their twenties was led by their grandmother to come out. Despite marriage equality, coming out is still fraught with danger and pain for many kids—and adults—and we, those of us who have gotten past that brutal time, owe it to those coming out now to fight for them, to recognize that our place in America is not yet secure. People coming out now deserve our respect and love by our fighting the forces that make coming out for them still so hard.
The “Earthrise essays” that I refer to in the first quotation, above, is a small collection of posts from this blog, written during 2018 and collected under the title of Earthrise. This collection will be published in the next two or three weeks, and it asks the question why our LGBTQ+IA literature doesn’t reflect the kind of life lived by Channing Smith.