As I said last night on twitter: To everyone who thinks it’s bizarre or shocking or scary to write lesbians into fantasy novels: do it anyway. It is awesome is what it is.
To clarify because this is tumblr and now I have more than 140 characters, what I mean is every so often I see someone blogging or tumblring or tweeting about how difficult they find the concept of writing about lesbians is, especially in speculative fiction. And by difficult I mean they really want to — maybe they’re lesbians themselves — but they’ve been conditioned by the mainstream to believe that (1) lesbians don’t exist in fantasy so if you put them in there it will be “bizarre”; (2) putting lesbians in fantasy will shock mainstream readers and thus the story/novel won’t sell so it’s not worth the time to write it*; (3) writing lesbians is scary because there are so few of them in SFF what if you get it wrong/it’s frightening to write something you desperately want to see/myriad other writerly fears based on marginalization.
So that explanation went on longer than I anticipated. There are lots of fears. They can stop you. But I hope you’ll push through them to the other side, which is full of awesome lesbians in fantasy! (And every other genre, I might add.)
I was driving past a business here in the Houston Heights, when I glimpsed this painted on the side of the building. I recognized that iconic WWII poster before I realized it was not just any woman, but 14 year old Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who was attacked for wanting an education. The words next to her are her quote, ( “I don’t mind if I have to sit on the floor at school.) All I want is education. And I’m afraid of no one.”
…we know nothing about Sappho. Or worse: everything we know is wrong. Even the most basic “facts” are simply not so, or in need of a stringent critical reexamination. A single example. We are told over and over again that Sappho “was married to Kerkylas of Andros, who is never mentioned in any of the extant fragments of her poetry” (Snyder 1989:3). Not surprising, since it’s a joke name: he’s Dick Allcock from the Isle of MAN. It’s been over 139 years since William Mure pointed this out… yet one finds this piece of information repeated without question from book to book, usually omitting the dubious source, usually omitting any reference at all.
Holt Parker, ‘Sappho Schoolmistress’, Transactions of the American Philological Association 123 (1993)
i am genuinely delighted by the number of people reblogging this and tagging it ‘dick allcock from the isle of man’.