Ah, 2016. I don’t know very many people who will miss you. You were horrible in so many ways.
How to approach 2017?
Honestly, I don’t know.
I know that as writers, we have a responsibility to keep creating our art. Oppression and bigotry will rear it sugly head in a way that we haven’t seen in a while and people out there will turn to our books and stories to find acceptance, a bit of faith, nonjudgmental friends, and themselves. Years ago, before the gay rights movement, the LGBT community turned to books to keep themselves from feeling isolated, to remind themselves that they were not alone in the world. That they weren’t freaks that had no business among society.
There were others in the world like them. And those others were right there on those pages, between those covers.
As much as we want to say that we—the collective “we”—will never go back into the closet, the reality is that there are going to be people who will feel too unsafe to stay out of the closet. It is for those people, as well as for the people who are brave enough to stay out, that we must continue to write.
I sometimes wonder, what’s the point? There are so many books out there, mine don’t make the slightest dent. But where LGBT literature is concerned, it’s important to add as much as we can to the body of work that people can read. And reading may serve different purposes. Some may want to read to learn about our past. Some may read to figure out how to navigate the complexities of being gay in a predominantly hetero world. Some read simply to escape and fantasize. All of these reasons are legitimate, and it’s important that we provide positive images of ourselves as women and as lesbians.
So, as trying as the times ahead may be, this is the time for us to stand together and have each others’ backs. Part of that is to keep writing. Our writing may transform, but that’s okay. As long as we can provide strength and entertainment.
Here’s hoping for a better 2017.