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The Future Is Queer


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I think I spotted one or two fellow science-fiction fans here on the board. This one is for you, a brand new must-have anthology of gay/lesbian/bi/queer stories set in the future.

This is the callout for submissions:

The future has long been the purview of science fiction - and that future has increasing implications for queer women and men. We're looking for visionary short stories extrapolating actual GLBT concerns into the future, whether it be the next decade or a far-off millennium.

Consider: Despite recent setbacks in many countries, legal recognition of gay and lesbian marriages is taking place and, slowly but inexorably, moving forward. The further one looks to the future, technological advances--cloning, gene manipulation, etc.--will further erode the biological imperative for heterosexuality as a means of procreation, making the social stigma against same-sex relations even less relevant. With the continued development and possibilities of artificial intelligences, with improvements in surgery and technology that allow one to redefine and reassign one's gender with greater ease and accuracy, our current notions of how we create and modify our identities are exploding, and will only continue to expand with each new advance.

Imagine:

* Is true assimilation possible? Is this desirable?

* How will religion (both current organized religions and possible future ones that spring up) react to these technological and social changes, especially at the intersection of GLBT concerns?

* What are the implications of cloning, of increased human longevity thanks to improved medicine, on social structures such as marriage?

* What are the social and legal ramifications of a world where cloning and gender-reassignment could result in the same person having procreative sex with him/herselves? Is sex with one's clone, regardless of said clone's current sexual identity, always inherently queer? Or is it considered merely masturbation?

* It is likely that the future is not binary (either in gender identity or sexual orientation).

These are merely a handful of many possible scenarios to consider. But we especially look for stories that contain an awareness/acknowledgment of a past that includes essentialist notions of sexual identity and the consequent ramifications on society outside of the physical act of sex.

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  • 2 months later...

Science fiction is one of the places where you'll find gay characters simply being people (or aliens...).

I was surprised, as a teen, to read popular sci-fi and fantasy books by well-known authors that had gay characters. Vonda McIntyre and C.J. Cherryh are two examplary authors. They have occasionally included gay characters, with no fanfare at all, simply ordinary people.

In a college lit course, I was surprised by a poignantly disturbing short story where a human jettisons two alien lovers...because they have read his mind and know he is gay too.

It wasn't until this year that someone recommended Mercedes Lackey's The Last Herald Mage trilogy, a great series with a bittersweet ending. I had missed or avoided it before. I was hugely surprised to find two characters with some traits very much like me.

In the area of web fanfilms, you'll find gay Star Trek characters as an integral part of one popular fanfilm series, presented in a mature (not salacious or facile) way, at http://www.hiddenfrontier.com/ -- The forum there has a GLBT friendly section. -- Please be advised the forum's intended to be suited to all ages, at least PG-13. You'll encounter some people with strongly held opinions. -- The fanfilms are good; the production team are well aware of their special effects shortcomings.

-----

A personal comment, from growing up and reflecting on it now. -- This goes somewhat off-topic.

It was an eye-opener and a comfort to me, growing up, to find gay characters in some of my SF books. It was also, I'm sorry to say, confusing to me and yet racy, at the time, too. Heck, I remember a few books in particular, as a young teen, were...well, my imagination did way more than what was in the plot or the book cover. Ahem.

I wish I'd accepted myself. Now, looking back, it's amusing to see what got me excited as a newly pubescent boy. It's also sobering to see what I thought of as racy or vaguely forbidden, and that I didn't know what to make of it.

Hmm. Realization: I'm sometimes a real idiot. My mom read science fiction too. She read the same books I was reading. -- Why, I wonder, did she not prompt me, when I didn't bring up the gay characters and ask questions, or why didn't she ask me to see what I thought or say what she thought? -- Further realization: It was either an open door or a closed door for discussion with her or for my own "closet," and I don't know, in her case, what it was. I do know, it was an opportunity missed many times, between us. -- And that brings me to a Biblical quote in a new light: "Knock, and it shall be opened to you." -- I had a good relationship with my parents on other topics, yet I keep finding that either I or they had real issues in my love and sex education.

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Science fiction's a wonderful "what-if" medium to explore possibilities in a non-threatening way.

I wish, for every guy or girl out there, that they'd look at the gay possibilities without judging them, or themselves, beforehand. I wish also that more parents would talk openly with their kids about love, sex, or being gay.

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...It was an eye-opener and a comfort to me, growing up, to find gay characters in some of my SF books. It was also, I'm sorry to say, confusing to me and yet racy, at the time, too. Heck, I remember a few books in particular, as a young teen, were...well, my imagination did way more than what was in the plot or the book cover. Ahem.

...Science fiction's a wonderful "what-if" medium to explore possibilities in a non-threatening way.

I wish, for every guy or girl out there, that they'd look at the gay possibilities without judging them, or themselves, beforehand. I wish also that more parents would talk openly with their kids about love, sex, or being gay.

I read Ursula K. Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness when I was in 5th or 6th grade. My dad's a SF fan, and we have lots of SF books at home. This is one of them. It opened my eyes to people who were different, and the prejudice they could suffer as a result of just being different. It impacted me in ways I didn't understand at that time, and I think it helped guide me to be the way I am today.

Every so often I think about TLHoD; this discussion has made me decide to find it and re-read it. In fact, I'm going to use is as one of the books I have to critique for my English 4 class this semester.

Colin :icon_geek:

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