Marrying one’s sofa

It seems the thought that there are persons writing, and enjoying, fiction, and wanting more fiction that reflects their own experiences, and it seems that the fact these persons do not fit certain Lowest Difficulty Setting persons’ idea of real, normal, or worthy-of-consideration people –

– well, it seems that certain persons find this worth excoriating.

ETA: Alex has some things to say on comments and civility, with which I agree in substance.

I’m with Alex Dally MacFarlane, on this one, but regardless, you are all cordially invited to the ceremony of betrothal between me and my armchair, which is presently being solemnised.


Less snarkily: I’m a queer person.

I’m still figuring out what that means for me in terms of gender identification, orientation, attraction. Perhaps I’ll never know what it means. In a culture which defines things and traits as masculine and feminine, am I a male person with a female body, or a female person who does male things and feels deeply uneasy with female social roles?

It is much easier not to think about it, and far, far easier not to talk about it. I’m comfortable with celibacy: who I am, who I’m attracted to, might be a much more pressing matter if I was drawn more strongly towards sexual relationships, or if I felt more strongly towards the sexual characteristics of my own body.

Or perhaps I’m more comfortable with celibacy precisely because it means I don’t have to think about what gender means to me personally, as opposed to what being perceived, and living, as a (butch) female person means for me socially.

(This is, I understand, the thing called coming out. Y’know, it’s kind of terrifying? I’m okay with being out about depression and anxiety, but coming out about this is making me shake.)

Science fiction and fantasy is one of the few places where it is possible to conceive of worlds from the ground up that don’t carry the same historical, cultural baggage of binary gender, of masculine and feminine as socially concrete. I was eighteen or nineteen before I realised it was possible for me, for women, to be attracted to both women and men;* several years older, before I got my head around the idea it could be more complicated than that, that the gender you were socially assigned, the role society pressured you to fill, wasn’t necessarily the same as the one inside your head. That the faces we show to the world are all social roles. All performances.

That we can perform differently. Be, differently.

The idea of gender-as-reified, of biology-as-destiny? I’m getting over it.

I don’t know what queerness means for me. I don’t know what their life experiences mean for other people. I don’t even know if I should be coming out and saying this: will it make trouble for me now? In the future?

Probably. I’ll burn that bridge when I get there.

But I do know that SFF is a genre that can, in its stories, show us different views of ourselves. Different ways, perhaps, to be. Maybe – who knows? – better ones.

Break the binary. Break the mould.


Also, me and my armchair? We’re practically married already.


*I’m still convinced at an emotional level that it is somehow fundamentally wrong to like anyone sexually at all. The benefits of a Catholic education are numerous, so it’s said, but… yeah, that’s not really one of them.

Linky feels bad about not being more interesting

I promise, I’ll try to be original again soon.

Malinda Lo, On Space Opera: Why so many brothels in space?

So what’s with all the brothels? Because whenever I think of brothels, I think of one question: Who are the women working there? There was no indication in Leviathan Wakes that there were male prostitutes, even though one of the (male) main characters worked as a cop and seemed to have a lot (a lot!) of contact on the job with prostitutes. I’m gonna guess that sure, there might be male prostitutes, but the majority are probably female.

So who are these prostitutes? What kind of a future world is it that permits so much prostitution? Are the prostitutes regulated? Do they have health insurance? Are they part of worker-owned collectives so they don’t have to deal with pimps?

Foz Meadows, A Rule of Thumb for Escapism:

All of which is a way of saying that the big schism in SFF no more between leftwingers and rightwingers than it is between realists and escapists: rather, it’s between those for whom escapism is an extension of privilege, and those for whom escapism is a means of furthering representation. But even then, that’s far from being a binary position: there are many different kinds of privilege, after all, and in accordance with the principles of intersectionality, possessing one type of privilege doesn’t prevent one from lacking another. It’s simply a question of escapism: from what, into what, and above all, why.

Foz Meadows (is on fire lately), Sexism At Fantasy Book Café:

Let me get this straight: the way to get rid of sexism is to stop talking about gender? That’s like saying that the way to prevent STDs is to stop talking about sex: in both instances, the latter concept is integral to any meaningful discussion of the former problem, such that omitting it would render the entire exercise moot. And don’t even get me started on the pervasive cissexism of constantly defining gender in terms of plumbing and underwear: the issue at hand is concerns brains, not bodies, and trying to boil it all down to descriptions of bits is both childish and incredibly problematic.

Natalie at Radish Reviews, Over the Borderline: More on Genre, Gender, and Reviews:

This conversation about review coverage and gender parity isn’t about discrimination against specific authors–it’s about systemic discrimination. In short: the game is rigged and it needs to be un-rigged.