In a world where trans people are under constant threat, Republican think-pieces wage propaganda wars against queer folx daily, and America itself has shown its bigoted colors countless times, what can we do to stem the tide of hate? You're not going to believe me, but media makes for an excellent long-term panacea. Namely, #OwnVoices queer books, as they're the most potent narrative-smashers around.
Fascists think of queer books as weapons, and in a way, they're almost right. Queer books are a form of dissent, a way to push back against the bigoted narratives being spun by the ignorant and the powerful. Not only that, but they provide much-needed representation for LGBTQIA+ people and even offer communal queer knowledge often gatekept from us. By expanding the social lexicon of human experiences with literary works, we can offer knowledge currently being erased the world over. That's integral, powerful and important for the next generation of young queer people.
Moreover, unlearning hate doesn't just come from school, but via entertainment messaging. By centering queer stories, the truly wicked have a harder time spinning bigotry into the cultural landscape. For example: Novels may not force a queerphobic lawmaker's hand, but they will make it harder for their laws to find support. And while books may not jettison TERFs into space, they will make it harder to attract people to their cause, if said people are reading humanizing trans fiction. Therein, queer stories are a long-term strategy for good.
More than all that, lgbt+ books also offer hope. Hope that things can get better, and hope that there's a community out there just waiting to be found. Queer folx are everywhere and the louder our voices carry, the more we can shine like a beacon to help those like us find their way.
Yes, we must donate to LGBTQIA+ causes and fight against discrimination (like transmisogyny) whenever we see it. Yes, we must push lawmakers to act in our best interests. Yes, we must oust fascists from all branches of society, which takes comrades stepping up. These are all actions that must be taken, but they aren't the only items on the gay agenda, because a world must be healed to be maintained.
You need to know something: Fascism is an eternal struggle and the reason the wicked burn books is to control the message. For not only this reason, LGBT+ literature can be activist art by merit of existing.
We must combat the stories cishet society tells us about who we are. We must create an world where queer art of all sorts can thrive. We must spread positive, complex, personal queer narratives to saturate the landscape. When this happens, we lay the groundwork for Fascism to never again grow into the toxic problem it is today. We change the world with art when we set it free.
If fascists think queer authors and their books are a serious threat, then maybe we should all start taking them seriously and up the ante. LGBT+ books are a weapon of change. Write them exquisitely, read them voraciously and use them liberally.