I edit textbooks for a living, so I’ve had the opportunity to take more undergraduate courses than the average person—especially one that doesn’t have multiple degrees. One of my areas of expertise has been history. In particular, I’ve become something of a Renaissance scholar over the years. (I once wrote a paper without citing any sources, much to the chagrin of my professor.) I’m by no means an expert. I am fairly well-versed in the discourse around the Renaissance.
By this point, we’ve likely all heard the kerfuffle around the team of Solo: A Star Wars Story telling people Lando Calrissian is pansexual.
Hurrah, right?! This makes perfect sense for a “womanizing” character in a space opera. It’s progressive! It’s representative! Except … it’s not.
One thing many people decry these days is how many “queers” there appear to be. From the militant extremists to closeted homophobes and people who allegedly don’t care, the sentiment is often that there must be something going on! There must be some reason why all these people are “turning” queer. Why, just look at history! Nobody was queer back then.
Except, well, no. They totally were and we always have been. While cultural conceptions of “queer” have changed over time and most of the people on this list wouldn’t have understood themselves in quite the same terms we use today, the fact of the matter is people have always been queer.
Pfft. Okay. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? May ended up being pretty much a total write-off for me, so I have stuff going back to April to discuss here. But I also want to talk about the exciting books I plan to read in June!
Let’s dive in.
LGBT? LGBTQ? LGBTQA+? It’s little wonder many people are confused about the acronym used to describe the community. It keeps changing and evolving. And while there’s nothing wrong with evolving and changing terminology, it does make the situation rife for confusion. This seems to be the case with LGBTQ+ and all of its variants, particularly because the acronym keeps getting longer.
So, let’s sort out this acronym, shall we?
Ah, ancient Greece. Depending on who you ask, ancient Greece will probably rank as one of the greatest periods of European history. While perhaps not quite as influential as the Romans, Greek influence lasted for thousands of years in the West. The Romans themselves adopted much of ancient Greek culture.
“I don’t mind gay stuff, but I don’t know. In these books, everyone’s gay. It just doesn’t seem realistic.” You’ve probably met someone who’s expressed this sentiment.
That’s bunk! The reason these readers have trouble is because they believe some pretty heterosexist bullshit. There’s some interesting psychological phenomena that play into this, which I’m going to explore a little. And then, of course, there’s the glaring historical fact that human beings have always been at least a little bit gay.
As a writer, as a reader, as a human being, it’s always good to pause and examine why we do the things we do. Why do you believe what you believe? If you don’t believe science, why don’t you? Taking a critical look at your own knowledge and beliefs is never out of order. Knowledge, thanks to science, changes. It’s ever evolving, and what we think we know today may not be true tomorrow, as we learn more about our amazing world.