Pride month is drawing to a close. Here in the States, we memorialize the fight for equality, and that fierce riot led by trans women, lesbians, and gay men—Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and Storme DeLarverie among so many others.
We celebrate Pride because we have to–because there are so many policies and places and people that still deny us, erase us, stamp us down.
I wanted to take a moment here to talk about the two reasons I write queer romance. My current work in progress is historical fiction with a trans protagonist, for example, and I’m writing it for two reasons. First, because historical fiction too rarely tells the stories that we know happened—the lives of non-gender-conforming or trans people. (Okay, some cultures have better track records than others when it comes to recognizing different genders and sexualities, but not my traditions–I’m European and Jewish ethnically, Christian by faith). But queer people have always been, well, queering things up in the church, the state, and the home.
And second, I want stories that don’t just pathologize who we are or were but tell our stories in ways that embed our lives into the vibrant fabric of human history. I want to write stories about queer and trans people loving and living.
That’s all; that’s what I wanted to say. Let’s all celebrate who we are, that we love, and that our love and our lives matter.
Just for fun, a scene from my work in progress, a historical novel about a trans inquisitor and the young lord who falls for him:
“You believe in it, don’t you, my lord?” The inquisitor looked at him. “A higher love, the beauty of the rose, the test of the true knight’s heart.”
Adhemar tried to make his face as stern as the inquisitor’s when he wasn’t bloody laughing. “You say you don’t? But you know the songs. So you must’ve heard or read them too.”
The inquisitor clapped a hand to Adhemar’s shoulder. His pale face was flushed pink with hilarity and his eyes were a thousand diamonds. “You are an innocent,” the inquisitor said. “And the church is sworn to protect innocents. So I cannot answer you.”
Adhemar swatted at him and the man slipped away like a vapor, laughing again. Adhemar found himself, against his will, grinning. His breath frosted in the air as he laughed at the absurdity of it all. And the most beautiful man he had ever seen laughed back at him, shaved head turned to gilt in the fresh sun, a creature of light and dark, a warrior’s heart in a monk’s robes and humble, mud-stained feet.