When I first started writing, I kept conflicts, characters and my societies very much politically correct, in as far as I understood correctness. I didn’t bash any races, I didn’t write racist characters and I didn’t mess around with life styles. Everyone was straight, wore clothes all the time and even the bad guys kept curse words behind their teeth.
Golly that was a long time ago! Also, all those manuscript are sitting in an attic, as relics of a childhood. Fond memories but not worthy of publication.
There seems to be, historically, rules placed upon speculative fiction, at least the generally known representatives of it, that allow for the imaginative genius to explore, flora, fauna, political systems and disotopia but a few subjects have seemed taboo, for the majority. Under taboo I would place, marriage and expanded versions of sexuality.
Speculative fiction is for the opening of the mind and the imagination. But how open are we actually, as a speculative fiction community? This thought came to mind when I was reading “The Incidentally Gay Character” by Inconvenient Muse. Go check out her post. It’s charming.
Personally, I went round and round with three of my characters for six months before giving in an acknowledging that they had a stable, long term, mutually agreed upon threesome. Looking back now, I wonder why I resisted so hard. I’m open to alternative lifestyles, though I don’t live one right now. Plenty of my friends are outside the straight and narrow norm that I grew up with. So what was my hang up?
One of my conclusions is that’s is simple social programming. We’re taught things are a certain way and until it really hits most of us between the eyes, even though we may personally not have any strong convictions on a subject, we’re going to keep going along with what we’ve been given approval to believe something else. We need and want approval because at our base natures, we’re social creatures. As we’ve evolved, belief systems have become important for deciding who to include or exclude from the “tribe”.
Acceptance is the reward for keeping our minds shut and our mouths blathering on the accepted refrain. Fortunately for many of us now, we can find a tribe now, that accepts whatever it is that we feel drawn to. If we’re brave enough to get up and go find one.
I’ve been fortunate. Even though part of my original reasoning for taking a pen name was to avoid shaming my parents in their social circles, they’ve both encouraged me in my writing and my life, whether or not they want to be a part of it. I’ve never had a verbally violent conversation with anyone in my past over social issues an my dynamic change in world view. Some people don’t know because they assume that I have continued to believe whatever it is that they believe. Others have simple drifted away when I didn’t cough up the same fervor for the old prejudices.
Today, I write as my character are inclined to go. It has led to some very interesting places and often challenges me personally. I’ve enjoyed the journey.