Good afternoon friends and welcome. Thank you for stopping by last week to meet author Claire Highton-Stevenson. Today author Pascal Scott, author of the new thriller Hard Luck is here. Let’s give her a warm welcome.
By Pascal Scott
Sometimes I think I’m just too old for all this.
I recently answered a call for submissions for a lesbian anthology of erotica. I’ve been published several times in this particular collection, under different editors, so it was natural for me to think about writing another story for consideration.
The editor of this latest anthology was someone I was acquainted with, through the tangled web of internet connections, and from what I knew of her, I respected her as a person of purpose with a coherent personal philosophy.
What made me pause about the call was that the editor wrote she was looking for stories from “queer women, non-binary AFAB, and trans women…with ability, race, ethnicity, class, neurodiversity, ace-spectrum, age, religion, or other marginalized viewpoints.” Preference would be given to #Ownvoices stories.
Now, if you’re young, all that probably seems just fine to you because you’ve grown up with all this. But if you’re older, like me, your response to the above may have been to sigh and ask, How did we get here? (Don’t worry. I’m going to tell you.)
Like so many things, it happened incrementally, over time. There was a decade—the nineteen sixties and seventies to be exact—when the word “gay” came into currency as a replacement for homosexual, a term with negative connotations. Back then, the word gay was inclusive; it meant both gay men and lesbians (“gay women”).
We activists, as part of a social movement the media labeled “gay liberation,” argued that gay people deserved the same civil protections as “straight” people. (And yes, we did have an agenda; the Right was right about that one. And I can tell you about it sometime, if you’re interested.)
During this same decade, lesbians (“gay women”) started feeling shut out of the decision-making process happening within the gay movement. Essentially, lesbians felt that men were taking the active role and delegating the subordinate tasks like note-taking and coffee-making to the women. You can imagine what happened next.
Lesbians left in droves, joining the contingent of Lesbian Separatists. Those who stayed behind were able to persuade a few forward-looking gay men to open up the Umbrella, and the G/L alphabet began. (Later, lesbians protested about the order of G before L, which is how that got reversed.)
I think it was the nineteen nineties when the bisexuals stood up, demanding shelter and a float at the Parade. And so, for a brief period we had an LGB movement. (On a personal note, this is where the movement lost me, when they admitted the bisexuals. No offense to my bisexual friends.)
Around this same time, academia was going through its postmodern, poststructuralist, deconstructionist phase, which fundamentally changed the direction of the Humanities, in general, and Women Studies, in particular. In case you missed it or are too young to remember, I’ll summarize the gist of the postmodern philosophy.
Reality is not real, said the postmoderns in obscure terms nobody really understood, much of it translated from the French. Reality is a culturally constructed agreement between people with large vocabularies. A rock is hard not because of its nature; it’s hard because we all agree that it is hard. The foundational canon and structure of modernity were delusions based on the work of old white men.
Postmodernism was a form of relativism and nihilism, if you want to trace its philosophical origins. But that is somewhat beside the point.
The point is that by the time French intellectuals conquered the American university, “sex” as a descriptor of biological differences had been replaced by “gender.” Interestingly, it was the Victorians who first avoided the term sex when referring to male and female, thinking it too frank a term. They suggested “gender,” a more polite euphemism.
Gender (meaning both gender, the social aspect of sexual differences; and biology, the physical differences) did not exist, suggested the postmoderns; gender was fluid and could be assigned by thought alone. And so it did not matter if one had a vagina or not; either way, one could call oneself a woman or a man or anything one liked. And a woman with a penis was not an oxymoron.
In academia, Women Studies disappeared, replaced by Gender Studies. LGBT became the new mouthful of politically correct terminology (but nothing like the alphabet that was yet to come).
I was MIA when the transgender people were let into the movement and was first made aware of their inclusion during the twenty-first century. That’s how far afield I had drifted.
Once the trans people came in under the Umbrella and had their float, everyone else wanted in. The Qs, the Is, the As, the whole alphabet soup of people who identified with what had once been an exclusively homosexual club. (And, really, there’s no end in sight, except perhaps to say “enough” when unfriendly white heterosexual males come knocking at that door. I think it’s only a matter of time before they’re let in, too. Look at what happened to the Leather community.)
And that, in my view, is how we arrived where we are. Trans. Queer. Non-binary AFAB (had to look that up, as well).
Which brings us back to the present. It’s twenty-nineteen, and so I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised by that call for submission. I shouldn’t have been stunned that a collection of lesbian stories would give preference to trans voices and queer voices and even to asexual voices (in an anthology of erotica!).
It’s madness, I’m tempted to say, but what do I know? I’ve lived sixty-eight years and have seen changes my younger self couldn’t have imagined. The world changes, and we have to change with it. Adapt or die, say the evolutionists. We’ll see where this goes, I say.
Just one thing. It will be interesting to see if my story gets included among the voices. The many “lesbian” voices.
Thank you, Pascal, for sharing today. For more about her, you can check out her Amazon Central Page.
Until Next Time,
Photos subject to copyright.