I know right? I’m so tired of the ‘BEING GAY IS SO MEANINGFUL AND TRAGEDY IS MEANINGFUL LET’S WATCH THESE TWO LESBIANS DIE SLOWLY FOR TWO SAD HOURS’ agenda.
Your basic options for dodging that shit are: 1) queer ebook imprints and 2) fanfiction.
Books and movies that make it to mainstream publication are like—I don’t know, they make me super uncomfortable a lot of the time. They’re all about like THIS IS THE STRUGGLE, LOOK, LOOK AT IT, LOOK AT THE SADNESSES. The most popular recommended stuff I’ve tried comes off like disaster tourism for straights, and a lot of the other more private stuff still seems like… a cataloguing of hurts. We need that, I think, to forefront the injustice queers still face and to pay our respect to elder generations of queers, but like, man, if I see another fucking lesbian couple kick it I am gonna lose my shit.
I have totally forgotten which queer publishers are good and which are to be avoided, since I mostly stick to fanfiction, but go tug on cyphercat's sleeve and definitely vintar's too. They'll point you in the right direction.
If anyone else has any recommendations for fun, positive queer stories, please reblog!
The most popular recommended stuff I’ve tired comes off like disaster tourism for straights
Roach with the truth bomb, BOOM.
Queer small presses who are making an effort to be inclusive of the whole umbrella and give us happy endings: Riptide Publishing (my publisher), Less Than Three Press, Bold Strokes Books, Blind Eye Books. In all cases, story quality varies by author, so do a bit more research first, but they’re definitely near the top of my “doing it right” list. Most of their stories are going to be romances or romance-and-other-genre.
If you are into sci fi, Melissa Scott has been writing sci fi stories where gay people are normal and have adventures for years; my roommate has read a lot more of her stuff than I have and specifically recs Mighty Good Road for healthy long-term lesbian relationship.
In the realm of fantasy, Amanda Downum’s The Bone Palace features a trans lady as a major character who dresses beautifully, kicks loads of ass, and gets a happy ending, in a culture that has established space for gender-variant people.
The Fifth Millennium series by SM Stirling and Shirley Meier are absolutely trashy fantasy of the “this made a great D&D campaign and it will make even better books!” variety, but the main characters are ladies who kick ass together, fall in love, kick more ass together, and win everything, so I honestly didn’t care. Also there is a bloodthirsty weasel-horse. Note that there is a *lot* of awful stuff in this series, tho it’s generally not queerness-related; there is slavery and instances of rape (Shadow’s Daughter is the most rapey, if you want to minimize that).
I have no recs whatsoever for contemporary, non-fantastic settings, I’m afraid (though there are piles of happy endings there if you are looking specifically in romance) — I just don’t read it in general.
Good luck, anon! And please, everyone who is looking for this, remember that publishers tend to be slow to take risks because they need to have faith they will make money — so if you find examples of the thing you want to see more of, consider buying what you can afford. It’ll keep dinner on the authors’ table and encourage the publishers to keep up the good work.
thanks cypher! i knew you’d come through on this.