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Queers Destroy Science Fiction! is a special issue of the Hugo-winning magazine LIGHTSPEED 100% written—and edited—by queer creators.
Queers Destroy Science Fiction! is a special issue of the Hugo-winning magazine LIGHTSPEED 100% written—and edited—by queer creators.
Queers Destroy Science Fiction! is a special issue of the Hugo-winning magazine LIGHTSPEED 100% written—and edited—by queer creators.
2,250 backers pledged $54,523 to help bring this project to life.

Personal Essay: "So Say We All" by Emma Osborne

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When we set out to destroy science fiction with this Kickstarter, we didn't want it to be your ordinary, run-of-the-mill campaign. We wanted it to be full of smashing, crashing queer voices, telling what it really means to be queer reading and writing science fiction. One of the ways we hope to do that is by sharing a series of personal essays about the experience of being queer in science fiction.  

Personal Essay: "So Say We All" by Emma Osborne

I grew up Chewton, population 403. Somehow, the sci-fi gene that I inherited from my dad flourished in a house without bookshelves, and a TV that ran on solar panels. He delighted in taking me to see Star Trek movies at far too young an age and played me the 2001: A Space Odyssey soundtrack on his record player. I ransacked the local library on a weekly basis. I didn’t have much, but it was enough to get me hooked. But what I lacked, as a sexuality-questioning and isolated teen, was SF with any kind of queer representation. We’ve come a long way since the early 90s, but a queer lead in a SF movie or book would have allowed me a safe escape, a haven.

Thousands of worlds are created and populated in the realms of science fiction. Often, those worlds are barren of diverse genders or sexualities. It can seem that these imagined universes (whether closely related to our own or strikingly different) are not a place for me or for my extended queer and trans* family. Without a visible queer presence, SF becomes another place where we are not acknowledged, and thus implicitly unwelcome.

In general, heteronormativity is the standard in popular SF. Ever heard of a gay Jedi? I have become so numb to straight worlds that when a complex queer presence does pop up (for example, Admiral Helena Cain in Battlestar Galactica), it brings about a palpable sense of relief, validation and happiness. I am suddenly given approval to exist within, and therefore connect with, our imagined universe.

Writing diverse characters and worlds can be intimidating. Even I find it daunting to write queer characters sometimes, because I want to make absolutely certain that I’m getting it right. But I’m excited to try, to experiment. Every story with queer inclusion makes a difference, because there is still not enough diverse representation in this world, let alone the ones we create.

There are many proud queer writers within the science fiction community, but there are also so many people who cannot yet be comfortably or safely out, both within the community and in society at large. Suicide amongst queer and trans* teens and adults is still shockingly high and discrimination is rife. We are in the unique position of writing about change, innovation, the future. We have the power to write inclusive worlds and societies that may lead to real world changes for the better.

As a young, geeky queer writer in country Australia, it would have meant the world to me to see the growing queer presence within SFF, and to know that it would welcome me with open arms—just as it will welcome you, if you are out there and uncertain, looking for a home planet of your own.

So say we all.

_____

Emma Osborne is a fiction writer and poet from Melbourne, Australia. Her short stories can be found in Aurealis, Bastion Science Fiction,and Shock Totem. Her poetry has been featured in Star*Line and has appeared in Apex Magazine. Emma comes from a long line of dance floor starters and was once engaged in a bear hug so epic that both parties fell over. She can be found on Twitter as @redscribe.

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    1. Missing avatar

      Savanni D'Gerinel on January 16, 2015

      This makes me Even More Excited about this project! So say we all!