Oh, if only I could live inside a science fiction series! If I could, I would stop being the ‘L’ in LGBTI! You see, the only time I’m reminded of ‘being’ gay/lesbian is when it’s imposed from the outside. I can’t recall a day in 10+ years when I woke and had an awareness of being ‘lesbian.’ It’s actually a societal imposition from the heterosexual privileged majority, that when used, creates a mindset suggesting we’re separate. I’m not your ‘gay’ friend. My ten-year marriage is not a ‘gay’ marriage. I am just your friend and I simply have a ten-year loving marriage, which you are privileged to witness and learn something from.
Trust – I understand this might be confusing to some.
Like my friend, a mother who has a son who recently shared with her that he loves a boy. She tells me she’s very accepting and has purchased rainbow cups and napkins to help celebrate his prom and new boyfriend; I love her for this, because my experience was quite opposite. However, what I offered her was an opportunity to shift perception to see there was no reason to ‘accept’ in the first place. That the mere acceptance of his love suggested that it was ‘less than’ or ‘other’ or ‘different,’ and it’s not. It would’ve been wonderful if she could evolve to simply see her son who ‘loves,’ not her ‘gay’ son, who ‘loves a boy.’ I asked her if she had to take time to accept (and come to terms with) the partners of her other children.
She started to get it.
The dilemma arises on the outside of the community. Within the Pride community, there is a shared experience. When we gather for a parade or speak of pride, it is not for being ‘lesbian,’ but for surviving discrimination and prejudice across centuries, and enduring a shared-history of visibility to not allow separatism. I am proud of being ‘me’ against the violence and discrimination shown to me. Can you see or understand the difference? The moment someone has to declare and identify me as a ‘lesbian,’ they are perceiving a difference, and a subtle discrimination is taking place, even if it is not intended.
The more we continue to allow subtle discrimination, in the form of separate identification—whether it’s our friends, coworkers, family, the media, the law—the more we will continue to abide as the ‘others’ and, in turn, create a climate that allows more human rights violations to germinate and continue to flourish as an accepted norm.
A beautiful example of anonymity, as it relates to love, and where this subtle discrimination is being questioned, is in a new generation of science fiction TV shows. In science fiction, we’re already there—evolved—not gay or lesbian or trans or gendered, we’re simply other people and under the umbrella of being human. When I watch this new generation of shows, I know we’re onto something, a place where the PRIDE community can be truly free.
Take the show Supergirl, where Alex Danvers, Supergirl’s sister (notice I didn’t say ‘lesbian’ sister) gathers her friends together to share the news she’s dating Detective Maggie Sawyer, a mutual friend of the group (“Luthors” episode, season 2). When Alex tells this to Mon-El, an alien to the planet, he doesn’t understand why she feels she has to make an announcement. He remarks, “Is that a problem here on Earth?” Alex explains, casually, “Not everyone on Earth supports ladies lovin’ ladies.”
We can understand Alex doesn’t view herself as different, but is acting from a place of acculturation and accommodating others who might. The matter is then quickly dispelled and the conversation resumes on other more important things. With brevity, the writers demonstrate the evolution of the collective consciousness where there is no separation or hierarchy with who somebody loves.
Science fiction TV series, especially, provide a future reality that is evolved, showing us the way forward, that advancements in science, technology, and an understanding of respect for all life-forms is the way toward harmony and peace in the world (and universe). Even religion has progressed from a narrowed, unbending dogma that ‘loves but doesn’t condone’ to a true unconditional love that is whole.
Shows like Orville, Dr. Who (Season 11), and Star Trek: Discovery, demonstrate a shift in language: there are no announcements or need to accept, because all people are respected, and what was once ‘differences’ are now a threaded humanity. These writers/shows are stepping up to erase separatist language—people aren’t ‘gay’ on these shows, they’re just other people in relationships.
That’s certainly the FAR-OUT (wink-wink) world I live in.
By Emry Sunderland (no preference of pronoun)
Emry Sunderland is a compassionate SF writer advocating self-responsibility and compassion for others in creating a brilliant future.