Lez Liberty Lit: Kinda Gay, Or Really Gay?


Hi and welcome to this week’s Lez Liberty Lit!

Things About Queer Books (And Other Books Relevant To Your Interests)

“When disability is used in literature, pop culture, and media, it’s often implemented as a characterization device rather than as a reflection of society — a metaphor for deficiency or vulnerability,” writes Charlotte Loftus at Bitch. So how does disability work in science fiction and fantasy? Loftus continues:

“Sci-fi/fantasy fans and creators look to the genre for visions of better worlds, but too often those worlds include only bodies that are valued in our current one: The one ring to rule them all had better be held by a white, heteronormative, abled male. Instead of a progress narrative that effectively eliminates difference, sci-fi should be asking for whom this future was created, and at what cost? Instead of restoring order by curing or overcoming disability, sci-fi and fantasy could acknowledge that disruptive and disabled bodies and minds create unique perspectives and possibilities for a horizon that includes accessible futures.”

Read and know and listen to these 15 indigenous feminists. Read these six Canadian trans women writers. Read these five Hispanic authors. Read Angie Thomas. Contextualize Henrietta Lacks with this reading list. Read these books about witches. Read these LA-focused books. (And after, this alphabetized list of Hollywood places.) Read these seaside novels. Read Granta’s list of the 21 young American novelists to watch this decade.

Ana Valens, in a review of Nerve Endings: The New Trans Erotic, edited by Tobi Hill-Meyer, calls it “a carefully edited and curated erotic collection by and for trans people. It presents an array of topics—everything from gender dysphoria in trans dating to sex work as a trans man to learning to love one’s body as a trans woman of color. Not every story is erotic, as some stories are more about trans sexuality than they are about trans sex. But with this pioneering collection paving the way for more trans erotica, Hill-Meyer has done for trans erotica what Topside Press’ The Collection did for trans prose. Trans readers, this one is a must-grab, no matter what.”

Sadie Wendell Mitchell, “Dig,” 1909, via Lit Hub

Fictional drugs of literature, ranked.”

Cardboard presses make printing more accessible.

“The idea that not just good words but meticulously good words in English make you a good person has been around a few centuries,” writes Sarah Bronson at the Establishment. And guess what? Grammar actually comes from privilege.

Check out these photos from “Black Lives Have {Always) Mattered,” part of an exhibition curated by Kalia Brooks at the International Center of Photography.

There are less queer adult fiction books being published, but more sales.

Contemporary women writers do fairytales differently.

Willa Cather’s oeuvre: kinda gay, or really gay?

Claire Rudy Foster writes about writing, editing, and choking at the Rumpus:

“My writing and editing have a reputation for being ferocious. Omit needless words is the injunction from Strunk & White. I came to this naturally. I have always been unsparing—of myself, and others. Sometimes, I read with a belt around my neck. Try it. Every word is precious. Try cutting every adjective. Deny yourself a part of speech and see how weak your sentence constructions are. I have trained myself, ruthless as a dominatrix. How can this be tighter? One reader told me that my paragraphs were so dense that he choked, reading them. I knew then that I had succeeded.”

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Ryan Yates

Ryan Yates was the NSFW Editor (2013–2018) and Literary Editor for Autostraddle.com, with bylines in Nylon, Refinery29, The Toast, Bitch, The Daily Beast, Jezebel, and elsewhere. They live in Los Angeles and also on twitter and instagram.

Ryan has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. Can’t wait to dig into some of these! These are all my interests… pulling out my old copy of “My Antonia” now…

    Thanks, Carolyn!

  2. I love grammar! I also appreciate that its precision and layers are best used in the higher pursuit of better communication, rather than to quash it. (The part of me that likes structure and rules notwithstanding…that’s a whole other conversation).

    I enjoyed this article calling out privilege. The discussion is in the context of grammar, but we use it in our inclusive language too (ironically?). Heaven help the well-meaning individual who enters a forum for discussion, then inelegantly expresses their thoughts without using the right “words”, or rather using the “wrong” words.

  3. So much interest in grammar. I feel various ways on it based on a mix of my own experiences & what I’ve read from other peoples lived experiences (including helping my dyslexic mum with essays) but I would say there’s no ‘right’ way to do grammar.

    There’s privilege inherent in judging how other ppl use grammar. But there can also be privilege inherent in expecting what you’re saying & how you’re phrasing it is ‘common sense’. I’ve had that side of it as someone who’s aspie – someone said something they thought was clear, I haven’t found it clear & I’ve faced real world consequences based on that.

    So I think the golden rules should be: 1 don’t pick at someone just because they don’t use standard English (sometimes this is actually clearer than standard English anyway eg there’s no separate standard English word for ‘you’ – ‘y’all’ and ‘youse’ are clearer) 2 try to use language which is as clear as you can make it for as many as possible even if this means simplifying your language 3 don’t judge ppl if they ask for clarification – it might be that they’re disabled, less educated or English isn’t their first language and 4 we should be moving to a situation where it’s socially acceptable to ask for someone to rephrase what they said. My mum’s deaf and she sometimes asks me to do this just cos some words sound alike and the synonyms would clear it up.

    Anyway my point is that language/grammar is a complicated thing but for too long it’s been based on what the privileged and the prescriptivists think & making it match a dead language (Latin) and keeping it static rather than everyone just trying to make their language as easy to understand as they can…

  4. I teach fundamental literacy skills to adults, and it makes me so happy to see how far the discussion around language and privilege has come. When I blogged about literacy privilege five years ago, the consternation and pushback I received, even sometimes from otherwise socially progressive circles, was kind of disheartening. There’s still a lot of ignorance and pedantry out there, of course, but there’s definitely a shift happening.

  5. I love Willa Cather so much. I am also a Midwesterner in a love with the land, a homo, someone with that same attitude towards work and life. If my family hadn’t left the farm a few generations ago, or I lived in the time of my grandmother, her are who I’d be. She writes my soul.

  6. I love Willa Cather so much. I am also a Midwesterner in a love with the land, a homo, someone with that same attitude towards work and life. If my family hadn’t left the farm a few generations ago, or I lived in the time of my grandmother, her characters are who I’d be. She writes my soul.

  7. I think those of us who have a decent grasp of Grammar read quite a bit so it is only natural to use the same grammar we find in our books.

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