Lez Liberty Lit: Likability Is Dehumanizing


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

What’s the difference between a point and a pica?

Likability is dehumanizing.

Colonize This!, an important collection on then-contemporary conceptions of feminism, has been revised and rereleased with nine new essays edited by Daisy Hernández and Bushra Rehman. In an interview with both editors at Electric Literature, Rehman says:

“When we did the first edition, it was in the midst of 9/11. This moment feels different. Not only are we again under threat, but we are also more equipped than ever to gather and organize. Our numbers are larger and the creativity and power we are seeing in today’s youth-led movements is deeply inspiring.

This moment in our country is so deeply disturbing. As people of color, our rights, our very humanity is being challenged in ways that feel more dangerous than they did 20 years ago. At the same time, the power we hold as people of color in this country also feels stronger. For all these reasons, this felt like the right time to put out a new edition. Both to document the amazing activism happening and to inspire more. The first edition inspired a generation of activists and we need all the inspiration we can get now to stand up for what we believe.”

Zines are more important than ever.

Lots of queer mystery and suspense books from the 60s to 90s are out of print. With ReQueered Tales, Justene Adamec, Alexander Inglis and Matt Lubbers-Moore are trying to change that:

“The press acquires the rights to notable gay and lesbian mystery, suspense, and horror fiction from 60s-90s in order to reissue and circulate titles in an e-book and print format, saving these works from obscurity.

Many of the mystery and suspense authors Adamec, Inglis, and Lubbers-Moore read through the years—writers whose storytelling reflected their own lives in an entertaining and engrossing way—are out-of-print and unavailable even as e-books. After brainstorming, they imagined that other readers like themselves were yearning to re-read these novels and that, with the proper exposure, new readers might discover and fall in love with these authors. Most importantly, they want to preserve LGBTQ literary heritage.”

It’s okay to abandon books.

Are the humanities dead?

“Amazon is opening a store across the street from Nashville’s Parnassus Books, because Amazon is bad.”

Read these queer poetry debut collections. Read these books that show the literary/genre distinction doesn’t exist. Read these novels set in Toronto. Read these novels about disappearing. Read these women in translation. Read these coming of age novels. Read this forthcoming nonfiction and these forthcoming essay collections.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

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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. Wow, The Dehumanizing Politics of Likability by Teow Lim Goh is amazing. Likability as a reason for oppression, exclusion, discrimination, hatred, extermination. So appallingly true on a big or a small scale. I see it everywhere.

  2. What I’m struggling with right now is – should I abandon a book which is emotionally difficult to get through but which is an important book telling an important and factual story?

    If not, what are strategies to get through it?

    • @poetryzb Oh, this is a good question. I’ve struggled with this too. In my case, I find that there are times when my mental health is not great and I definitely should not subject myself to traumatic stories, and other times when I’m in a more stable place and can handle them better. So I think of it as similar to taking on emotional labour – if my wellbeing is stable I can attend to needs outside of my own, but if it isn’t, it’s my priority to take care of myself first.

      In the former cases, if there are things I need or want to know about but I’m not in a healthy enough place to handle something like a novel or film that dives into all the horrible details, I might try to find alternative sources that discuss the issue in a more detached, academic way. I don’t know if that would help in your situation at all.

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