This weekend I only ended up doing one of my Continuum panels, Queering Space, because I was sick. An audience member asked us the question: what do we look for in sci fi stories that isn’t necessarily explicit queer representation, but rather what themes resonate with us as queer people.
I thought about it for a bit because I wanted to say something positive, because I’m finding lately that I am speaking about what is hard about being queer, rather than what is good about it (of course these discussions are important, but I’m trying to shift my focus onto the positives).
I said found family. A lot of us are estranged, or not out, or our blood families just don’t quite get it. But our found families are safe places, we are loved there without any exception to do with our queerness. They see us for everything we are, and we see them, and there is so much love.
(The audience member then said I had to read Becky Chambers’ books and I’m planning on it.)
I feel like the queer community is a kind of family, and I know it has its flaws and is still not a safe place for everyone. But when there is suffering within that community, we see it, we recognise it, because it’s our own suffering, too. And it does bring us together.
And while the stories that do have the kind of found family vibe to them, may not explicitly be queer, there is a recognition there. The group of characters who have found each other, who love and care for each other in the vast emptiness of space, their ship is full of light and air.
PS. if you know books about queers in space that fit this theme, please let me know!