Very good points. Storytelling can help, I think. But the same well-meaning, liberal folks who live in progressive areas and who largely act as narrative gate keepers have decided that telling realistic stories about LGBTQ youth is not a good idea.

Literary agents won’t represent novels that “perpetuate negative stereotypes or cliched tropes.” Publishers want books that promote a positive narrative. Film critics trash movies if they include “tragic” elements. Queer theory and gender studies departments at major universities tend to be on the same page, teaching students that popular culture is wrong to push a narrative that isn’t positive.

Films like “Love Simon” and “Call me by my Name” are great, but they represent a narrative not common to youth outside certain parts of the US. Narratives that represent the lived experiences of other youth are often not welcomed in literary and cultural circles. That’s unfortunate.

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Writer. Runner. Marine. Airman. Former LGBTQ and HIV activist. Former ActUpNY and Queer Nation. Polyglot. Middle-aged, uppity faggot. jamesfinnwrites@gmail.com

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