The world has changed. The days of casual, socially acceptable homophobia are long gone. The percent of Americans identifying as LGBTQ has gone up from 3.5% in 2011 to 7.1% today, and for Gen Z, the number is a whopping 21%.
The media landscape reflects this. It is interesting to compare books written twenty years ago, or set in an earlier era (like CPB’s own Bloomsbury’s Late Rose or In Love With Alice) with those from the last few years, like He Could Be Another Bill, and to see how matter-of-fact and unremarkable LGBTQ characters are, such a part of the landscape.
Pride celebrations are filled with a universal, accessible and inclusive joy. Anyone still standing to one side with a frown, hoping that the tide will turn, yearning for the return of The Closet … frankly, that person is a dinosaur.
This little collection of words and pictures is our way of wishing everyone a Happy Pride Month.
“Did Willa ever tell you that . . . tell you she was . . . ?”
Paul nodded his head….
Chip answered the question left hanging. “I don’t think she ever thought about it until Diane moved back to Boston last summer. The world is changing.”
Chip’s answer shocked Paul. Johnny and his detectives knew of Willa’s affair with Diane in 1973, before Diane left for New Mexico. Willa’s husband and brother had been kept in the dark — or had kept themselves in the dark — until the two women were ready for a public announcement….
Paul chuckled. “The world is changing. Why can’t I change with it?”
Max’s Diamonds, by Jay Greenfield
I’m in love with a girl.
A person with brown hair streaked with a variety of colors, light gray eyes, and a glowing backpack holds their hands up. “Whoa — ”
I try to piece together what I should say but, for some reason, the only thing that comes to mind is: “What the fuck.”
“I’m not gonna hurt you. I’m just here to — ” They stop and bite down on their lip slowly. “If I say, you probably won’t believe me. But just put the glowing knife down.”
“Try me.” I lean over slightly to try to get a better view of the backpack, but they shift with me.
They sigh. “I’m sorry. I thought you were asleep — ”
“Oh, so that’s supposed to make it better?” I wave the dagger. “I’m not afraid to use this, you know.”
“No, no. I just — ” They sigh and shift the bag around, flipping the top flap up, revealing dozens of small jars of glowing light. “I collect dreams.”
Stardust, by Tov
Someplace in the back of her head, a little instinct told Alice that all this was terrible. Making out with another girl was not terrible, specifically, but spending time, spending days and days thinking it over, wanting it so badly, demanding it, and then making out with another girl. Had she not rebuffed Eden on the terrace, she could have later told herself she had just been swept up in the moment. How would she comfort herself later, when she’d gotten a little sleep, when the sticky warmth of the morning might make the desperation of the night seem both distasteful and disastrous? Whom would she be after tonight?
In Love With Alice, by Alon Preiss
It was hectic in the boys’ dorm. Ashleigh’s friend Freddie was helping the other boys unpack. Freddie was gay and Edward was his boyfriend. Jack was jealous, because even though Freddie and Edward were boyfriend and boyfriend, and that was the same as being boyfriend and girlfriend, they got to be in the same room together. It didn’t seem fair that he couldn’t be in the same room with Ashleigh, but they could be if they were both girls and they were gay.
He Could Be Another Bill Gates, by Donna Levin
Daydreaming over a second glass of wine, she remembered seeing Lucy Harrison and Amy Greener together in the classroom. The class was at recess and Charlotte had hidden in the cloakroom, where she looked through the keyhole to see Miss Harrison kiss Miss Greener. Charlotte’s heart had raced, not from fear but the excitement of what a relationship between two women might be. She had never seen her own parents embrace, let alone kiss, and here were two women obviously in love with each other, unlike Charlotte’s parents.
Bloomsbury’s Late Rose, by Pen Pearson
I could not think of Tang as a woman now, so complete was the disguise — or was it a transformation, a metamorphosis? This was Mr. Tang. This was a man. An illusion…? I hoped; but my resolve and certainty faltered.
… Tang’s eyes met mine, and I saw something in Tang’s eyes, a recognition that Tang remembered a moment between us on the hills overlooking Weedville, the night before we might die. Tang didn’t smile — not at that moment, not ever — but looked not-displeased, which I imagine was Tang’s way of smiling, and that is how I took it, and so I felt welcomed.
Tang’s posture adjusted just a bit, the muscles in the face relaxed.
Once again, she was tough old Madame Tang. Mr. Tang was gone.
Watt O’Hugh and the Innocent Dead, by Steven S. Drachman
Images by Sharon McCutcheon, Brett Sayles, Pavel Danilyuk, Polina Tankilevitch, Rodnae Productions, Michelle Lemon, Ivan Samkov