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Image for gAy to Z: Q is for…

gAy to Z: Q is for…

What is Queerotica? Is it OK to be Questioning? Who are Tegan and Sara Quin, and what’s so great about Queer as Folk? Find out as Same Same’s gAy to Z reaches quirky Q.

Queerotica

Distinct from porn in that it doesn’t simply set about to get you off, queerotica, or queer erotica if you prefer, appeals to the imagination, unveiling or hinting at sexual scenarios through the written word, or suggestive, but not overt, imagery.

Queerotica has been around since the early days of magazine publishing, often in alluring but covert forms…

In western literature it is often traced back to E.M. Forster’s Maurice, penned between 1913 and 1914. Of course, many of us modern day gays haven’t read that…or the comics and gay pulp fiction of the ‘70s. For some of us, our earliest brush with queerotica came from the same source as our first brush with porn: the internet.

Once the domain of The Nifty Archive, queer art and fiction are everywhere these days. Check out the photography of James R Cunningham, or the art of Patrick Fillion, or indeed, support your local queer bookstore (Hares & Hyenas in Melbourne, or The Bookshop Darlinghurst in Sydney), the staff there will be able to direct you to lots of amazing work.

With the rise of ebooks, queer fiction is even easier – and if necessary, even more discrete – than it’s ever been before, and perhaps with its strong roots in slash fanfiction, it’s hardly surprising that a lot of it is being written and published by straight women. For the best of the best, we recommend MLR Press and Dreamspinner Press, and there are other good authors out there publishing through places like Silver Publishing and Pink Petal Books, which also publishes lesbian fiction, generally more difficult to come by.

Other publishers to check out are Torquere press, although there are those bemoaning the editing (or lack thereof) at that publisher, and of course, Australia’s own banQuetpress. Actually, please support banQuetpress, because unless there’s more income coming in soon, the 2013 Anthologies of both male and female queerotica won’t get published.

Various Australian authors such as Geoffrey Knight, Isabelle Rowan, NJ Nielsen and Matthew Lang are carving out careers publishing stories from our imaginations across the globe.

For the best in internet queerotica, check out your friendly queer bookstores, or check out Book Depository for print titles. Obviously there is Amazon’s Kindle store for ebooks, but if you can, we recommend buying directly from the publisher – it helps authors get a better deal when you buy direct.

So be inspired, do that holiday reading you’ve always said you’ll do, and while you’re at it, read something that reflects us for a change. It’s nice to have that option these days.


Queer as Folk

Originally a groundbreaking British television series that ran from 1999 to 2000, Queer as Folk chronicled the lives of three gay men living in Manchester’s gay village on Canal Street. Written by Russell T Davies, who went on to bring back Doctor Who, the title of the show came from a Northern England dialect expression, “there’s nowt so queer as folk”, meaning “there’s nothing as strange as people.”

The series ran for two seasons, focused on Stuart, his long time friend Vince, and new to the gay scene 15-year-old Nathan, for the first time providing viewers with a prominent series involving gay characters.

Not long afterwards, the American remake also made its mark in LGBTI popular culture. Where the UK version mainly focussed on three central characters, the US version not only focussed on three similar inspired characters (Brian, Michael and Justin) but also expanded its focus on the UK inspired characters to broaden the story’s plot lines. Over five seasons, a variety of topical issues were covered from parenting, coming out, gay bashing, politics, marriage, drug addiction and HIV, just to name a few.

Queer as Folk was the first hour-long drama on American television to portray the lives of gay men and women, and since its original run has gained a long-term cult following that has resulted in slash fictions to fan conventions. The show’s success it opened doors for programs such as The L Word to get the green light for TV.


Questioning

Often abbreviated as a simple question mark, the term applies to those who are, as the word suggests, questioning their sexuality, sexual and/or gender identity.

As PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) reassures those who are questioning on its website: “The questions you have are a very normal part of figuring out who you are. Just because you have questions doesn’t necessarily mean that you must immediately (or ever) label yourself as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or even straight for that matter. It’s okay to be right where you are today, possibly unsure.

You don’t have to make a decision one way or another this week, this month or this year. Given a little time and some work on your part, you will eventually evolve into a more concrete understanding of who you truly are. You’ll reach this place of understanding once you’ve had a chance to do some reading and talk to others about how they figured all this out for themselves. That’s how most of us figure it out – by listening to the stories of others and finding areas where we either do or don’t identify with their feelings and attractions.

“Unfortunately, there is no true/false test you can take which will give you the answer to that worrisome question, ‘Am I, or am I not?’”


And not forgetting…

Tegan and Sara Quin

Canadian lesbian indie-rocker twins Tegan and Sara have amassed a loyal tribe of fans through their decade-long careers.

And it’s not hard to see why. Their six albums have revealed a diverse and developing self-taught musical talent, accompanying lyrics laying bare intimate passions.

Despite the twins’ success, they’re down-to-earth. When Same Same asked Tegan about their fanatical fans, she was quick to downplay the duo’s amazingness.

“There is that kind of very intense, obsessive attachment to what we do, and that does cross the line for a lot of people,” she told us. “I think for a lot of people it becomes about us, but Sara and I are always there to remind them that we’re just average, everyday people that we’re not nearly as cool as you think we are and that it should be about the music. Because it really is about the music.”

Hear Tegan and Sara’s latest song Closer below.


This page was co-written by Matthew Lang, Chad St. James, Matt Akersten and Heidi Maier.

Discover more letters of Same Same’s gAy to Z here.

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