As Pride month comes to an end and corporations wash out their temporary rainbow social media profile pictures, it’s important to remember that queer and trans people are still here for the other eleven months out of the year. Queer and trans podcasters are still going to be releasing and recording episodes. Queer and trans creators and writers are still going to be making movies and writing essays and articles.
Earlier this month, I wrote a listicle entitled A Dimension of Sight, Sound, Mind, and Gender and Sexual Identity: LGBTQ+ Stories Inside The Twilight Zone where I listed off the episodes of Rod Serling’s classic sci-fi series The Twilight Zone that I felt reflected the queer or trans experience in some ways. It wasn’t a super long list but I felt the episodes included fit the criteria I was working with and it was fitting for it being Pride month. Through sharing it on social media, someone commented that it was good but they felt that I was “reaching” at points to make the episodes fit LGBTQ+ stories. Ignoring the fact that I had included links within the list where I could to provide further backing to the reasoning, I also let out a sigh and thought to myself, “You’re a cis straight dude for sure, aren’t ya?” It was a subtle backhand to invalidate the queer and trans experiences of horror and sci-fi fans and really the entire LGBTQ+ community in general.
If you watch a movie or read a book and look at a character or a situation and find yourself as a queer or trans person relating to said character or situation or reading it a certain way then it’s queer or trans now. That’s it. That’s all it takes.
They are your’s.
You’re not “reaching”.
Some horror and sci-fi stories are more explicit about it, citing Brad Michael Elmore’s Bit and Don Mancini’s Chucky movies, while others are less direct but the stories are all around us. Queerness is engraved into the history of the genre. And this is me stopping myself before I write a college-level essay on the history of Frankenstein from Mary Shelley to James Whale. While we’re at it, ALL of the Universal Monster movies are queer or trans somehow.
You think half of the punks in Return Of The Living Dead are pan? Then they are. Do you feel that Sidney Prescott or Laurie Strode could be ace? Then they very well could be. Most any werewolf story already reads as a trans allegory but do you feel that Ginger Fitzgerald was also bisexual? Well, she probably was. All of the werewolves in Trick ‘r Treat were definitely bi or pan or lesbians.
Coming up soon, I’m going to be contributing to two horror essay anthology books, one of which specifically focuses on the connection between horror movies and the trans experience. My initial pitch was turned down because someone else had beaten me to the idea; not because it wasn’t trans enough. Not being queer enough or not being trans enough is not a thing. It is a toxic thing that your brain can tell you when you find yourself comparing yourself to others (hey, I’m guilty of it, too) but it’s not an actual thing. It’s especially easy to get knocked down by people who look at male/female or “straight passing” relationships and instantly shut them down as “not queer enough”.
There’s no bar you need to reach to be a valid queer or trans person or be a part of the community. You don’t need to explain your feelings to those who just shoot you down with ignorance. Just watch some horror movies and absorb the feelings and experiences and watch the blood and guts fly.