robin maugham

Just a little sharing moment from me after reading some disturbing things in the fandom today….

It seems absurd to me that anyone thinks that it is a new or naïve thing for young queer people to be looking for representation of themselves in the media. As I see it this has been going on for ever, in literature before tv or film. In many real life and fictional accounts of gay lives, one recurrent theme is searching for or taking comfort in sympathetic stories. (At the front of my mind is Plato who is the inspiration for relationships in both EM Forster’s Maurice and Mary Renault’s The Charioteer).

For my own part I realised I was a lesbian before the internet was accessible and there were many (however 2D) gay character on screen, and I would spend hours searching through books for the smallest hint of homosexual content, however veiled and obscure. A wonderful moment came for me when, aged 14, I read Stephen Fry’s autobiography and in it was what is paraphrased below (in a letter Stephen wrote in 2009 to his 16 year old self) :

“I know what you are doing now, young Stephen. It’s early 1973. You are in the library, cross-referencing bibliographies so that you can find more and more examples of queer people in history, art and literature against whom you can hope to validate yourself. Leonardo, Tchaikovsky, Wilde, Barons Corvo and von Gloeden, Robin Maugham, Worsley, “an Englishman”, Jean Genet, Cavafy, Montherlant, Roger Peyrefitte, Mary Renault, Michael Campbell, Michael Davies, Angus Stewart, Gore Vidal, John Rechy, William Burroughs.”

-Stephen Fry- A letter to himself (the Guardian)

In reading this I found I was not alone in craving the knowledge that I was part of something greater, that I had examined myself and understood correctly. So my hope for the future is that young people from now on don’t have to trawl through century’s old autobiographies of ancient figures marred by tragedy, or only be able to read queer stories with a tragic endings, as I did, but to have a fantastic resource of diverse and positive characters to invest in.

Right…I guess that is all….as you were!