Do We Need LGBTQ FairyTales

Growing up queer is a lesson in being an outsider. Rarely are there role models for queer youth to look up to. The lack of exposure to queer people and folklore, in our youth, effects our queer growth. Straight kids have their fairy tales that dance through their imaginations. Queer kids have to project themselves into those stories as one side or the other. But they are still left being outside, as the story doesn’t really fit.

What if I told you that wasn’t the case?

We know in history that LGBTQ people have been around since the dawn of time, so it would seem obvious that they, too, would have a rich and varied folklore. Why have we never seen it?

Like with a great many things that are queer, they were washed away through the ages.

Would you be surprised to know that this happened as recent as the 1950s?

Why don’t LGBTQ fairy tales exist

We are familiar that most of the world has viewed us, at one time or another, as against the moral imperative. We have been viewed as taboo or sinful. This view has caused many of our stories to be erased or retold over time. The ones we are left with show LGBTQ people as villains, the murderous evil person to lead the innocent astray. In many of those stories they are beaten or killed, well alluded to anyway.

Peter Jordi Wood has spent a great deal of his life in trying to find and catalog these stories. It was his hope to rediscover them for Queer people to help with finding their identity and place in folklore.

“We know that queer characters and stories were prevalent in mythology.” Peter says.

So, why aren’t there examples of Queer fairy tales now?

Prior to the invention of the printing press, most folklore was passed down orally. If you wanted to hear a story, you sat around the fire and told stories to one another. As books became the more popular method for stories, a need to be able to catalog them also came into being. This happened between the 1850s and early 1900s.

About a hundred years ago the Aarne Thompson Uther Tale Type Index was created as a means of cataloging certain folklore by their structure and giving them an AT number. This was a way to create an inventory of all of the published folklore. And so started the filtering of Queer folklore.

The man who erased Queer stories

The man who erased Queer stories

Stith Thompson was an American scholar and folklorist and was also half of the duo that created the Aarne Thompson Uther Tale Type, used in cataloging folklore. HIs belief of right and wrong is what started the systematic erasing of those stories.

During his cataloging, he listed homosexuality and lesbianism in the section labeled ‘Unnatural Perversions” along with bestiality and incest. This categorizing was due to his belief that they were perverse and unnatural.

While studying for his Master’s degree, Pete noticed something that had apparently missed. A story that seemed very queer.

The Dog and the Sea

After combing through over 600 stories, Peter came across a story that had been translated into Danish, German, and many others but oddly enough not into English. Peter set about translating the story and verifying it against Thompsons synopsis to make sure it was correct. What he found was what appeared to be a “fabulously gay” story.

Ruan is a tailor’s apprentice who wants nothing more than to have adventures on the high seas as a sailor. So he leaves his home on a quest to fulfill his dreams. He meets a beautiful witch who tries to ensnare him, but young Ruan is immune to her charms. He soon meets a prince with whom he falls madly in love with.

This is the kind of fantasy that every young queer youth needs.

Substitutions are for cooking

Substitutions are for cooking

The sad truth is, there are not many authors today that write fairytales for queer youths or adults. What happens, more of than not, is that an author will take a classic tale like “Sleeping Beauty” and reimagine or retell it from the point of view of a queer person. Typically, this is just replacing one of the characters with a person that represents the other main character.

Simply substituting one character to create a more “universal” fit doesn’t always translate well. Fairy tales were stories that were meant to teach morals in a way those that were listening could remember. This was done through entertainment. In these same stories, they could use someone who was LGBTQ as the evil character that was meant to be over come. These same characters were the ones living in some form of “sin” that the author was warning the listener about.

The reality is that we need queer stories, written by queer authors that showcase struggles that queer people understand. These would be the stories that could offer LGBTQ youth a chance to learn the needed strength and courage they often miss out on.

How do we put fairy into fairytales

There are authors out there that are working to change this dynamic. Because of this, we are starting to see more and more fairy tales being published from and LGBTQ perspective, for children. Check out some of them.

Olly Pike

Olly Pike is a YouTube star who’s channel is called Pop’n’Olly. Olly’s channel is set up as a free resource for parents, teachers, and kids educational material. The hope is to change the mind of people before discrimination has a chance to take hold.

Olly takes on topics like “What does LGBTQ Mean?,” and “Pop’n’Olly explains Identity.” With simple and easy to understand terms, bright colors, and animation, Olly tries to take topics that can be complicated and teaches them to people in a way that is fun and entertaining.

Olly also has a website set up where you can download resources and purchase books. Be sure to check out the webpage Pop ‘n’ Olly.

Adam Reynolds and Chaz Harris

Adam and Chaz created Promised Land as a first in a series of illustrated LGBTQ themed children’s books. They also work with authors, Jaime Poi Poi and Caitlin Spice to create their full color books that teach equality and acceptance.

“We believe it’s important for LGBTQ youth and their peers to see themselves represented in positive ways, where who they are is never questioned or used as a plot device or a point of conflict.”

Strong ethics and words to live up to in a world that so often still uses us a the bad guys. They push for the idea that if we aren’t seen in the media then we will never feel we truly belong.

Head on over to their page Promised Land and check out what all they have to offer.

Happily ever after

These are only a few of the many talented LGBTQ authors out there. If there are authors you love that feel I need to mention, please leave me a comment below. Fantasy is one of my favorite genres and we always could use a little more fairy tale to lighten the weights we carry.

Remember, if you look around and don’t see yourself represented, you are not alone and it is a calling for you to create the kind of change that you want to see in this world. Start writing, painting, singing, dancing, or however else you feel you need to express yourself. The more visible we are, the LGBTQ youth have someone to look up to. Why not let it be you?

16 thoughts on “Do We Need LGBTQ FairyTales

      1. When I was young – mid to late teens, and in my first lesbian relationship, it was very much a thing to be hidden. Everyone knew, of course, but no one wanted it out in the open. It absolutely wrecked a good portion of my life, where I tried to be straight. Brave and kind of you to put this message out there, especially considering we know how the usual suspects will act…

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Agree so much. I spent a better part of my childhood living a lie to be a good lil southern boy. I feel that if I had role models or stories that I could have associated with that much of my struggles would have been greatly reduced. I am extremely glad that you have found your place now and can look back on that part of your history and see how it has shaped you and be able to teach from that.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. i totally agree, hiding about it makes things worse, or people can already tell that your gay or bi, the point is we wanna hide but when come out people see how brave anyone is who is willing to come out live life the way they want. great post.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Kind of….lesbians have come in for so much hatred recently. If you say you have “genital preferences” you are treated like a monster. In fact any kind of online dating is just really wall to wall D. I don’t go that way, and instead of that being ok with people, it is treated like me and other lesbians who also have “genital preferences” are nasty little bigots. There is not one dyke bar left in town. Im now your archetypal short haired softish butch and have got to the party just in time for the party to be cancelled entirely. Sorry! You got me on a bad day! Try telling the boys that they have to do ‘boy-vag’ and I bet the guys wont be told to ‘be kind’ if they say it makes em wanna damn well puke! I am so glad you rose above what was expected of you as a man from the south, and are true to yourself. You seem like a really lovely person! We all deserve to be happy! I have to say when my son told me he was straight…I was a little bit sad. “Not even bi?” I asked. He had to make me tea and pat me on the head….

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I fully understand your outrage. I don’t think it is only specific to lesbians, though I think it is much harsher in many ways. I know plenty gay me, of whom I had to separate friendships with, that were repulsed over a man who may still have a “vag.” We have fought so long for acceptance and not to be judged by outward appearance that I feel we have forgotten that all of us are people. Many times I feel like our preferences are treated with the vile hatred you talk about.

      For gay men, it still seems perfectly fine to not want to date someone who may be femme or butch, but to not dare a man because they don’t have the equipment some would prefer jumps to being prejudiced. We are focusing on the fight without aligning our own judgements with our perceptions. As my momma used to say, “don’t put the cart before the horse,”

      I don’t feel my journey should be used as a standard for someone else and vice versa. I try to live and enjoy every person, regardless of the bits and bobs between legs or under shirts. They are inconsequential to love a person for who they are.

      Never apologize for sharing your feelings. They are yours and are valid for you.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You actually reduced me to tears! I joined a lesbian dating site, and to be frank, I’m traumatized. Attacked, vilified, called a bigot, bullied to within an inch of my life…because I am gay. Like gay gay. To be told to get “used to the mouthfeel’ of dick has me both perplexed and ashamed. This is conversion therapy – you know, find the right one, and just fuck em straight. My dear friend, I never thought Ild find an ally in a guy! Thank you so so much!
        Im totally with you – my journey, my preferences should never be held as the standard for others. I am totally on board with people loving as they love how they love. It is just that this acceptance isn’t going both ways.
        I am so sorry that I didn’t realize gay men were suffering in the same way. I feel churlish now. I hope you will accept my apologies? I am astonished that this flew in the male gay community. I am old. Back in the day I’d take my gay male friend to the dyke bar, and I’d end up finishing the night at a mostly male gay club that were always a celebration of men who love men and men’s bodies. It feels like erasure…and I dont mean the 80’s band…Please feel free to write to my email address. Perhaps you might like to work on a children’s book with me?

        Like

      2. There is no need to apologize. Life is about learning and done best through the eyes of others. I really wish we were a perfect group that allowed all of us to love those we choose to without the hatred that can follow. Personally, I love men for the masculine energy. I don’t care about secondary sexual characteristics. Hell, a man can have erectile dysfunction or amputation for a life saving surgery and it doesn’t make him any less of a man. Same for women. But you have to be comfortable with what turns you on, simple as that. As long as you aren’t out actively saying a woman or a man can only be this or that, then hatred for not like a type of person based in preferences should be okay.

        Likewise, email me anytime you would like to talk. I have been thinking I want to look at getting back to writing but I will admit I am a novice. But a collaboration is never off the table. ;-). Thanks for your valuable comments. I am honored to hear your life journey.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I absolutely agree with what you are so eloquently saying! I’ll just point over and say “what he said!” and give you a manly pat on the back. You know what I miss? Lesbian dances, finding a nice butch girl to grab round the waist and twirl around. I miss the bars that were totally XX female spaces, it felt so free and so safe: you could be yourself. No hatred is ever ok, but I see quite a lot of it coming towards gay men and gay women who do have preferences which are hardwired into our sexuality.

        Ill write to you later if that would be ok- Im off for a walk around beautiful San Francisco. Hope you are not too cold in Ohio! Honored to have met you too, its been an absolute delight.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m straight, old and way past twirling anyone by the waist (and I lost mine to blubber some time ago). But the exchange between the two of you is a delight. Thank you!
    All too often the ‘love not hate’ mantra doesn’t mean that at all – or only means it if you fit in to the correct box. And ‘be your own authentic self’ only seems to apply to certain sections of society, the rest are excluded for some imaginary social crime or insufficiently woke thought. I have lesbian friends who are being vilified for being attracted to natal women; gay aquaintances who have been attacked for not being attracted to transmen. It feels like totalitarianism.
    This kind and honest exchange has cheered me immensely!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your kind words. We, each, are different and should be respected as such. We all have our personal likes and dislikes but we can still respect and love one another. Doesnt mean we have to date everyone.

      Like

Leave a Reply to pariskelley Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.