The LGBT+ online trolls have claimed another scalp in the name of ‘Ownvoices’ with the author of the original novel Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda, which was made into the movie Love, Simon in 2018, forced to announce to the world that she is actually bisexual after a tirade of abuse aimed at the writer over many years, claiming she is not part of ‘the community’ and therefore shouldn’t be allowed to write for ‘the community’.
In a post on Medium, Becky Albertalli has spoken about her bisexuality in an attempt to put an end to attacks and other speculations about her romantic orientation on social media.
The 37-year-old writer has found herself constantly under fire where she is frequently described as “a straight woman writing shitty queer books for the straights, profiting off of communities I had no connection to.”
Tired of being discredited, Albertalli has detailed how she became aware of her bisexuality and how the mindless experts of LGBT+ literature decided she was clearly straight and ‘Her books aren’t really for queer people’.
“You know what’s a mindfuck? Questioning your sexual identity in your thirties when every self-appointed literary expert on Twitter has to share their hot take on the matter,” she wrote on Medium.
“Imagine hundreds of people claiming to know every nuance of your sexuality just from reading your novels.
“Imagine trying to make space for your own uncertainty. Imagine if you had a Greek chorus of internet strangers propping up your imposter syndrome at every stage of the process.”
While evoking her youth in a conservative suburb in the 80s and 90s, the author deplores the lack of representation at the time.
“I don’t think I met anyone who was openly bi before college,” she said.
“And even then, my understanding of bisexuality as a concept did not correlate with my view of it today. On the one hand, the idea of sexual fluidity was not even conceivable.”
It was by writing Leah on the Offbeat, her derivative novel of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and centred on a young woman discovering her bisexuality, where she questioned her own orientation.
Albertalli emphasized that she would have liked to come out of the closet according to her own agenda.
“Let me be perfectly clear: this isn’t how I wanted to come out,” she wrote.
“This doesn’t feel good or empowering, or even particularly safe. Honestly, I’m doing this because I’ve been scrutinized, subtweeted, mocked, lectured, and invalidated just about every single day for years, and I’m exhausted.
“And if you think I’m the only closeted or semi-closeted queer author feeling this pressure, you haven’t been paying attention.”
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She said the piece wasn’t an attempt to quell criticism of her books or to validate her decision to write queer literature.
“But if I can ask for something, it’s this: will you sit for a minute with the discomfort of knowing you may have been wrong about me? And if your immediate impulse is to scrutinize my personal life, my marriage, or my romantic history, can you try to check yourself?
“Or how about this: can we all be a bit more careful when we engage in queer Ownvoices discourse?
“Can we remember that our carelessness in these discussions has caused real harm? And that the people we’re hurting rarely have my degree of privilege or industry power? Can we make space for those of us who are still discovering ourselves? Can we be a little more compassionate? Can we make this a little less awful for the next person?”
Yes, more diversity is important and encouragement of LGBT+ writers, actors, singers, dancers etc is really important, but just as important are the stories that are being told about LGBT+ issues and the people and they shouldn’t be made to legitimize these works by being forced to come out.
Or that those stories can only be told by people from ‘the community’. Isn’t it better to have these stories, movies, songs, tv shows out there and exposed to the whole community and have LGBT+ types of people represented?
Surely it’s time to check ourselves about what is really important.