Oh, My Pop Culture Religion: Praying the (Metaphorical) Gay Away: Internalized Religious Homophobia in Genre Fiction

It’s often hard to be religious and queer. At least, depending on the religion. Many segments of Christianity as well as other mainstream religious schools of thought put queerness firmly into the realm of “abomination”, to some degree or another. A popular mentality in many conservative Christian sects is that queerness goes against the natural order set into place by God when He created Adam and Eve as partners, making same-sex attraction “disordered”. This often translates to an understanding of queerness as either a mental illness, which could be healed with prayer, or a vice that, like a desire to gamble or steal, can be resisted through faith-based strength of character. While this attitude is not representative of all religion, nor, in Christianity’s case, true to Christ’s actual teachings, the fact remains: it’s damn hard to be religious and queer.

And while it remains hard to find good representation of queer characters, and good representation of religious characters, you’re more likely to catch a Mewtwo at your local grocery store than you are to find a meaningful and balanced representation of someone who ticks both boxes.

Instead, we often see religious characters in genre fiction who, while part of a societal out-group that could stand as a metaphor for queerness, are not actually queer themselves. Furthermore, they often believe or have been taught to believe that this otherness is, yes, an abomination, leading them to make terrible choices based on their internalized hatred of themselves or others like themselves. Perhaps God has singled them out as martyrs, challenging them to live a godly life in spite of their inherent (ungodly) differentness. Unfortunately, these portrayals do nothing but serve the tired stereotype that closeted individuals are often responsible for anti-queer hate crimes, rather than dealing with the more realistic issues surrounding internalized religious homophobia.

Trigger warning for discussions of self-harm and suicide after the cut.

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Fanfiction Fridays: A Mountain I’m Willing to Die On by Vera

Spoilers for Zootopia throughout this post.

After watching Zootopia, there was basically no way I wasn’t going to end up picking a Zootopia fic for this week. More specifically, a Nick/Judy fic. While I love the two of them being really, really close friends, my predilections run more towards the shippy side of things. So I pulled my britches up high and delved into the sea of shippy fic and, readers, I don’t think I’m ever coming back. At least not until the author of this fic puts down the final few words and ties up this chapter in Nick and Judy’s potential post-movie life.

Zootopia Judy and Nick TrailerSomething that impressed me with most of the fic I came across was that, despite the shippiness of them, the focus still managed to be on Nick and Judy’s business as policeanimals. And though I’m always completely here for pining, lovelorn, sappy, cheesy romance fic, for these two—especially Judy—this change-up feels right. Fandom’s exploration of the potential cases in law enforcement brings a sort of Law & Order crime drama hook that typically is saved for AUs (or other fandoms), yet no case, no melding of slow-burn romance felt quite as poignant as the tale of intrigue, murder, and social rights weaved by Vera in A Mountain I’m Willing to Die On.

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