It’s Asexy April in the world of fandom, and while in past years I’ve had a relatively easy time finding lots of cool fic starring asexual characters, this year has been far harder. I’m not sure if it’s because my fandoms have changed drastically, or if Asexy April just didn’t get good advertising this year, but never fear. I looked back through my bookmarks folder and found a Les Misérables oldie but goodie to rec for today.
Another month, another post from me complaining about the state of queer representation in something or other. Up on the chopping block today is that apple of everyone’s eye, Hamilton. (It’s my fave too, y’all, it’s just a problematic fave in this particular aspect. Bear with me.)
So, here’s the thing: a lot of historical evidence points to Alexander Hamilton being bisexual, and he likely had some sort of romantic or sexual relationship with John Laurens. Their letters to each other were downright flirtatious, including one notorious one where Hamilton told Laurens that he wished Laurens had been there when he and Eliza consummated their marriage. (That’s one hell of a belated threesome invite.) You didn’t learn about this in school because the world at large wants you to believe that being queer was invented in the last fifty years.
Lin-Manuel Miranda himself is aware of this; he has confirmed that the Hamilton in his show, at least, is bisexual. If you follow his Tumblr, he’s very supportive of the ship the fandom calls “Lams”, and reblogs shippy fanart with the best of them. So it’s clear that unlike some other writers, we’re working with a creator here who is supportive of the LGBTQ+ community and who wanted to represent us in his fantastic and transformative show. Unfortunately, I don’t think it worked.
Grantaire did not sign up for this. Well, technically he did. Technically that’s what he did, went down to the university’s co-op headquarters and put his signature on a series of papers, but Grantaire only kind of skimmed them. Who knows, maybe it’s all there in the fine print: “Be advised you are going to wind up getting in a knock-down screaming fight with the most beautiful man in the world about organic bananas.”
The point is, Grantaire didn’t join a co-op intending to be part of the crazy utopia vanguard. He came on the understanding that rent would be cheap, dinner would be provided five nights a week, and that none of his old friends would want to live with him once he announced his intentions to cut back on the old spend-your-weekends-getting-blackout-drunk routine. This last assumption, at least, has proven right; turns out they’d been less buddies and more drinking buddies, which, well, the more you know.
“I just don’t think it’s fair,” says Grantaire, “Everything I could find said rent would be one amount, and now you want to raise it by 20 dollars a month just so we can buy fancier produce?”
This is a civilized debate, which means that the nice one with the glasses — Combeferre, wonderful, kind Combeferre, who looks Cree or maybe Ojibwe and has sort of a hot librarian thing going on that is really working for him — must call on people before they’re free to yell at each other. However, the rest of the room has fallen silent, so it’s just a moderated pinball back and forth between Grantaire and the rude gorgeous one with the hair, Enjolras.
Grantaire hasn’t been able to use the jazz hands of consensus even once. It’s a crying shame.
“Enjolras,” says Combeferre.
Enjolras puts his hand down. “Look, I know people might be reluctant to pay more,” he says. “But we’re not talking about a silly extravagance. Conventional farming is doing real, measurable harm to the environment. The water supply, the soil quality, anything living nearby — it’s all affected, and it all connects back to us. What are our priorities here? I just think we need to all take a good long look at what kind of a house, at what kind of people, we want to be.”
It’s a good speech. The words could use some work, but the delivery has Grantaire wanting to hold up a lighter and sway. (Are lighters allowed in Amis House? Maybe for candles.) From up in his neutral president’s chair, Combeferre is trying hard not to look moved. He actually looks a little enamored. To his left, the black guy with the start of an afro and a downright improbable name — Courfeyrac? — murmurs something about “the co-op power couple.” Grantaire’s stomach sinks. It makes sense that the two most dazzling people in the house would be together, but well. He’d been hoping Combeferre was single.
Here’s the facts: I have been Enjolras/Grantaire trash since before I was a teenager. My entrance into Les Mis fandom probably predates any other of my obsessions except for Harry Potter, and in the way of these things, I am kind of protective of my ship. I was hesitant to read In Defiance of All Geometry at first since it’s got multiple pairings (Enjolras, Combeferre, and Grantaire in a variety of combinations and eventually a poly triad) but I loved idiopathicsmile’s other fanfics so much that I figured I’d get over it, and indeed I did—it was more than worth the read.
Guys, it’s finally done. I’ve been eagerly reading along, cheering and crying with every update, and now it’s finally complete and I can rec World Ain’t Ready. I hope you’ve enjoyed our fic recs thus far, but honestly, I love this fic more than anything else I’ve ever recced here. If you love amazing worldbuilding, teenaged activism, and musical banter, this is the fic for you.
This Valentine’s Day, as all Valentine’s Days, will not succeed in bringing our city down. This Valentine’s Day, as all Valentine’s Days, will soon recede into painful memory, fading with time, until another foul Valentine’s Day is upon us again.
—Welcome to Night Vale, “Valentine”
It’s that time of year again, nerd friends. That awful time of year known as Valentine’s Day. Once a year, before Valentine’s Day, our authors nominate and then vote on ships for our Top 20 Romantic Couples in Geekdom (10 Canon/10 Fanon) list. It is during this time that the LGG&F writers go from peaceful coexistence straight into full-blown anarchy as each writer battles for their favorite ships to make the list.
Originally I wanted to write this post about asexual characters, as this upcoming week is Asexuality Awareness Week. However, besides Tremor, a character from The Movement, I couldn’t think of a single explicitly, canonically asexual character in, well, anything. I did a little digging—that is to say, a Google search—and turned up this list on AVEN’s Asexuality wiki.
The list includes characters from works as diverse as The Hobbit, Inception, and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, but in the end, reading it just made me sad. It’s a very brief list, you see, and a large percentage of the characters included fall more under ‘supposed asexual’ than ‘confirmed asexual’. Furthermore, characters like the Doctor and Haruhi Suzumiya‘s Yuki Nagato are aliens, which presents a twofold problem: one, it implies that asexual behavior is non-human, and two, without representatives from the rest of their species, it’s unclear whether their asexuality is personal or societal. One particular thing that stuck with me, though, is this: is it fair to apply modern labels to characters set in the past because they display behaviors consistent with those modern labels?