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Finding Myself in Gideon the Ninth

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I, and I CANNOT stress this enough, would die for Gideon and Harrowhark Nonagesimus.

I’d intended this post to be a review but as I tried to write it I realized that I needed to talk about Gideon and Harrow, and what they, and this book mean to me as a Queer reader, who had never before seen themselves in the pages of a book.

For so much of my life I have felt like an outsider; like there’s something wrong with me. And I looked to books and movies and tv shows hoping to find someone like me. To prove to myself that there wasn’t anything wrong with me. But I could never find myself represented within the pages of a book or on a screen. I could find characters I related to, could empathize with, but I never saw myself.

A couple of years ago I realized that maybe part of the reason why I never saw myself in books or movies was because I had never really understood myself to be gay. Soon after that realization I started looking for myself in queer characters, thinking now that I new this about myself, maybe I could find myself in the stories of others. But that didn’t happen. Instead, I felt even more like I was lacking in some way.

So many of the queer characters I have found within books have to fight for who they are. Their sexuality is a plot point and they have to struggle in order to be themselves or to be with the person they love. And I could not relate to these stories. I am so so thankful those stories exist, but they were not the stories I needed. So I kept looking.

Then in the fall of 2019 I found and read Gideon the Ninth. And I finally saw myself within the pages of a book.

Thing that I like most about Gideon the Ninth, the thing that I needed most, and have been searching for is that, Gideon and Harrow are lesbians, and they are simply themselves. They are unapologetically and fiercely themselves. Their sexuality isn’t a plot point. They don’t have to prove their sexuality to anyone. They don’t struggle with their identity or question it. They are themselves and they are happy in their own skin.

This book made me feel as if I wasn’t alone and it showed me that there are people who can relate to my story and who have stories I can relate to as well. This book gave me hope. It gave me a lot of hope. And that was something I’ve been missing for a long time.

There’s so much more I have to say about what this book did for me, what it continues to do for me, but I do not yet have the words to express those thoughts and feelings. Hopefully one day soon I will.

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