“So often, queer stories set in the past, and even the present, are stories about pain and rejection, violence and untimely death. From a certain perspective Bitter Springs serves as a thesis statement, a way to change the conversation. There is a way to tell queer stories, our stories, in a way that shows the light at the end of the rainbow. It is possible that the story that we’ve been told over and over, that the queer journey is a journey of tragedy and loss, is somewhat like the titular springs, a story told so often, it appears to obscure all other possibilities, but just one story.

With Bitter Springs, Laura Stone is changing the conversation. We have had happy endings, we do have happy endings, and we will continue to have happy endings.”

It’s important to me, to my children, and to our fellow LGBTQ friends that a positive message replaces the sheer damage done by the sexual prohibition movement at the turn of the 20th Century, a message that continues to undermine progress.

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For every “but that isn’t realistic” comment or review I see historical LGBT books receive, a part of me crumples in frustration. It is. It is realistic. It is real. LGBT people had happy, long, loving lives, and it’s important that we stop erasing that. It’s important that we put a message of love and hope out in the world. It’s important that we remember that the lies we’ve been told for 100 years, lies that at best pushed people back into the closet and at worst have led to awful, ugly deaths at the hands of bigots and zealots, it’s important we remember that LGBT people have had opportunities in the past to lead happy, loving lives, accepted by their families.

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Thank you so much for this beautiful review, and for adding a message of hope out into the world.

(And there’s a reason why all of the queer stories of the 20th century ended in suffering and tragedy, but that’s a conversation for a different day. Today: let’s remember all the queer couples who were able to love each other and go to bed every night content in that love.)

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Just guys being dudes. Dudes being guys.

More on the straight-washing (and white-washing) of the Old West, including a bibliography

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