The future that my NaNo project is set in is pretty grim.
Like, the human race is in the pits. It's at war with [REDACTED] and also has a serious internal discipline problem. 97% of the planets within Central's jurisdiction are owned by one of the 17 Corporate Entities that exist - and I mean literally owned, each potentially habitable or exploitable resource is put to tender and is the sole responsibility and possession of that Corporate Entity.
Human rights are pretty much just a thing of the past. They were left behind with the memory of Earth. Who knows where we came from? Who cares? Who has enough time or energy to worry about it? Most of the human race is too busy.
Which means a big crackdown on our personal freedoms, right?
Well, some of them.
What we have a case of, though, is an unshackling of neoliberal business practice from traditional hard-right "family values" bullshit. Religion doesn't really happen any more, the notion of a nuclear family joins the concept of anti-monopolisation laws as a pre-Spread relic, and society has become a machine for purchasing goods and supporting the war effort.
So as long as you buy the corporation's products and make its weaponry, what do they care who you love or who you sleep with?
I mean, in part I know it is just me wanting to increase visibility and representation in my own work. That's a thing I am into. People exist in a lot of flavours that aren't cishet white male vanilla, and that fact not only deserves to be represented in my work, it OUGHT to be, as a matter of reason and realism.
I've talked about representation before - about movies and such in this one, and in video games and such in this one. There's a lot of stories that need telling that don't have a random straight white dude in the driver's seat.
I'm not really qualified to tell a story about being trans, about being gender fluid, about being asexual or aromantic - they aren't experiences I have lived, and there's voices a lot more qualified than mine that can talk about them. What I CAN do is include those people and those voices and experiences, and indeed I feel I have a duty to, to correct the swerve toward invisibility and marginalisation that most mainstream media tends to undergo.
"I just don't want people to think it is normal to be like that," are words I have heard someone actually say, recently, relating to gay people. I'm not sure where that attitude started from, but I can guarantee that it only gets reinforced by almost every major movie and TV series cramming your standard cishet relationship mush down your throat, and that anything that deviates from that norm has to come with a warning label to avoid sending Daily Mail readers into an apoplectic fury.
This comparison is going to be an awkward one, but once I did a blog about how watching Watership Down when I was young prepared me for the death of a pet. We can roll our eyes as much as we want at the notion of the media shaping how we think, but it CAN, in our formative years. Maybe, just maybe, if these people who see anyone that doesn't fit their standard cast as "not normal" had seen them proliferate in the media they'd absorbed without even thinking since early childhood - maybe this would have been their new normal.
I mean, we somehow managed to normalise people in suits earning a hundred times what their actual employees earn. We managed to normalise the Cold War, we managed to demonise words like Socialist and Feminist.
Surely we can normalise not treating people like shit any more.