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Knowledge & News
Thought provoking topics and series, necessary news and information.
Many would consider Rita Mae Brown's Rubyfruit Jungle to be an essential piece for those interested in LBGT+ literature, myself included. Possibly semi-autobiographical, Brown's book allows a window into the life of a lesbian in the 1970s, where Molly, the protagonist, first comes out in northern Florida, and then moves to New York City to fulfill her big town dreams.
She joined the National Women's Organization while attending NYU (which she was later asked to resign from, due to her inclusion of lesbian rights), and co-founded the Student Homophile League. Her coming-of age novel Rubyfruit Jungle, selling over 70,000 copies, made her story a landmark for Queer literature. Brown is also an acclaimed screenplay writer, some of her award winning works are The Long Hot Summer and I Love Liberty.
Rubyfruit Jungle is hilarious, and unashamedly gay, which makes the novel that much more important. The story is, while fictional, incredibly rooted in a truthful American history, completely intolerant to the queer community. Moments where Molly is turned away from school and put through conversion therapy without any consent could leave readers unable to laugh, because they are baffled by a time which may seem very alien to the present! Other readers might be able to find solidarity with the trials Molly faces to become someone. Molly Bolt is a character which readers will quickly wish they were, as I did when I first read this novel. And I would argue, her attitude is what quickly distinguishes her coming-out story from so many others:
Tough shit. I am getting my ass over to N.Y.U. tomorrow and telling those academic robots that they're giving me a scholarship. I'm the hottest thing since Eisenstein; they're lucky to be able to help me in my formative stage. Hell, there's more than one way to skin a cat (Brown 168).
But aside from the lovable and headstrong Molly Bolt herself, the book easily raises questions about the future of Queer literature. If we read this narrative so differently in 2016, possibly turning a comedy into a drama into an emotional journey, how will audiences in 20 years read this book? Or even more so, what will audiences think of the incredible Molly Bolt in 100 years? Coming-out narratives, I theorize, will continue to remain of interest to LGBT+ audiences long after full equality (fingers crossed on that last part). And this is why I say so: If the ever changing nature of coming-out narratives remain present, these stories will remain fresh and thought provoking for years to come. We might scoff at the gendered versions of lesbian culture in the 1970s (Molly's learning of "butch" and "femme"), but the presence of Molly owning her identity proudly is still there, and that is what makes for an interesting coming-out story.
We are a misfit faith community that gathers in DeLand on Sundays at 5pm. Come as you are.
We value highly the metaphor of journey. We’re different people from different places and backgrounds, representing an intergenerational community, and we’ve traveled different paths. So, we agree not to make assumptions about the person across from us, next to us, or in conversation with us. We challenge ourselves to be sensitive, knowing this community includes a diverse group of people from life-long followers of Jesus, to people who are just now open to the idea that God might exist. We strive to avoid offense, ask good questions, articulate and explain our responses. We don’t assume fluency in bible, spirituality, or Church language, because we believe the message of Jesus is not for Christianity, but for humanity. So, we do everything in the spirit of love and grace.
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