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March 22, 2014 1:29 am  #1


To move from fanfic LGBT couples to official ones...

When I started reading Johnlock I remembered this book I had found in my high school library (years ago)  Annie on My Mind, about two girls, Liza and Annie, who fall in love, and get in trouble, with Liza being put through a humiliating expulsion hearing by her oppressive private school. I went back and picked it up again. It's very much - I don't want to say "propaganda" because that has such a negative connotation but very much written to send the message that it is ok to be in love with the same sex. However, being much older than the girls in the book, yet not old enough to have daughters that age, I kept finding reasons, other than homophobia, why well-meaning adults could legitimately object to the relationship.

1) it's too serious and intimate for 17-year-olds

2) In cliched-romance-novel fashion, it moves REALLY fast - they meet in November and by spring break of the same school year they have consummated the relationship and gotten in trouble for it - with many stages of a relationship crammed in between. It would work better for me if they'd had a longer-standing friendship and spent the covered few months struggling the issue of being more than friends. That would have shown that same-sex relationships could combine friendship and love in a wonderful way - which is how I see Johnlock.

3) Liza was very career-focused before meeting Annie (although not goody-goody; she stands up against her school's rules even before becoming close with Annie). But there are some signs that the relationship distracts her from her studies and goals.

3) The premise is "we can be in love forever if we just don't let the homophobia come between us" and they meet another lesbian couple who are in their 40s (at least) and have been together since their teens. But how many teenage couples stay together for the long haul? I would not say that people that young "can't" be in love, but people who are in love as teens can drift apart for reasons that have nothing to do with prejudice - growing apart can be just part of growing up.

The two girls are actually very focused on what they want to do with their lives after school, and have college plans in place before they meet, and stick with those plans, even though that means being far apart after high school. Which shows them being independent, but I remembered the dating expert who spoke at my college freshman orientation saying that of the students who entered college still attached to a high school sweetheart -  90% of them would break up either within the year or the semester (I forget which he said.)

The book is actually a flashback, Liza in her college dorm, remembering what happened with the relationship last year. This is supposed to be her "coming out" process - she is working through the memory of this five-or-six-month-relationship and the trauma and humiliation that happened after she get caught - to reach a place of being comfortable with being gay. BUT in the meantime, she has not been in contact with Annie since they left for college. (Annie has written to her; she hasn't written back.)

Don't relationship advice columns always say that if someone isn't keeping in touch, they've dumped you? But in this case, we're supposed to see it as an understandable part of the coming-out process, and the fault of society for making this person feel bad about being gay.

But again, I also though - many college freshman stop or reduce contact with high school sweethearts and/or friends - but it's because they're actually moving on.

Last edited by SherlocklivesinOH (March 29, 2014 12:53 am)

 

March 22, 2014 2:21 am  #2


Re: To move from fanfic LGBT couples to official ones...

Those are all the same kind of concerns a parent could have with ANY relationship their teenager is in.  The only thing different with it being same sex is the social stigma they're put through.

The way you discribe the relationship in the book it sounds like your average whirlwind teenage romance.  There's big emotions and physical exploration.  They think it will last forever but it doesn't.  And in the end it becomes a part of their journey.


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March 29, 2014 12:50 am  #3


Re: To move from fanfic LGBT couples to official ones...

tonnaree wrote:

Those are all the same kind of concerns a parent could have with ANY relationship their teenager is in.  The only thing different with it being same sex is the social stigma they're put through.

The way you discribe the relationship in the book it sounds like your average whirlwind teenage romance.  There's big emotions and physical exploration.  They think it will last forever but it doesn't.  And in the end it becomes a part of their journey.

Your first sentence is an important point which I thought was a flaw in the way that the adult characters who were shown as antagonists - objecting to the relationship - were portrayed. They were focused almost entirely on the same-sex angle, and didn't really raise the other issues.

The character who is the closest to being a villain, Liza's private-school principal, does confess that she and her husband were high-school sweethearts, and that if they hadn't had such a religious upbringing, they might have given in to temptation and become sexually active then. So she is against any teens having sex, but she also reinforces the idea of staying with the person you meet in high school. (And she does proceed to call Liza's relationship "unnatural sex!)http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/sad.png


The other kids do a few things that could be considered bullying, but mostly they're just kind of shocked, and most of the homophobia is more of the "thinking being gay is a mental illness" and "we want you to get help to be cured" kind, than of the "you're a monster, get away from me, kind."

As for the "thinking it will last forever," we don't know about "forever," but they get back in contact at the very end, make plans to meet for spring break, and exchange "I love yous," Liza seemingly having accepted that she's gay.

And Annie isn't that upset about the months of silence - dare I say "hiatus"? - she is just glad to hear from her love again. Shades of canon-Watson there, I supposehttp://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/grin.png


Their holiday plans involve Annie flying to Liza's college town, even though they both grew up and went to school in the same city, where they first met. I wonder if it was meant to imply that they are no longer comfortable going home to their families, or at least, not comfortable seeing each other under their families' noses.

I don't think it's at all bad for high-school sweethearts, or even friends, to "take a break" from each othe while getting used to college, but it doesn't seem to have been a mutual decision in this case.

Liza says early on that she really doesn't feel close to any of her peers at school, although they seem to respect her in the beginning. Annie is portrayed as playful, imaginative, free-spirited, and pretty optimstic despite her poor background - someone you'd really like to know. I kind of wanted to shake Liza and say, "Why are jeopardizing your relationship with someone so fascinating over the opinions of people you didn't care for to begin with?"

And, in many ways this relationship struck me as healthier than many I come across in media - they actually communicate and talk through issues pretty maturely. So many media relationships of all stripes (lover, friend, UST, sibling) are full of snark, making fun of each other, practical jokes, or constantly fighting just to dance around how they really feel.  Maybe I've watched too many where both parties are guys (John/Sherlock and House/Wilson http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/grin.png
)

Liza and Annie do go through a phase where they fight "about stupid things," due to the stress that is created by their fear of moving to another level, (very brief, like all the phases, a month at most"), but there is none of the bitchy, sneaky, backstabbing feuding that we see so much of in media today about teens. Not between the two leads, and we don't see it happen in this 'verse at all. Liza isn't part of any clique but she's student council president - kind of a rose-colored view of teenagers, actually.

I probably should have mentioned that it was written in the early 1980s. Liza and Annie discover that two teachers they know (or that Liza knows) are gay, but they never meet anyone else their age who is - which is perhaps the most "dated" thing. 

Also, the expressions "closet" and "coming out" are not really used - at one point Liza thinks Annie should hide in a literal closet so they don't get caught, so it's unintentionally funny now that that metaphor is popular.

Last edited by SherlocklivesinOH (March 29, 2014 12:55 am)

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