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Discovering Truth through Story

Church Steeple
© Paul Hair, 2011
Stories shouldn’t be preachy but that doesn’t mean they can’t impart a lesson or relay a message. Indeed, the theme (along with motifs) is one of the five components that a story must have. So every story is teaching or promoting something. This is why people often resort to storytelling when they want to spread a lie—a false belief or ideology. Conversely, storytelling is equally useful in helping people discover the truth.

Screen Rant published a column on Dec. 23, 2017, revealing how, “Batman Comics Are Fighting For Transgender Awareness.”

At the time, we couldn’t help but appreciate that Batman supported Victoria’s transition, mentioned and alluded to in vocabulary that non-LGBTQ readers could completely miss. But those in the community would see the exact message being sent by writers James Tynion IV and Marguerite Bennett. In the months since that issue, Detective has kept the conversation going. But as other comic titles and publishers battle the opposing forces of readers calling for diversity and those who claim it’s more marketing spin than progress, Detective is deserving of praise.

A few days later The Hollywood Reporter published an article noting that “Ryan Murphy’s ‘Pose,’ With History-Making LGBTQ Cast, Ordered to Series at FX.”

Pose looks at the juxtaposition of several segments of life and society in 1980s New York: the rise of the luxury Trump-era universe, the downtown social and literary scene, and the ball culture world. Toplined by frequent Murphy collaborator Evan Peters, Kate Mara and James Van Der Beek, Pose features the largest cast of transgender actors in series regular roles as well as the largest recurring LGBTQ cast ever for a scripted TV series. The series features five trans actors in series regular roles: MJ Rodriguez, Indya Moore (pictured above as Angel), Dominique Jackson, Hailie Sahar and Angelica Ross. Each of them are playing authentic transgender characters.

And on Jan. 6 The Hollywood Reporter published, “Alan Cumming on Being Broadcast’s First Leading Gay Character on CBS’ ‘Instinct.’”

CBS, which has been criticized in recent years for its lack of on-screen diversity, is breaking new ground in March with the series debut of Instinct. The drama, based on the James Patterson novel, stars Alan Cumming as a former CIA operative who is pulled back into the CIA. Cumming’s character also happens to be gay, as he is in the source material. That gives CBS the distinction of having Instinct be the first broadcast hourlong series with a gay leading character.

Having Batman comic books, an upcoming FX TV series, and a network TV series contain themes and elements that portray sodomy and so-called transgenderism in a positive light is no accident. The creators in charge of them are spreading a message with their work, just like the rest of the entertainment industry does. And such messaging is going to become more common—and more strident.

The good news is that Liberate Liberty is producing stories with themes completely different than what you’ll find in DC Comics and on FX. There are the books, Mortal Gods: Ignition (complete with the tale, “The First Transgender Superhuman”) and Appalling Stories: 13 Tales of Social Injustice (the brand new anthology I coauthored with David Dubrow and Ray Zacek). Then there are the free serial stories, including, Mortal Gods: “HVT,” along with the in-progress, Mortal Gods: “Sodom by the Susquehanna,” and, “Letters of Marque and Reprisal.” There’s also the short story, King of Battle: “Masks.” And there are plans for even more.

No one wants preachy fiction. But every story has a theme. And the stories Liberate Liberty produces entertain and provide themes that point to truth.