This is a hard one. I love the ethos of Anything that Loves, but there are a few troubling problems with it that really need to be addressed.As a qualifier, I have to say that I did invest in the Kickstarter for this anthology book when it was originally launched on the KS site. Getting the PDF before the book allowed me to reread it with fresh perspective. As such, I’ve been tossing thoughts about this collection round my head for a while. My conclusions are that whilst its a very noble effort and helps debunk a lot of common myths, the gaze of the editor shows some of the blindspots that still exist in the LGBT+ community.
Proporting to be an anthology of comics that explore the space ‘Beyond Gay and Straight’, its aims to de-construct the myths surrounding both gender and sexual binaries and explore that awkward space that people rarely talk about, even in the LGBT+ community. Through a mixture of art pieces and short stories, the book aims to deconstruct the idea that we need to fit into the small little boxes that others make for us.
By its very nature a lot of the stories are going to be semi autobiographical and almost all of them contain an element of humour. Its an understandable reaction, as its the natural defence to help break down barriers but it does lead to lots of the stories being slightly samey when read in large chunks. Compared to that, one of the end stories that deals with rejection by society hit me right in the gut. The anthology could have done with more of that, to help put you in the shoes of those affected and rejected by both mainstream society and those meant to support them in the LGBT+ community for not fitting into a category for them.
The editor himself admits that he was pretty ignorant of the differences between anyone who wasn’t simply ‘gay’ or ‘straight’ in the past or of those not in his immediate circle. This does show up from time to time, in that not many tales involve people who are of colour or transgender people. This may just be a case of the contributors writing what they know, but its an oversight regardless.
Despite those small things, the overall positive message and the desire to overcome and breakdown stereotypes, from both straight and LGBT+ people, is refreshing and still quite sweet. Those who have ever wanted to know more about LGBT+ issues, or else feel they need a refresher, could certainly have a worse place to start than with this.
In the end we are all people, so whats wrong with loving who we love?