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    AC Benus
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The Great Mirror of Same-Sex Love - Prose - Prologue. The Mirror to You and Me

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Introduction

As members of our minority group we do not get brought up hearing about our culture, our history, our struggles and triumphs from our parents. Traditionally, such information about Community comes from our first lovers, who gladly hand down stories (many of which they first heard after they came out as well), and it is they who open doorways for us to do our own research. And we still have to do it on our own. Let’s face it, kids today are still not taught Gay History in high school in the proper context of the social justice movements that it is apart of.

The title of this anthology is derived from Ihara Saikaku’s 1687 collection of same-sex love stories “The Great Mirror of Manly Love” (Nanshoku Ohkagami). In it, that master poet, stage dramatist and short story writer held up a mirror to show “us” to ourselves, and that is the intent of my present work. I wish to show examples of prose pieces written by us, about us, and for us.* Obviously, we have always existed, and therefore loved and lived lives with our partners.

I find it amazing that even out and proud members of the LGBT+ diaspora are “surprised” to learn we did all right in the past, all by ourselves, despite self-pointed straight hate. The time and location made no difference in the lives of same-sex loving people, and we – least of all – should swallow the poison pill of Gay erasure so rampant today on the internet. No, do not be surprised by the content of this book: celebrate it!

As a project, there will be a separate edition exploring the us-by-us-for-us models in poetry. For both volumes I had envisioned presenting the anthology entries sequentially, from earliest times to the present day, but now I realize that is not necessary. Since the messages are the same regardless of time, one can read and simply appreciate the material for its quality alone.

This book will include excerpts from first-hand documents and narratives, studies, analysis, biographies, letters, works of fiction, stage works, memoirs, etc. etc.

I hope you enjoy.

 

 

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* To a much smaller degree, examples from our straight(ish) allies are also represented, like the wonderful tribute to same-sex love penned by a Spanish monk circa 1800. These are by necessity far fewer because non-gay people have usually only written about Gays to condemn them, or deny they ever existed in the past.

 

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Copyright © 2021 AC Benus; All Rights Reserved.
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