Today was a difficult day. Reading the memorial posts on this, the 15th anniversary of 9/11, has made me reflective. So many people have shared tales of their fear, their sadness, and their courage in spite of it all. The overwhelming message: Love Wins. What people remember in addition to the panic is the positive, opening their homes to strangers or reaching out over the phone for human comfort and connection during the hellacious aftermath. We were battered but not broken. Finding community in the midst of tragedy got many people through it.
Today over on the Old School Romance Book Club, we had an issue. Unlike the majority of the internet, the OSRBC is one of my safe spaces. We are a community of readers drawn together through our love of the Romance genre. We read a book a month and discuss what we liked and didn’t. We debate how our beloved genre has changed for better or worse. We share personal triumphs, struggles, and epic book sale scores. We turn to each other when we can’t remember that book, you know the one, with the yellow dress on the cover, and the doctor in it…or when we have found THE BOOK, the one you must absolutely put in front of your eyes right now! “What are you reading?” and “Dammit! I’m broke now.” are our two most common posts. By and large, we are a close knit group for being over 4000 members. And we remain remarkably civil for being a large group of varied tastes.
In an unusual chain of events, this afternoon a reader got attacked for posting her review of a male/male book. The comments got ugly quick, and she ended up deleting the post, rather than engaging with such hateful energy. For awhile we thought she had left the group altogether. It disgusts me that in this day and age there are still people who find homosexuality so disgusting that they will verbally attack a stranger over it. While this is far from the tragedy of 9/11, it was nonetheless a blow to a group I care about deeply. I was so angry and hurt. I felt like it had been an attack on me, but I was helpless to do anything. By the time I realized what was going on, it had been taken down.
But these women, this community, has restored my faith. Admins dove right into the fray and sent out a clear message that such behavior isn’t acceptable and will not be tolerated. Individual members reached out to offer support. One woman basically recreated the post that was taken down, and it has taken off like a rocket, filling with amazing recommendations for great m/m books that everyone should try. This is my community. This is where I draw my strength to fight my battles. Love is love is love. We read it. We write it. We believe it. The outpouring of love tonight has filled my well, and restored my faith. When tested we responded with positive support and comfort. We came together as a community. I am damn proud of us, ladies. Damn proud. Love wins.