My teenage queer experience was chiefly one of obliviousness. I did my best to cultivate crushes on various boys, the best one of which was where I’d never met him but really admired a painting of his which had been framed in the art department. My diary from this period is tragic: “goals for this year: become friends with Sophie L. I don’t know her but she seems so nice.” I didn’t seek out queer books because I didn’t know there were any, and in any case couldn’t countenance any specific reason I would look for them. At the same time I bounced off the whole of the library’s Teen section because I “didn’t care about romance”, which I now take to mean that I wasn’t very interested in girl meeting boy.
Recollecting all this, I couldn’t help wondering whether I would have been happier and more sane if I had figured it all out sooner, and whether I wouldn’t have figured it out sooner if I’d seen myself in the mirror of fiction. I might have spent less time feeling I was missing some essential part, as if it had fallen into the sea.