Original review: I Sexually Identify as an Attack Helicopter is just very, very good. You are cringing from the title? Good, that means it works as intended. This piece is really good scifi – and not transphobic in the least, quite intentionally spiting the title. Read it here.
Update: So the internet happened and the story got taken down with a long explanation by Neil Clarke (of the publishing Clarkesworld) himself. I think this is a shame, and the behaviour of the people forcing the takedown (often from within the queer community) is atrocious. This story was, in my opinion, an excellent form of processing gender in a sci-fi frame. That the author is trans herself was not disclosed when the story was published and should not matter anyways. I have always been slightly contemptuous of the “oh no I’ll get cancelled” attitude, and the opinion that liberal and queer opinions in social networks tend to become harmful. The reaction to this story has led me to reconsider my attitude here and has left me deeply disappointed with our community. I thought we did better.
For more context: The title of the story refers to an anti-trans meme, and the story takes this “my gender is an Apache attack helicopter” meme and runs with it, in a scifi scenario where it is a valid sentence. I love this approach to phrases, I love it even more when it is scifi with more than a cheap gimmick thrown in, and I particularly enjoyed the take on gender and human processing in this story. It reminded me of the vampire in Blindsight who got his data in the form of human faces in agony, because his species was particularly good at processing data that way. But even if you dislike the use of this meme or the form it took in this story, bullying the author and the publication into taking it down is unacceptable and turns you into a person – and, by extension, a group and political front – who’s not safe to talk to.
If you want to feel really heart-broken, read the Vox interview that came out a year later. Jesus.