Review: Hush [M/M Romance, Political Thriller]

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5/5 stars

this was a masterpiece of character studies, romance and thriller, but what i was most struck by was tom’s shame surrounding his own sexuality.

i’m english, and we decriminalised male/male sex in 1967 (although, of course, i’m not implying the public accepted gay people immediately). foolishly, i assumed that the US had done so in a similar timeframe.

i was wrong. the US only federally decriminalised male/male sex in 2003. fucking 2003 . that’s in MY fucking lifetime, and i’m fucking gen Z.

this really drove home to me the plight of gay people in the 90s, and how they still felt as though they must be closeted – they mention AIDS, and reagan’s utter failure to do anything about it, which i knew. but i am still absolutely thrown that, in some states in the 90s, male/male sex was illegal. fucking illegal. yes, people may say “oh, but it was never enforced.” but it was used as a springboard for discrimination, as a justification, and at the end of the day it was still illegal. and it just made me realise how little i know about lgbt history in the US, and by extension, other places.

i’m a member of the LGBT community myself (bi, trans), but this really made me realise how urgent LGBT rights are in america. if m/m sex wasn’t even decriminalised less than 20 years ago, that really highlights why the anti-discrimination laws are so fucking lacking in some states.

but for all that, this book gives a positive message. a positive, beautiful message: that it took a long time, and so much shit happened, but we’ve got through it, and the LGBT community is stronger than it ever was, more accepted than it ever was.

i just hope that does not change.

tl;dr: this book broke my heart, then put it back together again.

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