A.J. Cunder’s story “Treedom” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 5 November 2021.
The concept for this piece emerged from my own struggles with “fitting in,” and finding acceptance as a member of the gay community. At first, Garold was meant to embody this transformation, while the children were mostly just observers—conduits between Garold and the town. But after a few rounds of edits, I realized (along with Morris) that the true heart of this story centered around the three children and their interaction with Garold—how he is able to change them—first, to accept their true selves, and second, to help a conservative town at least begin to consider (if not embrace) self-identities that disrupt deeply ingrained normative values. And I wanted the piece to accomplish this by pushing the concept of self-identity beyond LGBTQIA+ to explore what it means to know one’s self even in a way no one else can. I hope, at least in some small way, this story can participate in the critical dialogue ongoing in our society that will one day produce a world of acceptance, no matter the clothes we wear, the bodies we inhabit, or the love we share.
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