It's fall, and that means the school library is definitely open, and middle-school students across the country are reading the classic young-adult book The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. Meaning, a younger generation empowered by Twitter and unencumbered by stupid things like heterosexism is reading the book with fresh eyes. So naturally, one young reader had a question about whether the characters Dallas and Johnny Cade were actually gay lovers. Both of them are street toughs, and Dallas, the coolest, baddest-ass greaser of them all, is especially protective of Johnny, who comes from a home filled with abuse, alcoholism, and neglect. Was this a gay relationship that couldn't be explicitly rendered as such back when the book was first published in 1967? Well, the reader thought to ask the author, S.E. Hinton, on Twitter:
@MrCadeWinston No. Where is the text backing this?— S. E. Hinton (@se4realhinton) October 17, 2016
While the conversation could have (should have?) ended there, it didn't.
@MrCadeWinston ask someone in the '60's how "cute" it was to be gay.— S. E. Hinton (@se4realhinton) October 17, 2016
. I have many friends I love & do not want to sleep with.
Predictably, everything else spiraled from there, with other users jumping in:
@se4realhinton also, you said I was a little girl, and I'm in high school. And I was just asking a question, don't get so salty— VVAnn (@MrCadeWinston) October 18, 2016
First of all, not all people who think this are "little girls" and, this is what having a problem with us looks like https://t.co/RQNqylyAWh— Katie BOOttenberg (@aroaceromanova) October 18, 2016
Hinton says that she has gay friends (uh-oh), but ultimately just decides to agree that while others can have a different reading of the book, she simply didn't write the characters that way.
@Mint_mulatto I have no problem with interpretation. But (can't believe I am still saying this) I did not write the characters as gay.— S. E. Hinton (@se4realhinton) October 18, 2016
Young gay kids can identify with the book without me saying the characters are gay.— S. E. Hinton (@se4realhinton) October 18, 2016
I never ever set out to make anyone feel safe. https://t.co/mLO8jYturY
But surely we can at least all agree that the movie is super-gay, right?
Also, lol, sure. Everyone in The Outsiders was hella straight. No homoerotic content in sight. Nope. pic.twitter.com/8Yk0NASwzW— Kay Taylor Rea (@kaytaylorrea) October 18, 2016