“The Mormon Victorian Society” by Johnny Townsend from Chelsea Station Issue 4. Edited by Jameson Currier.
I loved this story about two young Mormon men who are members of a club dedicated to studying all things Victorian. Ben and Mason are gay and attracted to one another, though they have never said as much. They can’t; they’re part of a culture that won’t allow them to be open. Worse, they’re members of a sect-within-a-sect that harkens back to an even more repressive time.
Still, warmth oozes up from these pages. They’re a great couple in every way they are permitted to be. Each is interested in being a church leader, they share a love of history, and they have similar opinions about both the other members of the Victorian Society and the Church at large. They break the rules together in small ways, watching movies and reading books that fall outside the parameters set by the club. They laugh together. They enjoy one another’s company. Most importantly, when the chips are down they stand up for one another, for others, and for themselves.
I wish there was an entire novel about these two characters, but I think this is just one of many tangentially-related short stories in the collection of the same name. Even so, I’m eager to read it.