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The Last Gay in the World

Finnian Burnett teaches undergrad English and creative writing. They also run an online writing academy for a non-profit organization and will corner people at parties to talk about the thrill of finding the perfect story structure.

Under their former name, Finn published several books with Sapphire Books, including two Rainbow Award Winners. A self-published book, Coyote Ate the Stars, won first place in fantasy in the Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards.

Finn is enamored with flash fiction and leads workshops on the structure of a flash story. They've published in the Bath Flash Fiction Festival anthology, Black Hare Press, National Flash Fiction Day, and more. They are currently working on a flash-in-novella project and a queer sci-fi version of Hamlet.

In their spare time, Finn watches a lot of Star Trek and takes their cat for walks in a stroller. Finn lives in British Columbia with their wife and the cat, Lord Gordo.

Finn can be found at finnburnett.com and on Twitter under @FinnianBurnett.

The last gay in the world lives in a glass cage at the Global Catastrophes Museum. I visit every day; I have a season pass. Her cage is on the second floor, in the back, past the gift shop where my mom bought a life-size poster of the Father General last time she visited.
The woman paces. Sometimes she writes with a sleek fountain pen, scratching carefully on a giant pad, sprawled on her chair in the center of the room. Her grip is steady and firm. The ink on the paper looks thick and dark, though I can't read the words from here. The sign on her window says the enclosure is temperature controlled. A sunlamp comes on in the morning and dims in the evening.
A group streams past without pausing. She's not interesting anymore, not to them. The last gay, who cares? The Pure Birth League insists a gay hasn't been born in America in over sixty years and once the camps were closed, well, no one knows. I don't know why this one was kept alive. A warning?
Her stained fingers, long and powerful, wrap around the pen. Grey hair hangs down her back in one long braid--she looks like Lara might have as an old woman. Lara, who kissed me one day, and was gone the next, taken to the center while my mother convinced the Human Morality Squad that I was a victim, not an instigator.
The pens stills and she reaches for the pad, glancing toward my shadowy corner. I know she doesn't see me; she can't. But her gaze doesn't waiver and my knees go weak. She flips the pad and holds it up. You're not the only one, it says. You're not alone.
The End
This story was first published on Monday, March 28th, 2022

Author Comments

This story started the way most stories do--with a "what if?" What if all the queer folks in the world were systematically destroyed? What if the last remaining gay person was kept in a museum as a cautionary tale to the rest of the population? I am drawn to dystopian stories and the idea of any marginalized group being stamped out of existence is automatically horrifying. Of course, the real story is that it would be impossible to destroy something that occurs naturally in every population, which is what makes the main character's revelations through the story so important.

- Finnian Burnett
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