I guess I’m proud to announce that my first book published is hereby declared ‘gay propaganda’.
I’m going to say, “Good.”
The book of course is NOT gay propaganda, but it does have an LGBT-friendly…story? I don’t know how to explain it. Some of the characters are gay. Like…so what? Because there are gays in this real world, there shouldn’t be gays in fiction / science fiction?
Here’s how I see the world, and in turn, how I write stories:
Gays and lesbians and bisexuals and transgenders and queers and whatever other label they give themselves or we ‘heteros’ give them, those people are part of my everyday life. I’m closely related to a few. I know a LOT of gays and lesbians. I hate to point this out, but they are EVERYWHERE.
I’m not gay myself, but I’m going to say that those that are LGBTQ etc. want to be in stories, and in those stories they want to be REAL HUMAN BEINGS. Not some stereotype that Hollywood has made into a comical farce that half of the country somehow is brainwashed into believing all LGBTQ’s are just like the ones on the screen: brash, saucy, flaming, whimpering, whatever.
Gays are just like me. They have lives. They have feelings. They have families. They love. They laugh. They cry. They get angry. They have fights. They have children. They are HUMAN BEINGS.
So when I write a story, and it happens to have an LGBTQ character in it (surprisingly, this is in 25% or more of my stories, which is a good thing), I don’t write it as a propaganda piece where the characters are letting you know just how gay they are and they want everyone to turn gay as well because apparently being gay is still thought of as a choice, which just gets me all kinds of angry all over again.
When I write a story and there’s an LGBTQ character or event or plot or side-story, the people are (hopefully) as real as you and I. As real as the gays I know in real life. To me, gays aren’t really ‘gays’ (I’m only using the term so much because some of you might not be familiar that there are such things as gay persons in everyday life, and you are probably related to at least one of them).
They are Tyler, Todd, Merissa, Jennifer. They don’t talk gay. They talk like your co-worker, like your mom, like your best friend. They don’t talk like they are Hollywood hairdressers in a drag queen contest. They fall in love and get married (in my science fiction stories for sure…in my futures the question of homosexuality is a nail in a long-buried coffin). Sometimes they have children.
Isn’t this how anyone else would want to be written as? You don’t want to read about yourself as a stereotype. No one does. So if in my stories, one or more of my characters are ‘gay’, it means they are a character, and you judge them by their actions and morality, not whether or not they have sexual natures that are different than yours, but just as valid biologically.
You didn’t choose to be straight…did you? Didn’t think so.
I don’t write ‘gay porn’ because I don’t write ‘porn’ or ‘erotica’ or anything of that nature. I approve that others do, because they are expressing themselves and someone is reading it. Reading is fundamental to good mental health. I say the same about Harry Potter and Twilight…it gets a ton of kids and even adults to read a book…usually a lot of books.
I do however write adult fiction. Adult fiction means adults like you and I. Adults that curse. Adults that fight. Adults that have questionable morals. Adults that fuck. I’m not shy about any of these things when I’m writing because we don’t live in a sheltered existence where everything has soft, round edges and clean, wholesome living with no conflict. I write about real people, even if some of those people are two hundred years in the future once in a while.
I try my best to not be really graphic about things like sex, even though my characters do commit such horrid, immoral acts (yes, even the married ones! *GASP*). Mostly because I’m terrible at it…everything I write when I try to be slightly detailed in sex scenes just sounds like I’m a fourteen year old boy giggling in health class after being shown videos about vaginas and penis…penises? Peni? Anyway, I write about characters having sex, I just don’t write it like I’ve stolen it from a Penthouse Forum letter.
Now, you might be wondering why I’ve broken the cardinal rule of authors, which is to never read reviews of your own work. And you might be saying that I’m bitter over a two-star review and I’m having to defend it. That’s only partially right. I’m not concerned with someone’s opinion of the content in terms of plot, story, grammar, spelling, etc.
I’m concerned (angry?) that someone would read the story and then only get out of it that it is gay propaganda. Because I read the story. I read it like…thirty times? I wrote the damn thing. I can’t say I agree with the analysis of ‘gay propaganda’. If it were just me, I’d probably think the guy had a point. But ten people read it before I published it, and funny thing, not a single person said, “hey, you might want to do something about that gay thing you got going on, it’s really uh…out there, man.”
In fact, none of them even said, “<insert comment here> gay.”
A few of them reading this right now are probably blinking and saying, “yep, there was some gay in there somewhere, wasn’t there?”
There are some gay characters. I’ll list them out for you so you can reassure yourself why it is a terrible, gay propaganda story and feel good about it that someone else pointed it out so you wouldn’t have to find out after plopping down $.99.
Tony, he’s a gay man. Single. Dated one of the other guys (bit character named Arn).
Walter & Thad. Married couple. Both have cool mustaches and both have physiques that let you know they’ve worked in the farm fields for a good number of years (tan, mostly fit, but I leave most of the descriptions up to the reader.
Deena & Dana. Married couple. They like things the way they are, because the place they live just sees them as two human beings, not two queers having disgusting woman-on-woman double-headed dildo sex. With Hitler. Sorry, I get a little upset about it sometimes.
Oh, and Sandra, the main character’s sister. She is a lesbian. She’s not really in the story much, but she is background for the main character and a big reason behind his driving force.
So that’s seven characters that are gay. That’s probably half of the character cast. Maybe I did put too much gay in that science fiction story where I treated them all as human beings with human purpose instead of alienating them and feeding them to the terrifying alien invaders just because they didn’t conform to the Christian way of thinking.
I’ll go out on a limb and say that out of a 24,000 word story, there might be 200-500 words that are part of the gay propaganda context. That is simply too much, and shame on my proofreaders for not catching that. There’s a section in the author’s notes where I basically say all of the things I’m saying here, just in a more compact format because no one likes to be preached to after reading a book. Especially people who are angry that the book turned out to be ‘gay propaganda’ after they spent the dollar for it.
Pardon me while I step off my soapbox.
I thought about responding to the review, but that is breaking the authors code even more than reading reviews about your work. But I figure, oh well. Someone will read the story and leave a review that says, “Well, it’s a shitty story, but there was no gay propaganda in it at all, and the main character was heterosexual and only in two relationships, but not at the same time.”
I thought it was a good story, and Mr. Two Star Reviewer did too…except for the gay propaganda part. So maybe I better not release this story I’m working on that has a BLACK, bisexual, teenage girl that is about to commit suicide because she lives in southern Idaho (a place not known for racial or sexual or religious tolerance) and has been bullied not only by all the kids around her, but by her own mother and step-father as well.
Or a novel where the main character doesn’t ever act on her bisexuality until near the end, and it causes a lot of trouble, because being ‘queer’ or different like that in high school is such a treat for kids going through awkward puberty phases.
I could go through the list of stories that are done or half-done and pick out a good 20% or more that had some ‘gay’ in them. But now that I am a propagandist, I think I will go back and make it more like…75% that have some ‘gay’ in them.
Because that is apparently more important than writing a good story with believable characters.