Sometimes you just have to weigh in #Kerfuffle

There’s another kerfuffle wrinkling the romance sheets, specifically a complaint piece written by an anonymous individual (apparently a gay male, but… anonymous) with issues to the effect that he wants to emphasize Gay Men Are Not Collectables. Before you race to click the link, there are NSFW photos of male anatomy that aren’t making it into “that special folder.”

Oh stop… you’ve got one, too.

Much ado was being made over on Face Book when this hit the airwaves, with folks weighing in on an issue/concern that’s been ongoing for quite some time, to wit: are women capable of writing—authentically and legitimately—to, for and about gay culture and the gay experience? A corollary to that question is anonymous’ claim that with the explosion in popularity of the MM romance genre that gay males are being objectified and “collected.”

Lisa wrote an op-ed piece exploring these questions and more. She did a very nice job of sorting through what had devolved into a confusing rant, picking out the relevant talking points and addressing each concern logically. You can read that in this blog on The Novel Approach.

As an author who writes gay literary fiction as opposed to straight romance—with its stringent rules and expectations, its pre-ordained outcomes and narrowly defined paths to finding a satisfactory resolution to a character’s journey, aka HEA—there was one thing that caught my attention.

Anonymous wrote: “As a gay man, the M/M Romance genre makes me extremely uncomfortable.”

As a writer, no… wait… as a creative, it is not my job to make you (used here generically) feel comfortable. It is not my job to bubble-wrap you and protect you from life’s realities even if fiction, by its very nature, is filled with archetypes, tropes, and historically developed narrative structure, all of which are heavily dependent on cultural and social imperatives and rarely, if ever, reflect life’s realities.

It is not my job to assure your delicate sensibilities aren’t offended by providing trigger warnings beyond the obvious one used here, i.e. alerting readers that opening a link also reveals photographs that in a work environment are inappropriate and could lead to awkward discussions, or could be viewed by under age children.

That’s called being socially responsible and aware of the impact of social media.

And yes, I am all too aware that there’s a double standard at work here.

Anonymous feels objectified by how male characters are portrayed: unrealistic physical characteristics (hello, size double-aught runway models anyone?), unrealistic sex drive and unrelenting reliance on scenes of affection as plot devices, and fetishization/glorification of a small percentage of the population who clearly don’t represent the norm (he uses porn stars and gay male authors as examples… go ahead, think on that a minute, I’ll wait).

Do we really need to talk about the heroes in Regency romances, what they look like, how they act? Flash forward present day: the billionaire trope. The alpha wolf. The CEO, the tough detective… From time immemorial they’ve pretty much been cut from the same mold. It’s in the Writing Romance Guidebook for Aspiring Authors. It applies to MF as well as MM.

Get over it.

If you don’t like the trope, for crying out loud, don’t read it! And don’t be insulted because, honey, it ain’t about YOU! It’s about fantasies, about being taken away from bosses who bitch because you needed a day off to care for a sick child or an ailing parent. It’s about trying to forget the grocery list, bills you can’t meet because you were laid off or you’re a single parent working three jobs to make ends meet. It’s about having to be superwoman or superman in a society that sees no value in the individual beyond their worth as a consumer of goods and services.

Oops, sorry…  I was just about to go off on Republicans trying to control my ovaries and dipping their dicks in Social Security and medicare. <shivers> My bad.

Let me repeat: if it doesn’t suit, if it doesn’t meet your needs, if it somehow offends… don’t read it!

Romance is written primarily by women for women!

If you’re gay and aching for something to read that speaks to your own world view, I’ve posted dozens of  recommendations for books by gay authors who do exactly that—exceptional works of fiction that transcend genres, that speak to the human condition, that offer insights into the history of gay culture. Authors who write with exquisitely aching beauty and respect for the language. True storytellers who understand STORY and all its nuances.

Find them, read them. No one is standing over you with a taser forcing you to read a romance novel, though in truth there are stunningly magnificent works out there. Novels that will take your breath away, leave you in tears of joy or despair, that will transport you, elevate you, and change how you see yourself and the world you live in.

That’s what STORY does.

As for those pesky scenes of affection… There’s a topic that is so market-driven, so dependent on the vagaries of pop culture, perceptions of what’s socially acceptable and programmed into us via the media, that it’s really difficult to limit the discussion to its relevance to STORY.

Difficult, not impossible.

Here’s the skinny: does a scene of affection (SoA, aka graphic sex) move the plot along, does it promote emotional growth for the characters, does it realistically portray what’s physically possible (oh yeah, it’s a thing, dear readers, especially in the MM romance genre), is it an obstacle for your character to overcome before he/she can move forward? Yes or no? If no, get rid of it because then it serves no purpose other than titillation and, more often than not, it will fail that metric because romance readers won’t tolerate gratuitous and disrespectful treatment of a genre.

If you don’t find plot (STORY), it might be erotica, but I hesitate to make that distinction because erotica done right is a glorious venue for exploring the hidden treasures of our psyches.

SoAs are also a matter of taste. A book can fall into the too little, too much, just enough category all at the same time. That factoid makes reading reviews a mind-numbing proposition.

Clearly, anonymous falls into the too much mindset when it comes to most MM romance. Solution: don’t read it.

As a writer, I’ve chosen a road less followed. I prefer not to follow tropes or conventions requiring HEA or HFN. I embrace a non-standard, more literary (sometimes transgressive) narrative style, yet most of my work is highly sensuous and intensely character-driven because that’s what interests me. I want to take readers out of their comfort zones and bring them into mine.  And to do that means I eschew trigger warnings and expect the reader to be mature enough to accept that the world I offer is neither tidy nor accommodating.

At the end of the day, isn’t it really about having choices, and shouldn’t we be celebrating the fact we have an almost infinite array of STORIES to suit virtually every taste? Shouldn’t we, as authors, applaud our fellow creatives who have found an audience for their work?

And isn’t it long past time to simply embrace the fact that, though our paths might differ, we all long for the same things in life?

 

 

About Nya Rawlyns

Nya Rawlyns doesn’t write typical romance. She writes emotion as a contact sport, rough and often raw. It need not be pleasant, heart-warming or forever after. What she seeks is what lies beneath—a dance of extremes, the intersect of need and desire, and the compromises we make when pain and pleasure become indistinguishable. ***** She has lived in the country and on a sailboat on the Chesapeake Bay, earned more than 1000 miles in competitive trail and endurance racing, taught Political Science to unwilling freshmen, and found an avocation in materials science. ***** When she isn’t tending to her garden or the horses, the cats, or three pervert parakeets, she can be found day dreaming and listening to the voices in her head.
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21 Responses to Sometimes you just have to weigh in #Kerfuffle

  1. MonaKarel says:

    There are so many genres and sub genres that do not interest me. I’ve solved that problem by…wait for it…NOT reading them. Easy. I don’t write for the people who do read them. Simple.
    The idea of wasting time on some whiny rant, then not having the strength of mind to sign said rant, is really kinda sad. Spend the time playing with the dogs or mulching the garden or, hey write your own books and put them out to be criticized. It’s a free country

    Liked by 1 person

  2. SLiraErotica says:

    Reblogged this on Rawiya Erotica and commented:
    Beautifully, well written article about the latest drama in M/M romance.

    Like

  3. mo883mpetersdesires says:

    Why has this not gone viral yet? You are the voice of reason in a world gone insane.

    Like

  4. Sheryl H says:

    I am an avid reader. I read an average of 6 books a week. Most of which are M/M. As an adult woman over the age of 18 I make the CHOICE on what I am going to read. The books this person is referring to are smut novels, made to be surrounded around….take a guess…SEX. There are so many M/M stories out there that bring you into the story with them. Thank you for taking the time to write such a great post highlighting the latest drama with the M/M world. You know there might even be room for a story about it. An author and a model, sort of a sarcastic yet romantic highlight to the nonsense.

    Like

  5. I have to say, this makes me so sad, and that’s not a euphemism for angry, I mean genuinely sad, like I want to cry. “Romance is written primarily by women for women!” And also: “If you’re gay and aching for something to read that speaks to your own world view, I’ve posted dozens of recommendations for books by gay authors who do exactly that . . . . No one is standing over you with a taser forcing you to read a romance novel”

    No, but what about the men who want to, they just want to read romances about people like them?

    Since the article you refer to is about m/m romance, that really sounds like you’re essentially telling gay/queer male readers that romance, and stories in which they can find themselves reflected, must be mutually exclusive.

    I know several gay/queer/bi men who love reading romance, but hunger for romance that is for or about them. But your statement seems to suggest, to me anyway, that the genre variously called M/M, gay, queer or LGBTQ+ Romance, may sometimes be *about* them but is not *for* them. Which seems just, a very cruel & hurtful joke. And kind of the definition of marginalization, & how bitterly ironic is that, within a genre that essentially has their name hanging on the sign above the door.

    I have to wonder how well that would go over if this were some other marginalized group we were talking about. Romances by white authors *about* poc characters, but not *for* poc, etc.

    So where are my friends to look, those who are gay/queer/bi men, for those romances *they* want and need, if not to the genre that bears their name? My understanding of your recommendations is that they are not romance? And please don’t say, they should write their own. Some already do.. But writing doesn’t replace reading.

    Not that there aren’t wonderful M/M + romances written by women that *do* resonate with some gay/queer/bi men I know, there definitely are, a number of them. But what you said seems to suggest this should be understood as just a happy coincidence, not something they should feel they have any right to expect.

    What are they supposed to do, found an entirely new genre? Over *here* is M/M ROMANCE FOR WOMEN, and over *there* is LGBTQ+ ROMANCE FOR ACTUAL LGBTQ+ PEOPLE. Or perhaps there need to be little badges devised “This is an LGBTQ+ friendly M/M romance”. As opposed to the kind that is . . . not 😦

    This would feel like a ghetto-ization of a genre that already feels ghetto-ized to me by virtue of being differentiated as a sub-genre of Romance to begin with. But it really makes me wonder if this is where we are headed.

    Like

    • Nya Rawlyns says:

      There is a long history to this issue and it is not one easily reconciled because definitions shift and there’s little agreement on what exactly is being discussed. The anonymous poster in question objected to how gay men are “objectified” and “collected” (no idea what that is supposed to mean), and he particularly disliked gays being sexualized, but beyond that the argument devolved into how women behaved at a convention with “naked servers”.

      The takeaway from many of the arguments are that women fail on the metric of authenticity and legitimacy when it comes to relating the gay experience. He also avers that said women have corrupted MM romance into “glorified” porn. Go read the article. I think you will agree that if one is unhappy with the trope, then protest with your wallet and don’t buy those books. If you cannot find stories you want to read, I would strongly suggest you aren’t looking hard enough. Several times a year I review and recommend novels of merit written by gay men. I’m not the only one. As I said, they include the romance genre of which MM is a niche subset.

      I think you are misinterpreting the message: this one individual made some generalized and quite incendiary remarks about not just a genre but about the authors writing those stories. He is the one who established that the romances out there aren’t for, by or about him… specially not about him in very particular ways. He wants stories that reflect his world view and refuses to recognize that this is entitlement writ large. That attitude is what constitutes ghetto-ization. He wants what he wants.

      Well, so do I. I want to read about a woman at the end of her useful shelf live, who lives alone, making due on social security, who longs for companionship, for validation that she still has usefulness and merit, that she’s worthy of respect… Yeah, her. And most of the women I know. I’m eagerly awaiting for indie authors and publishers to meet my interests by telling stories about people “like me”. And don’t tell me that’s not the same thing… it’s exactly the same thing.

      Publishing is a business. Books like the above? Never gonna happen. Authors write to a market. When the MM market exploded, many MF romance writers moved into that arena bringing those tropes and narrative styles. Therein lies the written by women for women – it stems from the history of slash fic. MM romance was the logical outgrowth from that movement.

      I stand by my statement: if you aren’t finding what you want on the standard romance shelf, vote with your wallet, write your own, or do some research to find those works that I know for a fact speak directly to the gay experience with gay characters and written by gays.

      Like

      • Yes, I did actually read the article your post was in reference to. It was highly problematic in lots of ways & I didn’t agree with a lot of what he said or how he chose to illustrated his points. However, what I wrote was specifically in response to what you said in your post, that romance is by & for women. Thank you for your reply..

        Like

        • Nya Rawlyns says:

          And thank you for taking the time to express your opinion. It’s always much appreciated when a reader engages with respectful discourse.
          The sticking point of “by and for women” has historical precedence and it is backed with solid research: historical, financial, and market-based. It’s not necessarily a reflection of a bias but rather simply reflects the current market (including the MM romance subset) where romance is the top performer among all categories. That genre comes with fairly stringent rules for plot, characterizations and story resolution—from both a publishing perspective and from reader expectations established over time. With the digital revolution, new possibilities have emerged and that market is decidedly in flux. The romance genre is “reader-driven,” aka market driven. That has absolutely nothing to do with individual authors disrespecting the gay community and everything to do with how romance and erotic romance fulfill those reader expectations. The number of subsets (Amish, Christian, suspense, western, biker, billionaire, MM, MMM, MFM, BBW…) are truly mind-boggling, yet each one provides readers a recognizable story line leading to a HEA. There are men writing romance who use female pen names, because reader expectations favor the distaff side of the equation. That’s neither good nor bad, it just is.
          I would argue that, in any given subset, there are individuals who feel they have cause to rail against how they are portrayed. What we need to remember is that the idealization and formulaic nature of the plots is a systemic issue and not one that should be laid at the doorstep of individual authors.

          Like

        • Again, this is to Nya Rawlins, in response to your response to my comment above. And again, I hadn’t planned to come back to this again, but while I’m here commenting on something else, I’m going to reply to this as well.

          I do understand what you’re saying about demographics, etc., I won’t argue with those statistics. What I will say is, just because I am a woman, writing (hypothetically) stories that I know will be read primarily by women, that’s not exactly the same as saying “I’m a woman writing for women.” I can be a woman writing for that market, but if I am writing *about*, for example, trans characters, I’d feel I have a responsibility to in some sense, *also* write, to the best of my ability, for trans people who may also be reading those stories. To make a good faith attempt to represent those characters in a way that a real transgender reader would, hopefully, feel reflected and recognized by, or at the very least, that would not make them want to throw down the book weeping & feeling alienated or fetishized or any other thing that might hurt or harm them in a world that already does plenty of that.

          And it’s the same for writing about *any* other marginalized character, whether it’s another LGBTQ+ person, a person of another race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, etc.

          I accept that everyone may not agree with this, but I really believe that if we choose to write about marginalized people who are not us, we have a responsibility to, at bare minimum, not bring more hurt or harm to the real people those characters, like it or not, represent. To just take what we need from them in order to flesh out a story, but not care about how a story or characters may make them feel, to my mind, is to, in a sense, cannibalize them for parts.

          Of course, any writer is free to do exactly that. But if so, then my feeling is that in no way can the *writing of those stories*, per se, be defined as an act of allyship, regardless of how many other ways those writers may be acting as allies to the community.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Nya Rawlyns says:

          We aren’t in disagreement here, Pam. Any writer worth his/her salt will create authentic characters to the best of their abilities, some will be better at it than others and knowledge of craft well be the determining factor. However, by imposing a “good faith” requirement you tread on shaky legal and moral ground: who defines what good faith is, what does it look like, how is it executed, what are the outcomes and responsibilities of participating partners. You force inclusion when inclusion may not serve the story. You force authors into an untenable position of having to account for an infinite number of possibilities, yet at the same time you demand that it “look like you”. You can’t have it both ways.

          Obviously, the slippery slope here is that there is no single “right” way to portray a character. Each individual is indeed unique, yet as authors we try to capture a sense of universality and recognizability as our characters traverse a minefield of life’s challenges. When someone claims they are being “hurt” that’s a meaningless statement designed to elicit sympathy and create false and unrealistic expectations. I say again, the author’s job is not to make an individual reader feel comfortable, particularly when it’s patently impossible for every author to create characters who are exactly/precisely “like” the individual reading that story. This is what Anonymous demands, and what you suggest. And are you aware of how fractured the LGBT community is, particularly in its attitudes about trans individuals? I do. Intimately. But I don’t expect or demand that every author writing in this genre be up-to-speed on all the nuances because 1) it’s unrealistic, 2) it would make storytelling a patently ridiculous proposition and 3) would serve nothing but agendas that rest on shifting sands.

          And since when did writing in the MM romance genre become a rite of passage to prove one’s worth as an ally or advocate? Are you seriously suggesting that there’s a manual of approved ways to portray a (gay) character, because if there is I’d surely enjoying seeing it… well, maybe not. This is pseudo-religious censorship of the worst sort. Please think about what you are implying. The consequences of creating even further divisions, of demonizing and sponsoring hate toward creatives, serves neither you nor any marginalized community.

          You come bearing a long list of thou shalts. Just remember this: that’s censorship hiding under a false sense of empathy. And lobbing accusations that allyship can only be measured by how well someone toes a party line is fascist intolerance of the worst kind.

          I’ve graciously permitted you a place on this forum to air your views, but today I am calling a halt. You have bought into a system of blatant and dangerous censorship and it is clear nothing I say is going to change your perceptions or behaviors.

          Like

      • BJ says:

        I am sorry I am not directly replying to your long response to Pam’s excellent post. I will not go into all the ways that this issue has been side tracked. What I will say is that you are basically not listening to the hurt of a marginalised individual. A marginalised individual in whose ‘name’ you write and read books. You cannot claim to be an advocate of an LGBTQ+ literary community, or an ally, if when a member of that community says you are hurting him – you say ‘go elsewhere then’. Being an ally or a member of a community does not mean sprinkling around a few cool supportive words and feeling good about yourself.

        The issue with the butlers naked arses was never about how the women behaved, or whether they were nice young men – it is how delegates who didn’t want naked cis white men at a literary convention felt AND how that is then perceived by others. Outside of the m/m (sorry LGBTQ+) literary/romance community these books are all perceived as gay porn. If you want to stop that – stop having naked butlers, or go go boys as the image of your conventions. I do not blame ANON for being anonymous – look at the way he was treated. He ‘feels hurt’ whether you agree with his post or not he has posted because you are hurting him.

        Like

        • Nya Rawlyns says:

          Since I was not at that convention, in fact I’ve never attended one, nor do I intend to in the near future, that issue was not one for me to address. And while Anonymous is certainly free to express an opinion about feeling objectified under those circumstances, he then muddied the waters by branching out with ill-conceived attacks on authors and what/how they write, specifically in the MM romance genre. If he had stayed on point, kept his focus on the real issue (if indeed that was the *real* issue), then none of this would have been blown out of proportion. What he did say, and I quoted from his article directly, is this: “As a gay man, the M/M Romance genre makes me extremely uncomfortable.”

          This is where I took issue, because as I said in my post, it’s not my job to make people feel comfortable. It’s my job to tell a story drawing on all the elements of writing craft. Where do you draw the line about what can and can’t be in a story? What gives you the right to demand that a character be “like you” rather than someone else? Who decides how much sex in a scene of affection is too much sex? This whole notion of triggers and demanding that books be representative of all races, religions, gender orientations, what have you is censorship. And you can deny it all you want but that’s what it amounts to.

          First Amendment freedom means you will face a cornucopia of ideas, situations, philosophies, sociopolitical tenets, and religious beliefs, ad infinitum. Some undoubtedly will be uncomfortable. Because of your discomfort does that then make you the arbiter of what everyone else should read and enjoy?

          Anonymous did not address marginalization, but he did express entitlement, and he painted a rather large community with the same brush without considering the history of a genre, nor did he allow for reasoned discourse. The gay community is no longer so isolated, so far removed from mainstream society, that they don’t have choices. If he doesn’t like the portrayal of gay males in some books, there are options, a whole hell of a lot of them, available to satisfy his interests, including romances. First Amendment reminder, if it doesn’t suit, then don’t read it.

          As for the accusation that being an ally requires said ally to be a marionette and toe a party line, sorry… not happening. By attacking the very people who are working hard to overturn draconian values and social wrongs you sure as hell are going at it ass-backwards.

          And by-the-by, I’m the mother of a trans. So don’t try running a load of bullshit under my nose. Trans individuals have and are being given short shrift by a community that should be lifting up, not tearing down those individuals you seem to deem inauthentic and unworthy.

          Addendum: This: “Outside of the m/m (sorry LGBTQ+) literary/romance community these books are all perceived as gay porn.” Come on, really? No… REALLY? You took a statistically significant poll of a representative portion of the population who read fiction (all genres represented) and you have the metrics to substantiate this claim? I didn’t think so.
          Here’s a suggestion: put aside your unfounded assumptions and stop lobbing accusations based on tunnel vision and irrational, knee-jerk reactions. Educate yourself by helping to define and refine the issues so that we can all discuss them rationally. That’s how conflict resolution works.

          Like

        • This is in response to Nya Rawlins response to BJ, not a response to BJ’s comment. Sorry for any confusion!

          Well, I hadn’t planned to comment further here, but I do want to respond to this. And I apologize for the length of this response, but there are a number of things I wanted to address.

          First, again I won’t argue that “anonymous” made his points poorly, said things I didn’t agree with, went off in all directions & never returned to his central point, inappropriately generalized, conflated things that are not the same, I could go on & on. But I *will* argue that an oppressed/marginalized person who raises a concern, no matter how inarticulately, ineloquently, impolitely or otherwise badly, should have a reasonable expectation of being treated with a modicum of compassion & respect *by those who identify themselves as his allies*. This does *not* imply he has to be agreed with, but disagreement can be respectfully expressed, rather than with the equivalent of angrily thrown tomatoes & yells of “shut up, yer an idiot, get off the stage!” Which is how I would cast many responses to his post.

          With regard to censorship: Censorship involves the prohibition, usually by law, of “objectionable” content. I don’t believe asking writers or publishers to *include* certain things fits that definition.

          Using your example of trigger warnings, if I’m a rape victim who says, “Please include trigger warnings on books with rape scenes so I don’t unexpectedly stumble over one & suffer a mental breakdown”, I am not censoring you, I’m asking for your care & compassion. You can, obviously, choose not to do this, but then I would posit that you cannot then accurately call yourself an ally for rape victims.

          Likewise, if I’m *any* kind of marginalized individual saying, please write more stories with people like me, so I feel more like I matter, more like I’m part of this world, again, I think that’s an appeal to compassion & human decency, not censorship.
          And that’s no less true even if that appeal isn’t prefaced with “please”, even if it’s ill-spoken & expressed in the form of an angry, incoherent diatribe.

          For this reason I would object to where you say “nor did he allow for reasoned discourse.” I don’t think the shortcomings of the “anonymous” post in any way prevent others from having a reasoned discourse *about* his post. Or of attempting to have such a reasoned discourse with him, by saying, “I regret your hurt, but your post is confusing, could you explain what you mean by x-y-z?” Or “I’m sorry this hurts you, but I’m troubled where you say x-y-z.” etc. And if he chose not to further engage, that would have been on him.

          You say anonymous did not address marginalization – but he identified himself as a gay man, so basically everything he’s saying is addressing marginalization.
          Marginalized individuals or communities or gets to decide who its allies are, not the other way around. Being an ally to a marginalized community, I will reiterate, demands a modicum of compassion & respect for the members of that community. Shouting a person down because you don’t like the way they express their hurt? Neither compassionate or respectful.

          As for your final comment on trans individuals. If I’m correctly understanding your statement, it is that because there are some members of the LGBTQ+ community who are not supportive and/or outright hostile to the rights of transgender individuals, as indeed there are, you are condemning the entire LGBTQ+ community. Wouldn’t that be, to quote what you said about the author of the article above “paint[ing] a rather large community with the same brush.”?

          However, with regard to your own trans child, I am so, so sorry, I can practically *feel* your hurt & anger coming off the page where you say: “Trans individuals have and are being given short shrift by a community that should be lifting up, not tearing down those individuals you seem to deem inauthentic and unworthy.” I can’t tell you how horribly sad it makes me that you or your child have been treated & made to feel this way by some members of a community they are supposed to be part of. This is every kind of reprehensible and heartbreaking and wrong. So, I can certainly understand your hurt & anger. But may I ask that you please do not direct it at the person who wrote the previous post, or assume that person shares those views? I actually know this person, & nothing could be further from the truth.

          Beyond that, please forgive me for using your personal circumstance to illustrate a point, but this is *exactly* the same hurt many members of the LGBTQ+ community are feeling about the m/m or LGBTQ+ romance genre & many self-defined allies who write it. The dismissive, angry, defensive responses by many self-defined allies to the hurt expressed by “anonymous”, have made many LGBTQ+ persons I know, including trans persons, feel much as you have expressed regarding your child. And this is not a one-time occurrence. It is one more blow in a rain of blows.

          Let me make clear that I am a cis, het, white, non-LGBTQ+ identifying woman. But I have a number of friends & acquaintances within the LGBTQ+ community. It’s one thing to be made to feel you don’t matter by homophobes & bigots, by people who openly hate you, by the enemy. But to be made to feel this way by a genre that once gave you hope, and far worse, by far too many people in a community that is supposed to care about you & be on your side? When I say this hurts people, I’m don’t mean “wah, you hurt my feelings”. I mean, hurt as in actual *harm*. This has the effect of marginalizing people all over again, even more painfully, because this time it’s happened in a place where they thought they were safe & among friends. I can tell you, there are people in great pain, in actual despair over this.

          Like

        • Nya Rawlyns says:

          I’m going to make this quick.
          1) My new daughter is not a child, she’s an adult, and together we’ve had decades to work through this process
          2) There is NO ONE more marginalized that a widowed woman, 70 years old, whose use-by-date has long since expired. You don’t know that, yet, but you will, I promise. I grew up in a far different world that saw immense changes and challenges for women, things no cis- or gay white male can even vaguely conceive of, and the gains hard won are being systematically removed by men. So don’t talk to me about marginalization. I’ve forgotten far more than you will ever know.
          3) I don’t whine or bemoan the fact that I’m under-represented because together with all those bearing that banner we’ve made a difference. I own my hurts and disappointments and unrealized potential and refuse to shotgun blame for every little nick and scrape to my ego.
          4) If someone tries to help but falls short, should they have not tried at all? And how would you like to quantify that? Who gets to be judge and jury?
          5) There’s a huge divide between asking and demanding. Learn the difference. And understand that just because you ask doesn’t mean the deliverables will meet your exacting standards.
          6) This forum is now closed.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Sessha Batto says:

    Well said. I, for one, do not read or write romance, whether gay or straight, because none of it appeals to me. That is my choice. Others lap it up, that is there choice. There are books out there for every taste, and if you can’t find what you want…write it. That is why I started writing in the first place. What does no one any good is whining and complaining about what you don’t like. Better to recommend what you do. Positivity uplifts, drama detracts from everyone’s experience.

    Liked by 1 person

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