Okay, look, I’m not going to step into the entire shit storm of certain things happening in M/M Romancelandia…except for one little point.
Everyone is on, “how would this person ever know what it’s like to be a gay man and be bashed/hated upon?”
Jr. High, religious school Jr. High: the rumor was, I was a witch… Yeah I know, TSL silly, but this was a school infested with “fundies” who talked in tongues and had the equivalent of epileptic seizures in the isles while “channeling” the Spirit of the Lord on Sundays (how do I know? I went to their church with my best friend a few times). The “Popular Kids,” all from that church, were caught telling ghost stories – a major sin, so it couldn’t be false. So they put my “unpopular” name on it. The kids – with the blessings of their fundie parents – pushed me into lockers, poured ink in my back pack, tripped me in the halls (the list goes on and on), because I was “a witch” I was fair game. Their parents even had a meeting with the pastor of the school because they were concerned about “my” bad influence on their “angels” who were doing right by the Lord.
>Tell me I don’t know what it means to be beaten on for what people perceive me to be.
At a very trendy, and not even the most famous, gay bar in WeHo, with a group of my friends – lesbian, gay and bi. And we’re on the smoking patio. I’ve just lit everyone’s smokes and I still have the lighter in my hand. I overhear the guy behind me, who I don’t know from Adam, complain that he can’t find his lighter. So I turn around, flick it and hold it out to the guy who has his arm around another guy. “There you go.” The look of disgust, when they look at me and realize what I am, before they walked away…holy shit.
>Tell me I don’t know what it means to be confronted with disgust at who I am.
I walk into a hotel for a conference and I come up to the front desk. The clerk smiles at me and says, “Can I help you, sir?” When I say I have a reservation and hand over my driver’s license – which doesn’t match her perception or my presentation – panic sweeps her face. She excuses herself. I spend the next fifteen minutes waiting for anyone to come and give me my fucking room…I finally get a manager who sheepishly apologizes for the delay and, luckily, actually gives me a room.
>Tell me I don’t know what it means to suffer from discrimination.
We’re on a 4day cruise. My Princess becomes BFF with another little girl the first day. They’re doing EVERYTHING together – we have to show up to the buffet at the same time so they can have breakfast, lunch and dinner together – with the matching dolls they bought the first day and NAMED after each other. Third night in, Mom of NBFF tells me she’s a travel agent and that’s how she got this cruise and then asked how we afforded it in this economy (I blame this on the: we’re having this conversation at the bar at 11:30pm waiting for the kids to get out of “PIRATE PJ Night”) and I blurt out “we blew my royalties on it.” Which caused a discussion of what I write. It was amazing how the next day, the moment we’d show up for anything she’d drag her daughter away kicking and crying. Do you know how hard that was to explain to Princess?
>Tell me I don’t know that who I am affects the people around me in ways they never deserved.
The only place I have my books on a shelf is in a locked back room. When company comes over – it’s buttoned up tight. My mother laments that I, “never did what I was meant to do…” and the whole family knows she means writing. SG’s father idolizes Sci-Fi authors and has talked about wishing he could connect to published authors (they live in the middle of F’ing nowhere Utah) for years. My mom constantly talks about getting into web marketing and I start telling her stuff – and then realize how do I explain I know all this crap about social media marketing and blogging that I, as a Lawyer, don’t need to know. Then I have to remember the whole cobbled together mess of lies I’ve been telling for years about money and trips out of town and slip up’s the spawn make.
I cannot talk about 1) what I do and 2) who I am. I know I’d be rejected on both fronts. Different conservative backgrounds, both convinced the HomoGestapo is ruining “traditional families.” Despite the sharp tongued, quick witted political debates that we all have — I can’t tell them about me. The spawn have inklings, and I’m ashamed that I’ve had to draft them into the conspiracy of silence. I don’t want them to lose their grandparents on both sides because of me. And these are things, that if it wasn’t the genre that I write, I’d have total support for.
God forbid we add the GenderQueer and BDSM icing on that cake.
And I am terrified that it will come out and they will reject, not only me, but family for it.
>Tell me that I don’t know what it’s like to lead a life in the closet.
SO, Don’t tell me that I don’t know what it means to be hurt to the core and afraid of who I am. Look at yourself before you pick up that stone…