Equal Rights Blog Hop: My Two Cents

equalrightbloghop

Click here to hop on!


“What Being a Member of the GLBT Community Means to Me”

I’m a rule-breaker.  Sort of.  Actually, in my non-writing job, I’m more of a rule enforcer.  Fasten your seat belt, turn off your phone — I’m a real stickler.  Unless you’re cute, in which case I can usually be counted on to let most stuff slide.  (Do fasten your seat belt, though, for Heaven’s sake; it’s summertime and the bumps get crazy.  You won’t be so cute when the airplane floor and ceiling are finished with you.)  The rules I sometimes break are more like Life Rules.  You know, the ones They try so hard to enforce: like, you have to a. look a certain way or b. sleep with a certain gender or c. eat more broccoli.  Um, a. no I don’t, b. ok, I do, but it’s not the one I’m supposed to, and c. gross.

rainboysTo be a part of the Queer Community, you have to break a bunch of rules.  If you didn’t disappoint your parents or gross out the (closet-case) jocks at your high school, you need to at least terrify a good many of the small-minded people you pass on the street.  You want into the Queer Community, you’ve probably been designated as “other” by another, more traditional community before you even come looking for us.  And the best part of the Queer Community?  You’re gonna be different here, too.  For all that we are discussed and legislated and marginalized as One Group by what we’ll call the Dominant Paradigm (because it’s pretentious and fun!), we are (ironically?) a community that stretches the term “heterogenous” to its limits.  Not only are we everywhere, but we are everyone.  We are old, we are young; we are fat, we are fit; we are macho men and glittery girls, glittery femme boys and macho butch women; we are one of the few communities that pulls members from every corner of the world.  Every race, every culture, every social strata produces queers, and I love it.  Cast out from — or choosing to reject — more insular communities, we continue to meet challenges within this one.  I am perfectly at home in the queer community, but not always comfortable; my worldview is in constant upheaval: Being Queer can look like that?  Can act like that?  Can have an ass like that?  On the surface, I might have little in common with, say, a transgender Latina lesbian, but it is precisely our differences that link us to this large, loud community, and it is in the mind-bending diversity of All That Is Queer that I find the freedom to be Exactly Me.  Whoever that is.

A (generous and thoughtful) review of my novel Kiss Me, Straight on Amazon remarks that the book “is about the beautiful thing that occurs when we have community in our lives,” and finding a sense of Home in a changing world is a big part of my forthcoming novella Crazy Like Fox.  While many of our ill-wishers would use the threat of separation and isolation to keep questioning Queers toeing the Society line, it is my mission not just as a writer but as a big fat queer in general to inspire people to follow their heart wherever it might take them without fear.  A “community” that wouldn’t want you doesn’t deserve you, but this community will shove over and make room for you.  We won’t make you turn off your phone, but you might wanna buckle up — the ride gets kinda wild.  

(For the Queer Town Abbey Grand Prize Giveaway: My worldview is in constant what?)

Thanks for hopping by!  A lucky commenter (who includes his or her email address) will be chosen at random on July 8th to win a signed copy of my debut novel, Kiss Me, Straight, a JMS Books release.  And don’t forget to click here to keep hopping!

Advertisements

“What does writing GLBTQ literature mean to me?”

The Follow the Rainbow Blog Hop was a good bit of fun, and is now over.  Many thanks to all the readers who hopped and left thoughtful comments, and Congratulations! to madisonparklove, the Winner of the $20 Amazon gift card.  If you missed the Blog Hop, I hope you will still enjoy learning a little about what I write and why I write it, and maybe start a Big Gay Bookshelf of your very own.  Welcome.

I’ve known I was gay my entire life.  Since way before I had the words to describe it, I knew I was “different,” and I knew it was OK.  But growing up in America is a funny process; all along our educational road, we have two things drilled into our heads with equal fervor.  1. You are an individual.  You are special.  There is no one else like you, and you can grow up to be whatever in the world you want to be.  And 2.  As long as you march straight down this incredibly narrow path of heteronormative behavior to your wedding day, your children, and an eventual gray-haired retirement that you will have no way to pay for.  For a society that stresses individuality and exceptionalism from Sesame Street, we judge our members against a very rigid criteria and forgive few missteps.  So yeah, even though the Universe and I had reached an understanding early on, coming out in Cow Town, Colorado during college was something of a process.  I was surrounded by cowboys, many of them large (and delicious, which isn’t the point), and it was unclear if the Universe had let them in on our little arrangement.  Now, as you know and I know, the real key to Coming Out is to reach the understanding that it doesn’t matter whether those cowboys are in on the deal or not; it has nothing to do with them.  Well, at least not with the ones that don’t fool around at frat parties.  I would have reached that understanding eventually, of course, but the GLBTQ fiction from which I was unable to tear myself away in those days cleared the path.  A gay guy’s life was peppered with glitz.  Or with mystery and intrigue.  Or with hilarity and madcap hijinks, depending on the particular book I was reading.  Few of the books I chose related specifically to coming out or to any drama around it.  The guys in these stories just were gay.  They didn’t have angst around it, they weren’t looking for anyone’s permission or approval, they just ran around solving mysteries or planning elaborate sham weddings to fleece wealthy relatives out of gifts, kissing boys and cavorting with straight-gal sidekicks, quoting show tunes and quaffing Veuve Clicquot and generally getting on with the business of being gay.  But the deluge of gay stories about gay characters written by gay guys did more than just make being gay look like a whole lot of fun.  Gay fiction was my window onto a larger world than the one I inhabited, and the gay writers I read in my teens and twenties showed me that I could indeed live my life, and eventually tell my own stories, my way.  They helped me realize that coming out — that living my life openly and honestly, for better or for worse (come what may, all that) — was the only possible life I’d even be able to consider. Continue reading