Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Gay, it means happy

Do I need a disclaimer? Should I add one just to cover my butt? Or does everyone know anything written here is my opinion and feelings on a sensitive subject? Also can I ask that everyone please be considerate when they comment? We're all adults (or pretending to be) let's act that way.

I keep hearing these stories about authors who have written a story with gay characters and when they show the story to others people suggest they change the story from M/M or F/F to M/F. I stumbled upon author Jessica Verday's blog about how she was asked just that thing. To have her story be part of an anthology the editor said she needed to change the relationship from gay to hetero. My writing friend, Chris said he someone suggested he change the gender of one of his characters to make his story hetero.

Let's think about this, discuss it, TALK!

Let me say first of that yes, I get publishers and agents are trying to sell a product. But does that make it okay to change a gay story into a hetero one? Maybe it'd be better if the agent found a publisher that had no qualms printing a book with gay characters. They are out there, they may not be part of the big 6 but I'd rather go with a smaller publisher that wasn't concerned with my character's sexuality.


I get the feeling that the assumption is if the characters are the same gender then the story is automatically full of sex and explicative acts. It's too risque for us straight people to deal with. The only way to tone it down is to make one character the opposite gender. Every other detail can remain the same though. That's fine.

It all makes me wonder, are gay stories really that horrifying? We see a book with an interesting cover, find out Jamie and Chris are both guys and drop the book like the plague. Just because we are straight. Come on, I thought we were past that. I believe we are born with our sexuality determined, we don't brush up against someone and who we're attracted to is magically changed.

I have read stories were the main characters are gay. They were amazing. I loved them, fell in love with the characters, rooted and cheered for them. The plot was strong, the writing was good, they were good books. I did not get disgusted when the two male characters kissed. I didn't even get grossed out when they got intimate. Did you know gay stories can be just as cliche as hetero in terms of sex?

So let's ask ourselves: Is a gay story that big of a deal for us straight people? I seriously doubt it. So why are we still acting like it? Demanding an author change their characters so the relationship will be hetero? Assuming that's the only type of book anyone will want to buy? Why can't we admit that these stories are needed, there are people out there who are straight and enjoy them? There are people who need them. These stories can be just as good and as bad as hetero stories.

15 comments:

  1. I recently read a really GREAT M/M/F book......that's right they had a 3way relationship, shock horror...NOT

    I see nothing wrong AT ALL with people's differing sexuality to that of my own.

    LOVE makes the world go round

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  2. Well, don't just mention the book was great! Hand out the name! We all need our TBR piles to grow more.

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  3. If you write a story where the main character is gay (or other characters are gay), I think that's cool...

    Personally if someone has a problem with it, they aren't somebody I'd want to do business with anyway (and I like to give most people the benefit of the doubt and assume they aren't homophobic).

    I do think if you write a story where the main character is gay, then 3 things happen...

    1. People think you are gay (which is fine by me, I could care less what people think)

    2. People might typecast you as a "gay writer" which would suck because you'd have this pressure to always address sexuality (which I'd get bored doing very quickly).

    3. You limit your audience (not because people are homophobic) but because you are writing in what is still considered a niche genre.

    Maybe in a few years I'll write a book and make one of the main characters gay or lesbian... but only if the story I want to tell demands it... or if people are still homophobic and I have the uncontrollable urge to irritate them.

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  4. It's not really that big of a deal to me. I read a lot of paranormal romance, both straight and gay. I don't really notice the difference. If the plot is strong and the characters are well developed I don't care what sexual preference the character happens to be.
    In truth, hetero probably sells better. So, I guess it is really up to the author how they want to work it. For many, writing is not only an artistic outlet, but a pay day. But for others artistic vision is the most important and changing a character is just not an option.
    I guess, as cheesy as it sounds, until we stop labeling eachother and viewing eachother as gay, straight, trans, etc it's always going to an issue.

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  5. I'm against any from of bias be it gender religion,race, the color skin. the only thing i have a bias to is bias. a great story is a great story. the same goes for a bad one. it is the quality of the writer's stories that should sell. change a story to suit the agent or publisher, i say let them write their story. the idea just make me mad. thank you and God bless all

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  6. LOL....sorry Patricia I should of said.
    It was Night Is Darkest by Jayne Rylon and is available at Samhain publishing in ebook format for $5.50

    Enjoy!!!

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  7. If this is the attitude of publishers (and even of some readers) then it reflects our social awkwardness about homosexuality, and that gay rights still have a way to go. Wanting to change a M/M or a F/F relationship to be hetero, in my mind, shows that homosexuality still isn't accepted as 'normal' and that putting gay characters into a novel either make people think that this puts the focus on the gay relationship itself, or that the author has an agenda/message to convey through this relationship.

    I've only come across a small handful of stories with homosexual relationships, but they worked well in the overall story and the characters were great. What's the fuss about?

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  8. Jamie is right that what's happening does reflect on how gay rights still have a long way to go. And this is exactly why we need these books published. If literature and media can't accurately represent a minority, then how are people ever going to accept it as 'norm'?

    And Austin makes a great point about the assumptions people make when you write a story with gay characters. 'Gay fiction' they call it, or 'gay interest'. I hate those terms. They should be reserved only for erotica where sexual preference actually matters. Just because a book has gay characters, doesn't imply anything about the plot or how explicit any scenes will be. So then, why should it be branded as 'gay fiction'?

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  9. Wow I didn't know they would ask people to change their story. I guess the world isn't as "tolerant" as it would like for its inhabitants to believe.

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  10. Guess not, but that's why these stories are important. We claim to celebrate differences but often when faced with something 'different' we freak out.

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  12. I had never heard of this but can't say I'm all that surprised. Sadly, there are still way too many people in the world who are uncomfortable with homosexuality. If I had written the story as MM or FF though, I wouldn't change it to MF just to suit the publisher. Stay true to your story.

    P.S. Patricia, I've given you an award. :)

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  13. Thanks for both the comment and the award Rachel. I gave you one back in my latest post! lol

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  14. Ok I have a Bi character who is very in love with MC- gets her other love interest drunk, seduces him - and feels no remorse at all - nor does Mc freak when she discovers why other love interest has been avoiding her, cause he is feeling all this stuff about what occured - (Bi-guy does not lie to her and has been forthcoming on his inability to be faithful - this is just the first time she really is confronted with his activity)

    "You What?"
    He raises an eyebrow and asks "Is that a problem?"
    MC laughs and says - "Only if you did it against his will" she turns to mortified character and asks "Did he?"
    He drops his eyes and shakes his head.
    She tilts her head confused "Was he unkind to you in any way?"
    "No"
    "Then what is your damned problem - you have had me terrified it was something serious!"

    So - I don't know if they will fly or not - but OMG these characters are so fun to write. Hopefully - the fact they are older than modern religion - and are not human - will be a small escape clause......cause they are based on the behavior of ancient gods of egypt - and those are some really shocking tales....grin.

    It's funny you are in the middle of your own little subject here - you should stop on buy and read my post on the condom police. It might give you a giggle!

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  15. HowLynn my gay characters are quite fun to write as well.

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