Tag Archives: LGBTQ

WIP The Cost of Belonging

#writerwednesday This is from the first chapter of my WIP, the Cost of Belonging. The year is 1783, the place, a village called Lesser Blackwater in England. Gabe’s a blacksmith and a virgin who’s come to terms within himself that he desires men instead of women. Eliot has 2 secrets to hide from the world: he’s gay and he’s a vampire. The two have planned to slip up to Eliot’s room at the Duck and Swan shortly so that Eliot can teach him a few things. But things don’t always go as planned. They’ve had to go back to the smithy to see to “Da” as they call Gabe’s father, who’s taken rather too much medicine. The others believe Draven has attacked Da. Gabe’s little sister Jennie is the “she.”

She nodded mutely, cutting her gaze between her father and the horse.
Gabe followed her line of sight and then noted his brother and a couple of village men were quietly picking up sharp tools. “Here, Nate, you lads, none of that. The horse ain’t touched him. You can see that.”
“’Tis a stallion, Gabe. There be no telling what the great monster mought do. We’m’ll stand ready when you must approach it.”
“You’re daft, Nate. The horse will not hurt me. Eliot, you see to my father, and I’ll see to making sure Draven’s taken proper care of.”
“We’ll take care of it, Gabe, just you see if we don’t,” Nate snarled.
Gabe moved between the others and the horse. “Eliot?”
“Aye, Gabe. Perhaps your brother and his friends could help me with Mr. Rodgers, since Draven doesn’t seem to trouble you.”
“A smith troubled by a stallion?” Gabe spat. “I know how to handle all manner of beasts. I can ring the nose of a full-grown bull and come away unscathed, so I reckon I can get a right well-behaved stallion settled into a decent stall, away from the heat and noise.”
Eliot nodded and scooped the old man into his arms, standing easily, as if he were carrying a child. “I believe you. Now, Miss, the privy, if you please, and the water? And if you lads would come along of me, I would appreciate it. We’ll need to walk him around after he’s vomited the stuff up.”
Gabe was already clucking softly to the horse. Eliot stopped at the smithy door and said, “When I’ve seen to your father, I’ll come back and check on Draven, if you please.”
“Aye. I’ll shoe your horse in the morning. The old man’s let the fire near go out.”
“Of course.” Eliot turned and left, with the small crowd trailing along behind him.
“Damn,” Gabe muttered to Draven. “I was looking forward to—”
“Father will be all right, won’t he?” Jennie, the youngest, asked him from the shadows.
“I reckon so, Little Jig. Mr. Eliot’s a fine man.” Gabe tried to calm his racing heart. Jennie had no need to know she’d startled him almost clean out of his mind. To say nothing of what would have happened if he’d finished his sentence.
“Aye, he is.” She moved closer.
“Aren’t you afraid of Draven?”
“Why should I be? He’s just a horse.”
He smiled at the sister who looked so much like him, unlike the stouter siblings who looked more like their father, more nearly blond and hazel-eyed. “Aye, you’ve always had a good head about you, Jennie. Bring me a halter, will you? He’s pulling at these ropes and tearing his mouth with the bit. The old man should have taken the bridle off.”
Gabe laid a hand on Draven’s neck. “There, pretty boy, there. ’Tis all right, you can trust me. Your master’s me friend.”
Jennie handed the halter to him. “A bit more than friend, you’d like him to be, I’ll be bound.”

Yes, Erin, You ARE An Activist

My friend, Erin O’Quinn (who’s also a writer, and straight) and I were talking the other day and I mentioned Polari Magazine to her, since she writes MM erotica, some of it set in the early years of the twentieth century and featuring the use of the Polari dialect. She immediately said she needed to be more ‘immersed than in silly romcoms’ (romantic comedy) because she truly believes all people are equal, or should be.  That started a train of thought. (She should know better than to get me thinking, but ….)

She doesn’t realize, as many people outside the LGBTQ [add letters as you see fit] community don’t, that not everything has to be dead serious or political to be a “weapon of war” in the fight for equality. As long as we in “the family” are seen as Other, as different, somehow strange and alien, there will be no equality. Equality is for, well, equals. [Note: in the following paragraphs, I use “us” to mean “society” in general.]

It was all right for Hitler to round up the Jews because they were Other, “not like us”. He wasn’t hurting us. He was ridding us of a threat, a group of people who weren’t quite … people … and who were therefore a threat to all that good, decent folk hold dear. And even if the ovens weren’t really all right, the ghettos were, because they protected us somehow.

It was all right for the KKK to lynch African Americans, because they were Other, “not like us”. They weren’t coming for us. They were ridding us of a threat, a group of people who weren’t quite … people … and who were therefore a threat to all that good, decent folk hold dear. And even if lynching wasn’t really all right, segregation was, because it protected us somehow.

It is all right for the haters, those like Westboro Baptist, to bully, to beat, to criminalize, to deny the LGBTQ community because they are Other, “not like us.” They aren’t bullying and beating and denying us. They are standing for righteousness, ridding us of a threat, a group of people who aren’t quite … people … and who are therefore a threat to all that good, decent folk hold dear. And even if beating isn’t really all right, discrimination is, because it protects us somehow.

When the concentration camps were liberated, and the mass graves found to contain human beings, when there were faces peering back through the barbed wire fences, faces attached to people, by god, people with eyes and arms and toes and hunger and children and dreams that looked just like our eyes and arms and toes and hunger and children and dreams; when the ropes were cut and the trees yielded their grisly fruit, fruit with eyes and arms and toes and hunger and children and dreams that looked just like our eyes and arms and toes and hunger and children and dreams — the “threat” was revealed for what it was: the cowardly grasping fear of a group who had no reason to fear.

When the Matthew Shepards are cut from the fence line, when the graffiti is scrubbed from the porch belonging to the quiet couple in their fifties, when the weeping woman is freed from the cell for trespassing in the house she lived in for twenty years with her lover, when the muck and filth flung by those who find selfhood in hatred is cleared away — the “threat” is revealed for what it is: the same cowardly grasping fear of a group who has no reason to fear.

Every word that Erin writes, that Nya Rawlyns writes, that the many others who write “silly MM (or FF) romcoms” write, every damned word is a revelation of the fact that we are all alike. Gay men and women (use whatever term you like), bisexual, transgendered, queer, asexual men and women (and all the other possibilities) are no different from the rest of society. We want what everyone else wants. Life. Love. A chance to be happy.

Gay men especially suffer from the perception that sex is all they are interested in. This is simply not true. Is sex important to gay men? Sure. Is it important to straight men? Sure. Is it all straight men want? Perhaps at times, yes; but as the overarching drive of their lives? No. Absofuckinglutely not.

And neither is it for gay men. Every “silly romcom” that shows gay men looking for, and finding, love as well as sex proves the haters wrong. We don’t need fewer MM romcoms. We need more. To quote a wise songwriter:

You’d think that people would
Have had enough of silly love songs
But I look around me and I see it isn’t so
Some people wanna fill the world with silly love songs
And what’s wrong with that?

[Paul McCartney, “Silly Love Songs”]

Erin and Nya — you ARE activists. Never doubt it. Not for an instant.

(Books by Erin O’Quinn and Nya Rawlyns, individually and as a team, can be found on Amazon. Links to those books placed in the comments would be welcomed.)