Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hop Against Homophobia: Why Did This Suburban Mom "Go Gay"?

Thanks for hopping, er, stopping here as a part of the Hop Against Homophobia weekend!

I don't have a well-structured discourse ready and honestly there are many people who are a part of this Hop who have amazing, heartwrenching, meaningful and inspiring stories to share, so I won't even try to go there. You can find the mission of the event on the main site. Instead, here are a few things personal to me that I have thoughts on.

I grew up in a very conservative household on the face of it. Dad was a career military officer, Mom an old-school homemaker from the Midwest. We lived in the 'burbs my entire life, and most of the people I knew were pretty much the same as us. But Dad was (looking back on it) a very open-minded and accepting man. He was a "people-person" and a very positive thinker, and I'm sure that's how his live-and-let-live philosophy was formed. I'm grateful that he passed along his tolerant mindset to my brother and me, and I have a feeling that if he'd still been alive when I began writing, my choice of genre wouldn't faze him in the slightest (though I'd probably have initially gotten "the eyebrow"...another thing he passed along to me).

The question I'm asked most often about those I know in real life boils down to this: Why did I "go gay"? It's a good question, and one I've tried to get to the root of. The first manuscript I wrote was het, the second was a MMF menage, and the third--my first published--(and on and on after that) was MM. I had a much easier time writing my male characters and liked them much more than female ones. I think part of it was that I was always judging my female characters against myself. In any case, if writing men came easily, why not write two male leads? The rest is history.

The second most popular question is, how do I write gay love scenes?'s called an imagination and creativity. And a little bit of "research", I'll admit. But really, to me it's no different than writing a character who is an athlete, even though I've never been one. Or writing a story whose characters live in a large, urban center, even though I never have.

I have two school-age daughters and I'm in the odd (to me) position of making sure to "normalize" GLBTQ relationships to them. I honestly don't get why some people are so against something that has no bearing on their own life. Anyway, so I try to make sure to include same-sex pronouns or examples of things from time to time. I'm sure they'll get enough het input from society as a whole without me adding to it.

I had a moment where I wondered if I'd failed in this when we were in line for the Matterhorn at Disneyland last year behind an adorable gay couple (Nicholas and Eric) who smooched and cuddled while they waited, to my (at the time) 8 year old's evident dismay, judging by her staring and "hmph"ing and eye-rolling. I finally got the nerve to ask her what was wrong. She pointed right at them and replied, "They both get hats with their names on them and I know if I ask you for one, you're going to say no."

Apparently the only thing wrong with what she was watching up-close for 40 minutes was that they got cool hats and she didn't.

As a parent, I can live with that.


I'd love to give away a choice of ebook and some GRL 2011 swag to a commenter! Who knows what might be in the box, but it'll be fun to see! :) Thanks for hopping by and after you comment, go HERE to find links to all the stops.