Allies and Objects ~ Sunday Spotlight by Brandilyn

Yep, I am totally going there…

Recently, there was a rant posted about the objectifying of gay men within the genre and among the “Allies”. I am one of those allies. I have been for a few years now. Do I get out and volunteer at LGBTQ Shelters or go to PFLAG meetings? No, I do not. For one thing, I am not entirely sure my city HAS an LGBTQ shelter or PFLAG branch. I am sure there are some in the nearest major city, but I am in the middle of nowhere outside the city. Secondly, I have three small children, so when I am not driving them to their activities, helping with homework, playing with them, cleaning up their messes, etc (stop laughing darling husband), I am reading or blogging.

You know what else I am doing this entire time? I am being an ally. I am teaching my children that different is not only NOT WRONG that “different” is not something that even needs to be pointed out. It is not something that needs to matter. I am teaching them that it is okay for men to love men and women to love women. I am teaching them that what matters is that there is love, not the form that love comes in. I am teaching them that not everyone looks like you, dresses like you, or lives like you.

I am proudly wearing my Gay Romance shirt anywhere and everywhere. When I put it on in the morning, I do not think about where I am going that day. Though I will admit, I get a special thrill when I realize I am wearing it on days that I am going to the kids’ various activities, and will be around soccer moms with superiority complexes. For me, it is just part of life, and I want to make it part of other’s. I have been told “thank you” for wearing it and supporting.  I have been glared at.  I have been given the “side-eye”. I have been pushed out of my daughter’s Girl Scout troop (of which I was a co-leader) and had my position on the community board threatened for wearing it. It has not stopped me, and I will wear the NoH8 shirt, that should be here Tuesday, just as proudly.

Are there other things I could be doing? I am sure there are. Once my kids are all in school, I might have some time to do more things in the community. One of the things I do, however, is this blog. Yes, it is fun, but I also think it is important. There is a debate in the Gay Romance genre about women in Gay Romance. I am not going to get into that debate, what I will say it that this genre is important to more than just the out and proud gay community. It is a way to raise awareness of LGBTQ causes. It is a way to let teenagers struggling with their self image and sexuality know that they are not alone. It is a way to make people realize that gay men and women are just people. Honestly, I do not read this genre for the sex scenes (I know, gasp!). I read it for the stories, the love, and the friends I have made. I do not care whom they are sleeping with. What I care about is that they are genuinely nice people I want to meet and call friends.

My children are 2, 4, and 6. They nor I know what they will be in 10, 15 or 20 years. What I do know is that when they reach an age when attraction starts to form, if that attraction HAPPENS to be for the same gender, I want them to understand, deep in their bones, that I am going to be okay with it. I want them to understand, without words, that whom they love doesn’t matter. If all three turn out to love someone of the opposite gender, okay. I still want them to understand that their classmate, friend, roommate, or person on the street deserves friendship, respect, and love for whom they are not whom the love. In short, I want it not to MATTER.

Do I say “love”, “sweet”, or “aww” when I see a loving picture of a gay couple? Yes, I do. It is not because I am fetishizing them. It is not because I am turned on by it. It is not because I am trying to objectify them. It is because I see the love and affection in the picture.

Do I post pics of cute and adorable gay couples? Yes, I do. I do it for a couple of reasons. One, my followers and readers like to see them. Okay, that is a little objectifying there. That being said, if I wrote a het romance blog, I would post adorable het couples just as readily. Secondly, there is a desensitization factor involved. The more people see LGBTQ persons and couples in every day, “normal”, loving situations the less alarmed they will be by it.

I will never claim to know what it is like to live as a gay man or woman. I do, however, know what it is like to struggle with that identity and that fear.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

Brandilyn
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Prism Book Alliance® assumes no liability for the ownership of photos or content used in guest posts and interviews.  The post author assumes all responsibility and liability for this content.

34 thoughts on “Allies and Objects ~ Sunday Spotlight by Brandilyn

  1. Great post Brandilyn!! I agree with everything, and sounds like me to a degree. I do read for the sex as well as the relationships. I enjoy it, but I don’t see it as objectifying; I read het romances for the same reasons. It shows a level of intimacy and conection as well as giving a little “thrill”, for lack of a better word. I don’t see it as objectifying because I still see the characters as people within the relationship, not just things getting off.

  2. Soooo glad you went there! So glad to have you as an ally, and simply as another human in this world. And I fully agree with everything you said, even the parts about posting cute pictures of gay men–one, not offensive; two, the desensitization factor is huge. There have been many strong and wonderful men in this world that have helped me as a gay man. However, it was women who were the ones who were strong and wonderful first. It was them that allowed me their strength so that I could come out and know that I would not be completely alienated. And, from a writing perspective, after years of rejections (from gay, male publishers), it was a straight female who said, “I love your writing. I will publish your books. I believe in you.”
    One of the things that drives me the most insane about my community (we gays), is that we have a tendency to look for reasons to be easily offended (I’m guilty too), and we often attack our allies when they aren’t exactly like us or think exactly the way we do. Even this statement is a gross over- simplification. Unfortunately, the few that complain are typically the loudest.
    So thank you, to this strong woman who dreamed up Prism, to the devoted female readers of M/M novels, to the empowering female friends who gave me the strength to be honest, and to my brave mother who is terrified of what it means for my soul that I am gay, but has only shown constant love for her son. Thank you!

  3. Thanks for this post. These are many of the feelings that I identify as the same as my own. I would go further and say that all of us love to look at the beautiful human body. No matter the gender or sexuality. If I post a photo of a sexy man, I don’t care if he is gay or straight, I like to look at him. That is not objectifying gay men, just men in general. Something that men have done to women for centuries. How many of the masters painted naked men? Not nearly as many as painted naked women!

    My son is 16 and surrounded by homophobic little pricks. He is straight, but it takes constant effort on my part to undermine the constant homophobia his friends and classmates spout off as if it were nothing. When he was 13, a friend of his who was openly gay hung himself. We had spent a lot of time talking about this boy and his sexuality prior to his death and even more after. When I chaperoned a class trip and this boy was in my group, I reprimanded all the kids for calling him homophobic slurs. If the allies don’t work hard to make the next generation of straight kids accept gay men and women, who will?

  4. Last week I had dinner with my in-laws and their extended family. During dinner my brother-in-law started going off about the gay couple who moved in to the house across the street. This statement was followed by most of them going on about how disgusting it was, and started down a path of close-minded bigotry that soured my stomach.
    Maybe a few years ago I would have sat in silence, keeping my mouth shut and head down. But mostly due to my love of M/M Romance I have very strong convictions that give me strength to say something. I sat and quietly explained how I felt, and why, and then debated with them for some time before the discussion finally ended. A few of them even agreed that I had some valid points and were surprised I was such an avid supporter of gay rights. This I explained was because no one should have to hide who they are because of who they love. That was wrong.
    My husband’s family are basically very nice people, but I doubt anyone has ever had the guts to say the things to them that I did.
    Do I like to look at pictures of hot men hugging and kissing? Hell yeah. Maybe that is objectifying them, but it’s also tearing down some boundaries and stigmas that say it’s okay for two men to be intimate. The straight women who read M/M Romance are allies to the LGTB community. I can personally think of 9 people right now who will think twice the next time they see a gay couple. I went out on a limb with my family to share my convictions and my beliefs. Maybe I am an objectifier, but I am also an ally, and frankly you couldn’t have a much better ally than me. I am fierce.

    • Awesome, Paisley. I’ve done the same with people in my family, as well. Not shy about it. No one should have to go through life worrying about who they love being something other people will treat them badly for. No one.

  5. I’ve already been called all kinds of things for publicly disagreeing with that post. But I will say that the number of comments like “is it okay to say he’s cute?” or “I’m afraid to even look at these pictures now” that I’ve gotten on things I’ve posted in the last two days is disheartening. I have a lot of friends who happen to be gay, and I can tell you that most love being noticed as attractive. They post selfies, they trade pics of guys they find hot, and they don’t have hangups about it.

    Is he entitled to speak his mind on his own Facebook page? Absolutely he is. But he’s not entitled to call an entire segment of our community asses because they don’t agree with him, and he should expect to get a heated response when he does. Most of the people who talked to me about it were afraid of the repercussions of posting a comment on that post. They didn’t want to disagree with the favorite authors. So, it falls to us to speak for them.

    I will post what I want. I will promote who I want. I will express my interest the beauty and color and light that our community has – whether that’s through pictures of hot guys kissing, hot girls kissing, or a transgender kid spreading their wings for the first time.

    And, to Brandilyn, I say – PREACH IT SISTER. <3

  6. Everyone should have that same philosophy and your children are lucky, lucky kids! Bravo! As for the objectification issue, if the individual consented to the photo and We can admire it for what it is, so much the better. Seriously, the world needs to see more of any kind of love and affection, be it gay, lesbian, transgende, bisexual or straight…We are all in it together.

  7. I stand with everyone above. I’m proud to class myself an ally, that doesn’t stop me finding pictures of men in love, lust or friendship a pleasure to look at. Someone needs to Get a Grip.

  8. Ah, now I see. Where to start? An ally is not a street fighter; an ally is someone who understands, or tries to, and is there to support and defend and make it clear to the world that gay folk (all LGBTQ folk) are not alone.

    That’s really all you need to do. Be present in your heart and mind. If you don’t have gay kids, you don’t need to really get involved in PFLAG. You don’t need to march in parades. Most gay people don’t do that either, remember. Most of us have jobs, and many of us now have children.

    All the straight women who write m/m fiction are allies; while they may romanticize our lives, they truly seek to find the truth that makes the romance resonate. While they may have a distinct preference for hot men on their covers (which is, after all, merely a marketing technique, and one that works), to point an accusing finger and cry “objectifier!” is overdramatic and beside the point. If m/m books are going to reach their market, they must use whatever tools work to sell a book in this digital world.

    All the readers of m/m fiction are allies, whether or not they set foot outside their houses or show any public support of gay folk. They are allies because they are part of a cultural shift that recognizes the emotional value and validity of love between two men. You have no idea what an enormous that one fact is. In that validation lies the crux of every anti-gay argument ever written in the past 2000 years. If two men can truly love each other as a man and a woman do “traditionally,” then all prejudice against them becomes moot.

    Gay men and women have understood that from the first time any of us first put pen to paper to acknowledge that we existed and that we deserved happiness.

    I can bitch and moan plenty about things in the m/m fiction world; but there is no question that all of the writers and readers of this fiction are allies, and they are allies simply for doing so. Your presence in the world, my awareness of your presence, is a warm, loving reminder that all of my struggles have triumphed. With every ally, there is one less enemy.

  9. I commented on the original post, and I think some of it has been taken out of context. What the OP was unhappy about was the fact that there are SOME people who go out of their way to ‘collect’ gay men. What started that post was another post about an article in the Huffpo about why straight men need to have ‘gay best friends’. It’s something he’s seen before and it upsets him that there is an undeniable segment of the population who consider sexuality before personality.

    That feeling is emphasised when he sees people separating their LGBT-friendly accounts from their real-life identities, when those of us who are LGBT don’t have that luxury. We are our sexuality, but it can feel sometimes like that’s all we are to some people. I don’t think anybody has the right to tell him when he can or cannot feel used, fetishised, stereotyped, or ‘collected’ because of his sexuality.

    Does that mean everybody does that, or makes him (or any of us) feel that way? No. Was he getting at specific individuals? No. He is one of the first and loudest to defend our allies and to argue that we shouldn’t attack people for getting something wrong because they have a different life experience. Something I blogged about myself only a few weeks ago.

    As I briefly mentioned on the OP, and perhaps should have made more of, what we were discussing there was not the need for LGBT acceptance, but rather the terms of that acceptance. That alone is a hugely positive thing. I’m a great believer in open discussions about difficult subjects, and the OP was, for the most part, an interesting and enlightening thread. Not everybody is always going to agree or see things the same way, but can’t we all be adult enough to at least agree to disagree and still keep the dialogue open?

    • Kate, I whole heartedly agree with everything you just said. I hope this post doesn’t make you think otherwise.

      I was part of the discussion of the OP’s post about the Huff Post article. I think my initial reaction (and my more thought out reaction) to that was something along the lines of What the ever-loving fuck? I also think I said much of this stuff in that thread.

      As for the OP of which you spoke, I can empathize with where he is coming from and I am not disputing or discounting his feelings or those of anyone who participated in that that thread. I think a lot of good points were had on both sides. I think the initial presentation put people off and caused many of those points to be overlooked. I also think that, though it was only directed at a few, the presentation really didn’t establish that clearly.

      Regardless of the original intention, I think something VERY important has come out of this shit storm. It has caused me and many other allies to reevaluate our motivations and actions. That is what this post is about. I have said bits and pieces of this time and again, but this weekend and last night it all kind of melded into this.

      • Absolutely not. Believe me when I say our community needs, values, and appreciates allies like you. The vast, vast majority of the m/m readership are allies, and we would be nowhere without them. Believe me, we are eternally grateful, not only as writers (those of us who are) but all of us who are LGBT.

        The post which sparked this whole discussion was born of frustration that had been building for weeks if not months, so maybe it was abrasively worded, but when people are hurt they lash out.

        I wish we could have a more full and frank discussion of this subject, because I think it’s important for both sides to have their opinions heard precisely in order to prevent the situation we now find ourselves in. Right now I think anything further is only going to inflame this debate, not add to it.

  10. This is a great post Brandilyn, thank you for saying what you did. I think a lot of people were shocked and hurt, most of all, to think that people we consider friends on FB maybe felt towards us(straight) the way it was being thrown out there. I don’t feel it is right for someone to sit back and make judgements, such as the ones made, when you don’t know everything people do in their everyday personal life. I feel that what we, on a daily basis, are trying to discourage with bad impressions and false information was literally turned back around and thrown on us. To be told to get off my computer and stop reading m/m and do something productive was a great insult to me. Even though this post was not directly aimed at me, it was aimed against the people who are allies and I consider myself an ally as well but that suddenly was brought into question, maybe I am not what I thought. I donate to homeless shelters for LBGT, buy clothes for the winter, donate to TJ and Eric every chance I get so they can concentrate on being together and not worry towards bills so much. I have a nephew being bullied for his gay tendencies and who has tried to commit suicide more than once. Did the poster, throwing accusations, know any of that?…NO, but I don’t think he was concerned either. I live in a very homophobic state and I am constantly throwing out facts and support when it is close to me. I don’t like when people are hypocritical in their actions and insults. When people like to cast stones at others when they are not always on the up and up either, hiding behind other people instead of standing up for what is right and your true self. I don’t think when pictures are presented for viewing and it contains two guys kissing or embraced arm and arm that that is fetish in any regards. People are moved and inspired by these pictures as it portrays what so many people lack and that is love. What is wrong in expressing delight and approval when you are looking at pictures that support love and acceptance. I agree with you, as well, the more pictures that are shown of two men kissing, holding hands, whatever, it soon becomes the norm and is not a shock any longer, and to me, that is only a good thing. There has been a lot of hurt feelings over this post and false accusations made and I only hope that most people do not feel as they are being treated as puppies. I hope they know that we love and support everything about them and that we are in their corner.

  11. Couldn’t agree with you more woman. When it comes to being an ally I think for us moms the starting point is our home, our children, the new generation. If my child learns that people being born one way or another is not something right or wrong but simply is, then they will have a new way of living their lives, interacting with people and affecting their environment.
    If my children a desensitized to watching all kind of couples, they won’t feel it’s “unnatural” for gay/lesbian couple to exist, therefore they will not be the cruel to any different people as they grow up.
    Most importantly, when my kids reach the age that they find their sexuality, they will know beyond the shadow of a doubt that whatever they turn out to be attracted at, they will be loved by their family and have no reason to feel fear or alone.

  12. I agree 110%! I too am a straight married woman with two children. I value love that’s real and believe that no one has the right to judge another person based on the person(or persons) that they love.

    Anyone who knows me at all knows that I LOVE pictures; they really can be worth a thousand words. I also appreciate a little eye candy no what gender or combination the subjects are. 😀

    If I see a picture that touches my emotions by making me smile, cry, laugh, or impacts me in another way, I appreciate that. I’ll go ahead and like or leave a comment as long as the intent of the post does not seem to be negative.

    I am of the opinion that if people don’t want their images to generate a response they should either use their privacy settings or post nothing at all.

    I’m not stupid. We all have different tastes, opinions and impressions. Two people can look at the same image and have completely opposite responses. That just makes them unique, not wrong. I live in Minnesota, where same-sex marriage just recently allowed. My children are very aware that I did what I could to get that vote passed. I do the best I can to teach them tolerance, acceptance, and to value equality.

    It saddens me to see something like even be an issue, because we should ALL know better.

  13. Very good post. This debate comes up approximately once a year. It annoys the hell out of me because I’m trying to do good with my books as I like to focus on issues facing the guys (usually related to homophobia). Sure, there’s sex in some of them, but if I was writing het romance there’d be sex in it too (it’s a romance book, people, and in romances the people usually look pretty and they sometimes have explicit sex – the fact that tons of other people are writing gay men having sex isn’t my fault and doesn’t mean I can’t write it).

    Do I objectify men? Sometimes on Facebook, when I see a hot guy, I’ll comment on it. If that’s objectifying then I’m guilty, just like tons of other men and women out there who appreciate a nicely built body. This isn’t isolated to M/M readers. I don’t post those photos myself because of copyright issues, but I like to look at them when others post them. Most of the guys are models who have their pictures taken for people to oooh and aaaw over anyway, so I don’t see the harm (they’re usually not my type though, if I met them in real life). I don’t, however, run into the next room and get off on the photo, just like I don’t do with books, even if they’re heavy in the sex department.

    Believe it or not, but I actually do know what it is to be in the closet about something. In Iceland, this situation of mine is looked down upon way worse than being LGBT. If people knew, they’d start whispering, judging me, and I’d be the talk of the town like other people in my situation. My kids would suffer too because there’s a stigma surrounding this that would affect them. I proudly tell people that I write M/M books, but I keep that other secret a secret. I know the anxiety that surrounds it whenever people are getting too close to the truth. I feel ashamed of being in this situation because society has taught me that you’re a second class citizen if you ever go there. I like to write books about homophobia, and this secret of mine is what I channel as I write. Being LGBT isn’t the only thing people keep in the closet, so the claim that hetero women don’t know what they’re writing about is invalid. Also, don’t get me started on the “Women can’t write plausible men” nonsense. Female writers are as different as they are many. Some write excellent male characters while others don’t, just like some men write excellent female characters while others don’t. You can’t put us all under one umbrella, because that would be like putting all LGBT people under one umbrella and make a big claim about them as a whole. It’s unfair and it’s unfounded.

    I don’t know if it’s jealousy or what that makes this discussion pop up every year, but people need to just back off and mind their own business.

  14. Told you privately, Brandilyn, I think this is a great post as well. I’m glad to see rational discussion again – makes me very happy! Obviously, a lot of feelings were hurt, but hopefully we can all learn something from this. I really hope that no one boycotts an author’s work based on FB or Twitter posts made in the heat of the moment. I think we’ve all either hit “like” or commented immediately on a friend’s post without really thinking through all the different ways that “like” or comment could be interpreted by others. (Another lesson we’ve all no-doubt learned). I hope that, unlike the current US political parties (because this whole thing reminds me SO much of that), we CAN put our differences aside and focus instead on what unites us. We ARE all allies – some more active and public than others – but we all want the same thing in the end.

  15. Great post. As a woman, a mother, an ally and an author, it saddens me to see the community coming to blows over this. I am the mother of a small child, but I am someone who does go to rallies and volunteer, etc. But just teaching the next generation about unconditional love and acceptance is a way to be an ally.

  16. Friends, listen to me and hear me. ((Sorry for the dramatic introduction but I’ve always wanted to use that in a book. ))

    Look, here we are back at the same damn problem again. Perception. And its a mutha.

    Okay look, we’re all in this boat together. But I think sometimes the ‘allies’ can offend those who they are allying for.

    Back in the 1970’s the gay movement had signs that read, “We’re here, we’re queer, and we’re not going anywhere.” Today, the battle cry has changed to, we’re the same. We want mortgages, families, marriage, adoption rights, so on and so forth and sometimes, the hyeprfocus on sex and sexuality, aggrivates an already contentious issue inside the gay community itself.

    We’re in a period, right now, where our community is policing itself and moving the focus away from sex to more mundane things. Bills, lawn mowers, PTA’s. And we want the conversation to go with it. Yes, we have sex. Gay sex, in fact.

    But just as you have your whole lives to deal with, kids, carpools, and so forth, we do too.

    I take my job seriously as a gay writer, to not only write good fiction, but to talk about issues gay men have where we are right now. I want the world to look back and say, okay, that’s the conversation that was going on when the world was a little less free. Just like African American Literature, Women’s literature, Native American and so on. And I am sure all you writers out there want your touch of that same immortality but bear in mind, being gay is not a novelty.

    Its real.

    Sometimes our sexuality is used as high fantasy like glittering vampires and sexy werewolves.

    We’re real. And even though porn stars are what people percieve our lives to be, that too is high fantasy.

    We roll over and snore. We have headaches. We bitch about the grocery bill and the price of gas.

    We’re people. Fat, skinny, buff, with insecurities and dreams, hopes, and ambition. Just like you.

    As an Allie of women, I am a huge feminist. I think women play second fiddle to a lot they shouldn’t. I believe in equal pay, I believe dominion over your own bodies, and I believe in a woman’s right to self determination. To me, your human.

    Over the next few months and even years, this conversation is going to continue. And it needs to. We’ve been a society too long in the dark, accepting the darkness like a blanket. Gay people are coming out to the light now, and the community is evolving. Let’s give it some room. We have a lot of catching up to do.

    Respectfully yours,

    Freddie.

    • I agree with you on a lot of what you said, Freddie. However, writers fantasize about hetero couples as well. In fact, the majority of romance novels feature hetero couples, as glittery vampires and sexy werewolves and more. There’s a plethora of fans of these books out there and when they find “our books” featuring gay couples, they learn about more than just gay sex. They learn about issues facing gay men as that is very often a part of the story plot/problem. The sex is a fantasy, sure, but so is hetero sex. I think it would defeat the purpose of equality to say that we can write about hetero sex but not gay sex.

      I’d just like to point out that I don’t write about glittery vampires or sexy werewolves (at least not yet), I just wanted to point out that not being allowed to write about them is unfair. Besides, there are gay men writing these gay erotic romances and gay erotica, too, so why always the debate on women writing it? I’m sorry, but I’m not going to sugarcoat it: It comes off as jealousy and/or entitlement (I’ve been watching this debate for years). Heavy emphasis on sex or not, with the hundreds of M/M books being published every year, it’s a step in the right direction. The better the exposure of this literature, the more people will notice. The majority of romance readers are women and we’re educating our kids about equality, we’re joining causes, donating money and fighting for justice in many other ways. I think people need to focus less on the “women shouldn’t write gay sex” and look at the bigger picture. I see this as a kind of a team effort in the battle, because although a part of the gay community is now only concerned about mortgages, lawnmowers and bills, a huge part – old and young – is also facing discrimination, violence, ostracism and other inequality. As long as teenagers and adults are still being kicked out of their homes for being gay, there is need for enlightenment and I see these books as a big help to the cause.

      Did you know that a lot of women who write and read these books are also discriminated against? Some can’t tell their families because they’ll be ostracized, some can’t tell their bosses because they’ll get fired. Some can’t even tell their best friends. But you know what? These women continue to write and read anyway.

      Finally, what I’ve written above isn’t directed at you personally. Looks like my post turned into a rant, but only because I’m so sick of having to defend my writing against the people I’m actually trying to help! Still, no matter if they continue to complain (and yes, in the past these are mostly gay male authors who feel that the female authors are stepping on their turf/market), I won’t stop writing these books. Sex or not, I believe these books are doing the world good.

      • Just to clarify, before someone jumps down my throat, those gay male authors I spoke about were just a few, but they were loud and caused a lot of damage within what was otherwise a peaceful and friendly writing community.

      • Erica, the original post had NOTHING to do with women writing m/m. It was just one guy venting on his own wall about the way *some* women make him feel like he’s being collected, a trophy on their shelf, because of his sexuality. Then it got blown out of all proportion. And, FWIW, the gay men (including authors) who commented on his thread before it blew up all said they’d experienced exactly the same thing.

        • I wasn’t there for the beginning of this discussion, but regardless of how it started it wound up yet another “straight women writing M/M” or should I say “straight women fetishizing gay men through writing” on other social channels. There seems to have been at least three different types of discussions going on all at once. Granted, this is my very hot do-not-touch button, because I’ll flare up when people even mention women writing gay romances. I can be hotheaded like that when something is close to my heart, just like I’ll flare up and jump to the defense of any person (LGBT or not), that I feel is being discriminated against, in a second with the same ferocity. I spend a lot of time trying to come up with logical and common sense replies to people who speak against LGBT on online news sites, even though it feels like I’m I’m trying to put out a forest fire with a small bucket. I’m opinionated and I’m not going to apologize for it. It’s what makes me a valuable ally.

          I’m not saying that gay men other than those few authors I talked about don’t and shouldn’t feel the way they do. They feel what they feel and that’s just how it is. But it still doesn’t change the fact that I hate it when my integrity, my reasons for writing what I write, is called into question when what I write genuinely comes from my heart and are written with best intentions. I hate being lumped into a group of “straight women writing gay romance,” which, judging by some people, is a negative thing. I feel discriminated against and when I feel discriminated against I stand up and say something about it. Sometimes I take things too much to heart when they’re not talking about me specifically, but if anyone knows what it’s like to be marginalized, you’d think it would be the members of the gay romance community who say that women shouldn’t be writing gay romances. I get those old feelings of injustice I got all those times I was bullied in the past. The men who feel feishized have every right to express how they feel, but it doesn’t mean I have to stay quiet about how I feel, especially if I feel like I’ve been wronged.

          So, this has turned into another rant that is NOT directed at you, Kate. It’s just, you know, a hot button that I promised I wouldn’t push a few minutes ago in my Facebook status -.- Okay, I’m done now with this discussion and will try my best to stay away from it in the future.

  17. Really great post and some really great points brought up in everyone’s responses. As a lot of people have said perception is a big part of how people perceive things/information. Objectification happens among a spectrum of people not just the glbt community. It something everyone does even if they may think they haven’t. It really shouldn’t be a big deal where and what allies think as long as the end goal is reached. You don’t have to like a person (or their reactions or thoughts) to work with them. So what if gay couples maybe seen as cute? Straight couples, the elderly, and kids are also seen as cute. Let’s not forget about pets too. If it gets people together to fight for a cause, the reason they’re doing it shouldn’t be a concern, just be comforted to know that they’re trying to help make a change too.

  18. ugh, I have been away from the internet most of this weekend, and just logged on to see some of the fallout from that post on facebook! Sad. Anyway, I was going to blog about it, as well, but I thought maybe that would just make things worse. So instead, I’ll just say here that I hope none of my comments on that post caused any offense.
    I do sometimes have a problem with the kind of self-congratulatory ally-pride that shows up in my facebook feed. I think of myself as an ally, but I don’t feel particularly proud of it. Honestly I feel like being an ally is the bare minimum that any decent person would do. But I know there are many many people who are not allies, and who are in fact open haters, and I know that being a visible ally is important. Not only to show support to LGBT but also to show non-support of those haters.
    I guess what I mean is, the point of proclaiming oneself an ally is not to be proud of yourself, it is to be visible to others. To show someone who may be going through a tough time that you are there to support them, that they are not alone. But so often it gets turned around into something that is about the ally, when it shouldn’t be. And that was part of what I was trying to say in my comments on facebook.
    As far as the fetishization or the “collecting” of cute gay couples, I think that most of that original post was blown way out of proportion. Whatever any of our views, that poster is entitled to his. He was simply stating his feelings. Something (or many things? I don’t know) happened to make him feel that way. Whether or not it was intentional is irrelevant. When someone tells you that your actions hurt them, you can either get angry and defensive, or talk rationally and discuss the issue. In the end, it doesn’t matter who is right or wrong, it just matters how we treat each other.
    Thanks for a nice post, Brandilyn. <3 to you

  19. Wonderful post Brandilyn, I agree with every point of it. Your children are very lucky to have you as a mother because, I think, that´s one of the greatest resources for the future-to educate children that being gay is ok.

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