Lyn Gala

One writer's journal through one version of reality

Objectifying Gays

8 Comments


Does m/m fiction objectify gay men?

Um… sometimes? Let’s be honest, some of it is wank fuel. Guess what, that’s not such a new thing in the romance world. Plenty of women in tight bodices with deep cleavage and men with wide chests brandishing swords have been relegated to wank fuel. Gay men are just the latest addition to that little club.

And yeah, I understand the frustration. Seriously, dude, do you have any idea how straight men objectify lesbians? Every straight man seems to want to either watch or join in, and they’ll come right out and say that which is disturbing on a huge level. So I get the frustration. I do.

However, other stories show gay men in a wide range situations. They get to be heroes and villains, brothers and fathers and sons. They get the sort of stories that television and movies refuse to tell.

But the part where my brain gets stuck is when people start saying that if you aren’t gay you can’t write about gay characters.

Buzahuh?

Really?

Well, I guess I’m screwed then. Under that theory, I could only write about lesbians. Okay, so I might have a few gender confused women who liked playing B/D games with men, but no het sex. Or gay malesex. OR straight people or gay men or transsexuals or … actually I wouldn’t be able to write anything I want to write.

Because I don’t write lesbian fiction… it feels a little too much like awkward masturbation. So I write pretty much anyone who isn’t me.

I write about Miss Dolphinia the cross-dressing gay queen who waxes poetic about a time in BDSM history when the rules were looser and Doms could get away with a lot more (fun for Doms, but not always great for the rest of the community)

I write about Jacqs Glebov who thought he was straight because the first person he was attracted to was female, and he really wasn’t one for self-reflection.

I write about Corporal Ace Class Chankoowashtay “Shank” Lacroix who has to be careful to hide his submissive side because people have confused submissive for pushover, and while he is one, he’s definitely not the other. And he is passionately heterosexual.

Allie Grah is equally passionate about her bisexuality.

Carl Ragar is afraid to step up to the plate and confess to the man he loves.

Vinnie Bernardi is too quick to speak up.

And none of these people have sexualities that even come close to mine.

My characters should be judged on their own merit, not on my sexuality. If one of my gay characters or straight characters or bisexual characters or gender ambiguous characters fails, then the fault is not my gender or my sex or my sexual orientation.

Shakespeare writes some kick-ass women. Harper Lee wrote a few of my favorite men, including Dolphus Raymond, who Miss Dolphinia named herself after. And face it, Margaret Mitchell wrote the best damn bastard in all of literary history.

Jeff Lindsay writes a damn good psychopath without ever having murdered someone (I hope), and Anne Rice has never met a vampire although she can write the hell out of them.

Literature is imagination. I won’t apologize for imagining a world where anyone can be anything.

 

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Author: lyngala

Lyn Gala started writing in the back of her science notebook in third grade and hasn't stopped since. Westerns starring men with shady pasts gave way to science fiction with questionable protagonists which eventually gave in to any story with a morally ambiguous character. Even the purest heroes have pain and loss and darkness in their hearts, and that's where she likes to find her stories. Her characters seek to better themselves and find the happy ending (or happier anyway), but it's writing the struggle that inspires her muse. When she isn't writing, Lyn Gala teaches history part time in New Mexico and constantly prays for that one big breakout novel that will let her leave the classroom behind forever. She loves teaching, but she loves writing more.

8 thoughts on “Objectifying Gays

  1. Nice! Great post! Loved it!!!!!

  2. I really liked this as well. I think where a lot of people get their knickers in a twist, is we’re watching the emergence of a social, political, very active, very vocal class that is reshaping, rethinking, and re-imagining themselves. With all the protestations, adulation, and backlash that comes from any of such groups.

    One’s prayer for the next generation is that they have an easier time of life than the generation before, even though they blame the generation before for all their mistakes. And, by the looks of it, while there has been a great push in this country for civil rights, there has been an equal amount of backlash, state by state, that gay people make advances in. And then there is the backlash to the backlash, and as I gay man, sometimes I feel like a ping pong ball.

    It’s a clear case, at least for me, of feeling like a ping pong ball, while everyone else figures out what to do with this Novelty of two gay men buying a house, filing taxes, raising a family, etc. After several phone calls to the IRS, Sallie Mae to get our student loan repayment schedule, changing our legal names to match our marriage certificate with the Social Security Office, the novelty of being a gay man, has worn off.

    What does this have to do with writing? Some of the best gay romance writers I’ve read have been women and I don’t think this recent case of dastardly arguments have anything to do with the male vs female writers out there. I think it has more to do with the feeling of while we’re being trumpeted in popular media, in the world of the mundane, we’re being jostled about and getting pretty banged up in the process.

    One of the most exciting things for me turned into something quite sour a couple of months (a year?) ago when SCOTUS had the oral arguments over PROP 8 and DOMA. John and I had been excited to listen to these recordings that were made public on the Supreme Court website (as we are both legal nerds). However, the clinical and very cold way that we were discussed by the court and various lawyers on either side, made us kind of sick to our stomachs. Here was our life, being decided by the 9 wise people and here were sets of lawyers both for and against giving us the once over with sterile terminology and from the opposing lawyers, silly defense as to state’s ability to undermine our lives.

    However, take heart. Your work is adding to a broader conversation going on in the world right now. And even though we are in rocky territory, and there are going to be rocky moments especially in our field of literature, this isn’t a bad thing. People are agitated, which means they are talking, and with talking comes changing, and with that, evolution of a segment of society and the art that reflects our reality. Each segment of society has been there, some are still there, but the struggle is clearly worth it.

    • I agree that things are changing fast, and I know that lesbians have a different set of issues from male gays. But I totally understand the sheer weariness that sets in. Why do we have to always fight-fight-fight-fight? It’s tiring. And yeah, I can see where it gets to be too much, but I think you’re right that the conversation is important. We’re all going to be in this social whirlwind until society settles down again, hopefully after deciding that it’s not cool to deny people their civil rights.

  3. Thank you. As someone who writes a variety of relationships, it was refreshing to have someone come out and address the topic of “right to write”.

  4. Reblogged this on F.E. Feeley Jr. and commented:
    Oldie but goodie

  5. Pingback: the object of my affection | ameliabishop

  6. Pingback: Confessions of a Gay Ex-CEO in Corporate Leadership | DanNation.org

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