Lyn Gala

One writer's journal through one version of reality


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Disabled and in Love

Does a disability make a romantic hero less desirable?

I’ve been thinking about this lately. I had a fanfic story, Green Eyed Hope, where Blair loves Jim, but Jim is simply not gay. Trust me, when you are gay, this is an entirely too common situation. Anyway, Blair is disabled in a car accident, learns to trust that Jim loves him like a brother and moves on to find his romantic partner in another disillusioned soldier.

One of the most common comments I get on this story is that people are sorry Blair never recovered more. He gets to the point where he can use a cane for short distances, but he’ll never have the strength back in the legs to easily walk.

It reminded me of a big kerfuffle in fandom where someone else had written a wheelchair using Blair, but he was magically healed in the end by a shamanic ritual. Someone else fanficed the fanfic to rewrite the ending so that Blair stayed disabled and Jim loved him just as much.

I can see why someone would want that ending. If a person is disabled, where are the romance stories for him or her?

WilliamIn my newest story, William is never identified as disabled, and I doubt his parents ever got a diagnosis, but he is obsessed with his hobby (American history), has a job where he can handle numbers because he cannot handle relationships with people, he pisses off every boyfriend he ever had, and his social skills were so abominable that his very loving parents sent him to a boys boarding school in the hopes that he could learn to be more social.

I don’t think it’s hard to see the disability, but it makes my heart hurt a little when the comments come in with… Dallin can do better than him… William is just too antisocial… I wish Dallin would have walked out and stayed gone.

Even people who admit that William has a heart of gold are uncomfortable with him in a relationship, and then there are the comments about how William gets too involved too fast. Oh boy. Um… yeah, that’s part of the disability. Lots of Asperger’s kids have to be explicitly taught to not stalk because once someone expresses an interest, they often don’t know where that line between appropriate and inappropriate lies.

Which is why those on the autistic spectrum are so much more likely to abstain from sex. It’s just hard to find a partner.

Now, I’m not saying that William would be easy to love, and even at the end, Dallin has to move his stuff into another closet because William can’t handle having his stuff disturbed, and vacation consists of visiting historical sites that William’s interested in.

But on the other hand, William completely and totally loves Dallin and will do anything for him. There is an upside to having an autistic spectrum lover.

So, does the disability make William less appropriate as the subject of a romance novel? Should Blair be “healed” at the end in order to have his happily ever after? Can you have a happily ever after if one of the main characters is suffering and continues to suffer a serious physical or mental difficulty?

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Objectifying Gays

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.