From the well fertilized fields of Dear Author (I’m with Mrs. G, what is it with that site?) comes this…

by Gay Pride
What brought me to the romance community was the new trend in m/m erotic romance. And, frankly, I haven’t been impressed anywhere. All I’ve seen are misconceptions that go to the root of gay culture, and too many female authors writing extremely flawed books. Fundamental flaws that only gay men can spot.

The political incorrectness is astounding. It reminds be of the old Hollywood days when they used to take tall anglo men and dress them up in either black face or give them slanted eyes. This was insulting to the Asian and Afro American communities, and just as insulting to Asian and Afro American actors at the time.

A female author trying to write m/m erotic romance, or romance, is just as insulting as hiring Brad Pitt to play the lead in the biopic of Barack Obama in black face. No straight woman alive can know, not matter how they try, what it is like to be a gay man. It’s not possible. Just like it’s not possible for any living man to know what it’s like for a woman to live in today’s society that is still filled with sexism.

So while this feel-good, pat-on-the-back post comes off as light and breezy, you’re mising a few important facts about insulting an entire community with romance novels…and it’s not just one publisher…they are all doing it now. And I’d suggest to the female writers out there who are jumping onto the band wagon of m/m erotic romance…or gay fiction in general…you hop over to the traditional gay publishers and start reading the classics before you start trying to imagine what it’s like to be a gay man. Because until you can figure out how to grow a prostate, you’re never going to get it right.

Thank you speaker for all gay men. Politically sure I can accept some of the things you said… but as another Gay Man I don’t have to be sensitive to your whining bitch.

Besides the fact some of the leading Gay Lit writers have names like Mary Renault or Patricia Nell Warren which leads me to believe they “might” have been women writing about gay men. Nice going dude, thanks for insulting some of our founders there! I would also like to point out that Annie Proulx would not be sitting pretty with her Pulitzer Prize or that really great $$$movie deal$$$ for her itty bitty short story Brokeback Mountain if she had been listening to fools using this argument. So stick that up your Andrew Holleran and smoke it.

To everyone else out there take my advice please don’t read too much into Gay Lit since I don’t find it the hallowed ground of perfection this jerk seems to be making it into. As an older gay man who tried to read a bit of it for fun you know since I was sorta around at the time a lot of it got printed I can tell you that Gay Lit is sorely lacking in several areas last time I checked. Minorities, blue collar workers, characters or situations even remotely relatable to any gay man or woman living in a flyover state. Hell, Gay Lit only found a sense of humor sometime around 1976 and there are people still haggling over if Armistead Maupin (a common newspaper journalist ewww) really counts as Gay Lit.

Yeah, so Gay Lit, racist, classicist, sexist and those are just some of our award winners! I think the white boy snob factor is something they add as a bonus.

I’m so fucking proud. *headdesk*

As a gay man I created this blog because I wanted to celebrate M/M Romance as a growing trend not condemn it and it’s writers with grand sweeping generalizations and arguing about specious things like authenticity. I wanted to point out the things that I liked and sometimes the things that did not work for me, but to try and provide some explanations for it all besides just squee.

If I do talk about crap like “Gay For You” plot devices or such it’s because I want people to think about these things not to use that shit to attack others. So excuse me for going off here but the vitriol I have been seeing lately is getting a bit much. I personally do not think you change peoples minds by attacking them. I personally don’t think you change peoples minds by demanding things. Rants and wank are not effective for anything but brief entertainment.

I think you change things by learning to share your common interests.

Tags: ,

"When Gay Lit Snobs Attack" by TeddyPig was published on May 7th, 2009 and is listed in Lambda Literary Foundation, Wank.

Follow comments via the RSS Feed| Trackback URL

Comments on "When Gay Lit Snobs Attack": 30 Comments

  1. Cyn wrote,

    Maybe I’m not allowed to have an opinion, as I am female, but I think that Mr. Gay Pride needs to take a step back and realize that it’s fiction. A made up story. It doesn’t matter if it’s true to life, it’s entertainment.
    I could go off on a hissy fit about how women are portrayed by male erotica writers, but I realize that it’s not written for me as an audience.

    Forgive me for ranting at you. I’m just tired of defending what I like to read.

  2. Donna wrote,

    Wow. I guess then, as a straight woman, I am screwed when it comes to writing romance in ANY genre. Because by this person’s estimation, I would think it equally unfathomable that I could possibly have any insight into male perspective, full stop, so men of any sexual persuasion are out. And I’m not a lesbian, so f/f isn’t in the cards, either. Guess I’ll go write murder mysteries.

    Oh, wait… Will I have to kill people in order to write effectively? LOL

  3. TeddyPig wrote,

    Hold on a minute I have a list of people you can practice on.

  4. Donna wrote,

    I do have twenty acres of backyard. Useful for hiding bodies. *plots*

    In all seriousness, I just have to wonder what goes through people’s heads.

  5. TeddyPig wrote,

    Would it surprise you if I said “not much”?

  6. JL Langley wrote,

    Well shit! Does this mean I can’t write werewolves anymore?

  7. JenB wrote,

    And I can’t write book reviews ’cause I’ve never been a book. *sad*

  8. Alex Beecroft wrote,

    I do worry about it sometimes, but I’d worry more if most of my fan-mail didn’t come from gay men. I figure if they’re enjoying it, I must be getting something right.

  9. TeddyPig wrote,

    HAH! Alex the facts are like I reported JL Langley was a top seller for A Different Light in San Francisco. So if the gayest bookstore in the gayest fucking city on the planet says Gay Romance sells and sells good then you know what I think that counts more in showing acceptance than anything else.

    Money talks, political assholes can walk.

  10. Barbara Sheridan wrote,

    I suppose all women should be forever pissed at Stephen King because he sure as hell could never understand what it’s like to be a teenaged girl getting her period for the first time.

    And how dare any of us ever writer of time or place we haven’t really lived in.

    I certainly can’t speak for any other writers of m/m but I’d certainly have no problem with any gay male readers taking a moment to drop me an email letting me know if I’m missing the mark in places (self-lubricating uke-types excepted) ^_^

  11. Ally Blue wrote,

    I get several emails a week from gay men telling me how much they’ve enjoyed my books. Surely these people wouldn’t be taking time out of their days to write to me and say these things if they weren’t true. So I’m assuming that my writing must resonate on some level with at least SOME of the gay men out there. That is good enough for me. It’s too bad this one guy feels so offended by women writing gay romance, but oh well. You can’t make everyone happy.

    And Barbara, I agree with you, I do hope that if I got something really dreadfully wrong someone would tell me. I know of at least one regular male reader who I am pretty sure would have no problem doing that *g*

  12. John Carter wrote,

    I guess I’ll have to stop reading murder mysteries. And science fiction. And fantasy. History books. Biographies. Newspapers. Comic strips.

    It doesn’t leave me with much except autobiographies. And I don’t much care for them.

  13. AM Riley wrote,

    Whilst reading her/his aside about men writing women, I immediately thought of Hardy and “Tess of D’Ubervilles”. Hardy must have been a woman, right?

    How many gay men have written evocative gorgeous heterosexual characters?

    The whole idea that we are all so different that we can’t imagine being one another is sad and a little frightening.

  14. Barbara Sheridan wrote,

    AM Riley said:The whole idea that we are all so different that we can’t imagine being one another is sad and a little frightening.

    I agree. Whenever I come across someone touting “Write what you are and know first hand” I want to scream. No matter how different we are some things are universal: Love, happiness, sadness, longing, anger etc. and isn’t that really the stuff fiction is made of?

  15. TeddyPig wrote,

    You mean you do not personally know any werewolves?

  16. K. Z. Snow wrote,

    So glad you addressed this, TP. The poster’s “reasoning” was so damned full of holes, a fleet of Peterbilts could’ve driven through it without disrupting the punctuation. That was some of the most idiotic, condescending blog-dreck I’ve read in a while, and I’ve read a lot of it.

    I tried responding at DA, twice, but their spam filter obviously deemed me unworthy.

  17. JL Langley wrote,

    Nah, but I know a few bloodsuckers .

  18. EM Lynley wrote,

    I can’t add much to what’s been said in the comments, but I’m glad to see such great responses, especially Teddy’s.

    I also have a lot of gay men fans, one of whom is a beta reader. He tells me if I get something wrong physically, but he’s never once had a complaint about a story line, characterization or emotions I’ve written. I would be more than happy for someone to point me in the right direction if I got something wrong.

    I’d also bet that there are some gay men writing het romance. I know a few who love reading it. I have no argument with that. If they get something wrong, plenty of readers will let them know and it will only help them become better at it. But I wouldn’t want to stop anyone from writing the kind of stories they like to read or criticize anyone’s reading choices even if they aren’t mine.

    Thanks, Teddy, for acknowledging that even if women writers aren’t writing from the same point of view as gay men, we do at least provide enjoyable stories that a wide audience find entertaining and relevant. If our audience happens to be mainly women, that’s fine. They wouldn’t want to read the same things Mr. Gay Lit Expert likes to read, and that’s probably a good thing.

  19. Louise van Hine wrote,

    sigh… it seems like every time I wander over to D.A. that place just gets darker and darker…

    It’s the Revenge of the Authorial Fallacy, that fiction must in some way be directly related to its author, which defies the entire purpose and focus of fiction. I have seen this come up over and over again, in which critics love to draw intricate diagrams of how such and such a piece of fiction reveals the psyche of the Author who created it, and it is all so much hokum.

    That having been said, there is always the issue of authenticity and genuineness. And when I was working on a gay erotic romance, I did have as beta readers at least a few Actual Gay Men (AGMs) in Actual Gay Relationships and learned a great deal about what interested them and what they thought of the characters, and as a check on authenticity. And research is always required. And I say that if you get positive feedback from some or many Actual Gay Men, you have met the authenticity test. It isn’t a matter of what kind of parts you have – it is a matter of your skill as an author and as a researcher, and as a student of human behavior. I also do think that among gay men, there are those who consider themselves butch and manly and would NEVER EVER EVER read a gay romance story — but that is equally true of women. Some consider themselves “too nice” and still others consider themselves too naughty.

  20. Alex Beecroft wrote,

    I do think it’s kind of sad that we forget that we’re all human. Can a woman understand what it’s like being a man? Yes, with a certain amount of research, imagination and empathy, of course she can. Can a man understand what it’s like being a woman? Same applies. I think it’s the writer’s job to put in the thought required, and if the readers are happy, then that’s good evidence that he or she has got it right.

    Charlie Cochrane was telling me the other day about a gay man she met at her local RNA (British version of the RWA) writers meeting. He wrote heterosexual romance and mentioned to her that he got frequently annoyed by suggestions he ought to be writing gay romance just because he was gay.

    Like John, I wouldn’t want to reduce my entire reading list to thinly veiled autobiographies, so I’m all for anyone writing whatever they want to write.

  21. kirsten saell wrote,

    I think if female authors are at least trying to write characters who are actual people (actual in the sense that they have personalities and, you know, thoughts and stuff), that guy doesn’t have much to complain about, even if he’s never one who’s “gotten it right”.

    I think I might have just left a comment over at DA that could start something nasty. It involved the phrase “Lesbo Strap-on Orgy III: The Revenge of Debbie”. Cause, you know, as long as we’re moaning about straight folk exploiting LGBT sensuality people for their own entertainment, we might as well talk about all of it. Pretty sure all you female m/m writers get it more right than some of the stuff produced to appeal to men’s fantasies.

  22. kirsten saell wrote,

    Oops, I meant to say “never *found* one who’s “gotten it right”.”

  23. Clare London wrote,

    Well said.
    I think he’s missing the point, too, that literature isn’t only there for the purposes of historical or social or political record. Something can be written and read for enjoyment and entertainment as well, as an adventure, as a bridge of emotional fun and feeling, regardless of the gender or real life orientation. There’s such a huge range of fiction out there, it’s ludicrous for anyone to make such generalisations, that a whole genre is inaccurate and an ‘impossible’ objective. And I feel rather sorry for someone who cuts themselves off so totally from opportunity and knowledge and FUN that way.

  24. LBea wrote,

    I see no reason to defend my choices as a reader/writer/reviewer/blogger on that thread–or any other. You can’t please all the people, all the time. Some people can’t be pleased any of the time.

    He certainly has a right to his opinion, and his subsequent anger and injured feelings are his to own. He’s frustrated and DA apparently has become THE forum to air your grievances and gain an audience, appropriate or not.

  25. TeddyPig wrote,

    That having been said, there is always the issue of authenticity and genuineness. And when I was working on a gay erotic romance, I did have as beta readers at least a few Actual Gay Men (AGMs) in Actual Gay Relationships and learned a great deal about what interested them and what they thought of the characters, and as a check on authenticity. And research is always required.

    Some of the things he said about men and women being different were a big “no duh” to me. I have posted some of those differences on this blog I thought were important to note. Not to attack people like some woman hating frat boy on his eighth beer. I don’t think his comments were at all constructive.

    As far as I am concerned implying people are being homophobic without just cause is just plain stupid and shuts down any dialog. I also don’t get these kids who have obviously never researched or read Gay Lit or it’s history or the women who were front and center and involved from the beginning, much like they always are, and then talking shit like that.

  26. Selah March wrote,

    Because until you can figure out how to grow a prostate, you’re never going to get it right.

    As far as I’m concerned, that says it all. Universal emotion and the creative license of fiction don’t come into play for the gentleman known as “Gay Pride” because he IS his prostate. Apparently, that organ defines his entire experience, and the lack of one defines mine.

    Talk about literally having one’s head up one’s ass…

  27. JenB wrote,

    Apparently, that organ defines his entire experience, and the lack of one defines mine.

    Also, by that logic, straight men should be able to write gay fiction without criticism.

  28. Lee Rowan wrote,

    Thanks, Teddy.

    This post reminds me of a fan fiction list where the control freaks got so impressed with themselves that they were telling writers the exact language they had to use to request feedback. Not surprisingly, the list went dormant. Nobody dared to say anything for fear of not being literarily correct. Creative people aren’t going to let someone else tell them how or what to write. Creativity doesn’t work that way.

    There’s a danger to walling oneself into a ghetto, making it a shrine, and refusing to acknowledge that people outside are not also human beings. Gay and lesbian bookstores (and literature) arose because we had no recognition in the larger world. I hate to see gay bookstores pushed out by big-box stores, but that is happening to almost all indy stores. And really … would it be better if we did not have glbt books available now in big bookstores and online? I don’t think so.

    Whether or not something is ‘literature’ isn’t necessarily a decision made by the author’s contemporaries, though to hear lit snobs pontificate one might think so. “Literature” implies lasting value, and the only way to guarantee lasting value is to last. I think some current m/m will prove to be lasting: Alex and Erastes write stories that deal with universal human themes; Charlie’s mysteries are fine puzzles in their own right (I’m using examples of work I’m most familiar with, but there are many other terrific m/m stories written by women.)

    And when it comes down to a book-lover picking up a book, who the devil ever said we all only ever want to read LIT’ratchure? “Maurice,” “Giovanni’s Room…” superb books, unquestionably classic, definitely worth a reader’s attention. But I enjoy mysteries. I like adventure. I sometimes enjoy a shmoopy love story. Combine them, and I’m in heaven.

    What I don’t like? Honestly? Miserable Suffering/Dead Queer stories. It’s like Lord of the Flies – I read it, I recognize its value, I never want to read it again. We bloody well deserve happy endings, at least some of the time.

    Some books are terrific, some books are crap. That correlates not to the gender of the writer, but the skill of the writer.

    The whole gender-of-the-writer whinge is ridiculous. What if a born-female trans is writing gender-true fic in m/m? How the hell would anyone test for that–and what gives them the right to? Anna Karenina, Madame Bovary, A Doll’s House… gee, how could those boys write those books if they didn’t have vaginas? Are we supposed to believe Tolstoy was a cross-dresser?

    My take on this whole thing? Nobody complained about women writing m/m until it started to sell. My guess is that a bunch of the ‘you haven’t got a prostate’ boys have books of their own that haven’t sold, and this supposedly political quarrel has a much simplier and pettier explanation.

  29. TeddyPig wrote,

    My take on this whole thing? Nobody complained about women writing m/m until it started to sell. My guess is that a bunch of the ‘you haven’t got a prostate’ boys have books of their own that haven’t sold, and this supposedly political quarrel has a much simplier and pettier explanation.

    That’s the feeling I get also from the gay authors I have seen playing this authenticity up and making accusations much like this. Most of the ones I respect seem to be welcoming and supportive of the new genre and the new writers.

    Sure Maurice and Giovanni’s Room are great books but for me Joseph Hansen and his Mysteries are much more appealing and I am surprised he is not mentioned more often but then he wrote in a genre which gets overlooked.

  30. Tuscan Capo wrote,

    Fiction is fiction and some people just need to grow up and accept that. I used to be in law enforcement, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a book just because I run across a passage where its obvious the author isn’t immersed in expert hands-on knowledge of the field. If it was that way I couldn’t even enjoy watching L&O. But maybe some people don’t know how to enjoy anything except their own dramas.

The Naughty Bits is powered by WordPress

Wearing the Basic Black Skin for Shifter by Buzzdroid