Oh my God. We’d made such strides. When I first started writing in this genre, there was an assumption that gay sex was somehow more taboo, dirtier, because it was between two people of the same gender. We worked–and we worked hard–to change that perception. I realize that a lot of M/M and F/F writers out there are new, and they still think, (teehee!) they write same sex couples, and isn’t that titivating but they weren’t there for the wars. They weren’t there when the generation before mine was being JAILED for writing this genre. They weren’t there when my wave of writers was losing our jobs, losing their children in custody disputes, losing their spouses and their relationships, because this was the genre they chose to write in, for whatever reason it appealed to them.
Many of the new generation weren’t alive for the AIDs crisis–but I was.
And I had no idea how vast and how awful it was. I had to make Mate watch And the Band Played On because I was curious about it, and as the terribleness struck me, I was heartbroken for being late to the realization that this should never have happened.
When you’re late to realizations like that, you can do so much harm.
So I’m going to say this, for the new people, for the people watching that bullshit take about Monkeypox take over Twitter, and for the new people who might say, “I’m an ally because fuck the Trumpers!” but who don’t realize how long this fight has gone on, and how sometimes, when you hear insanity often enough, you have to shout out what’s real to stay sane.
The LGBTQ community is NOT into pedophilia–the odds of a gay man being a sex offender are SIGNIFICANTLY LESS than the odds of a straight cis pastor, priest, or Boy Scout leader being a sex offender. Gay people DON’T GROOM children to be gay. Straight people have gay children all the time. Gay people have straight children. Kids hit puberty, shit gets real, and they realize who they’re attracted to, what their sexuality REALLY is, and whether or not the standard cis heterosexual mode is THEIR life or just the life their parents thought they should live. Does it happen before that? Hell yes. If I could have a crush on Speed Racer or Randolph Mantooth when I was five, then a little boy could have a crush on Captain America or Iron Man and a little girl could have a crush on Wonder Woman today, and it will seem perfectly normal to them, right up until their parents beat them for being queer.
And Monkeypox is NOT AN STD. Good God. The World Health Organization should be BEATEN for the way they presented that information. Just saying.
When I wrote Crafting Category, I wrote a section about “nope tropes”– tropes that had started out as something necessary in society but had become harmful in recent years. One of these is Gay For You. In the book I said that if people who don’t know better READ this trope, they will believe that being gay is a matter of choice. If the characters in the book are ONLY IN LOVE with that ONE GUY, they could choose to be in love with a woman and being gay is a choice.
IT’S. NOT. And in the increasingly toxic post Trump world in which many states are going after LGBTQ rights like it’s squirrel season and they got a new pellet gun, writing books that slant that way, and BELIEVING that way can be dangerous for people who are born to be who they’re born to be. If sexuality and gender are a “choice” and not a bone-deep reality, then politicians willingly sacrifice rights, dignity, and humanity on the altar of their vanity, and the LGBTQ community is being pursued by pitchforks once again.
Allies are not immune. WRITERS are not immune–but more importantly, if allies or writers posit that being LGBTQ is a choice, they are doing harm to the community that is feeding them.
This is the nature of exploitation–no matter how unwitting.
So I can’t believe I have to say this, but LGBTQ people have one agenda: to be treated like people. That needs to be the ally’s agenda too.