Sunday, December 23, 2018

HEA or GTFO


There are certain arguments/attitude problems that the romance genre deals with on a regular basis. They crop up so often, in the same worn, smelly cheap suit, that we largely just roll our eyes and move on.

But the words still hurt, still frustrate, and sometime still enrage because we are tired of being willfully misunderstood. Of being talked down to, and ridiculed, and dismissed, like a bad dog too stupid to figure out what it's doing wrong.

Romance is "just" porn, that's a classic. Just fluff. Unrealistic. Bodice rippers. Junkfood. People love to bag on us for basically being worthless, despite the fact we make more money than the next two highest grossing genres combined. Romance clocks in at 1$.44 billion (the next genre down is Crime/Mystery at &729 million). Pretty good for a genre that's garbage.

But the thing we probably hear the most bitching about is the #1 rule of the genre: the book must end in an HEA or HFN (Happily Ever After/ Happy for Now). Almost every other rule in romance is somewhat flexible, but this one is inviolate. It's important to readers, it's something they count on, look forward to, and pretty often need. It's one of the main reasons they come to the genre. No matter what the characters go through, whatever tragedies or strife they face, they'll come out on the other side happy--and happy together.

So we get pretty angry when people tell us that we're vapid for wanting and needing this. That it makes our stories less, somehow, than those that end in tragedy or ambiguity. Because somehow, in a way I've yet to figure out, sadness is better and more real than happiness.

Do other genres put up with this? Does someone show up with a fun, light-hearted, laid back book that has a chill and friendly ghost and demand to be included in horror even though there are no horrific elements?

Do people write books where the mystery has already been solved, and it's just about the tedious court hearing and the struggles of the lawyer, and demand it be labeled a mystery even though there's no mystery at all?

Does any of that sound stupid and implausible to you? Now you're getting why we hate when people show up with a love story or a tragedy and demand it be labeled a romance.

The HEA requirement isn't just a rule tacked on at the bottom of the list, it's one of the foundations of the genre. It helped to shape and mold it, and make it the powerhouse that it is today.

I just found out yesterday that one of my cats is going to die soon. He might live a couple of years, but more than likely he'll die in the next few weeks or months. A couple of years ago we had to watch another one of our cats get sick and wither away, and finally had to put him to sleep because there was no saving him

There was the year my brother tried to commit suicide twice.

There's the fact I am struggling with fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, and all the ways those things affect/shape my life. There are days I simply don't want to endure it anymore, when just the fact I have to get out of bed and deal with it all leaves me in tears.

Romance novels, and the happiness they promise, get me through a lot of that. Because above all else, that's what it is. Not a rule. Not a convention. Not a tiresome requirement getting in the way of your realer and more authentic sadness. It's a promise that everything will be okay, no matter how terrible things might get.

The Painted Crown is a novel I wrote about a man who deals with chronic pain (though his is from war injuries), suffers from depression and anxiety, and tries to commit suicide. Writing all those things was hard. But I got to give him his dreams. I got to write his happy ending. That helped me in ways that literally nothing else could.

And every romance writer and reader I know has similar stories to tell. We don't read this genre because we're emotionally weak or deficient. Because we're vapid and need our silly Disney movie endings. We read them because everyone deals with the world in different ways, and this is the way we choose. Because we're smart, strong, capable, and love to read about people finding each other and facing the world together, be it lovers, friends, family, or all of the one.

Some people find strength and enjoyment and more in reading love stories. In tragedies. Some prefer literature. Some enjoy nonfiction or poetry or mysteries. That's the best thing about books: you can write or read whatever you want.

And to make it easier for all of us to find what we want, without accidentally reading something we hate or that will upset us, we have genres. When you go to the fantasy section, you know what you're getting. Same with romance, horror, and so forth.

To show up with a love story, which has it's own tropes, conventions, and expectations, and demand it be considered a romance novel? Is shitty and unprofessional. You would never show up at to a pie contest with a cake and whine that nobody considers your cake a pie. You'd never expect anyone to consider your beer a wine at a wine-tasting just because you like beer and hate wine.

The problem is not the genre. The problem is the people who want to write love stories/tragedies and then shove them into romance even though that's not where they belong. Do not invade our space. Go to where your book belongs, and stop expecting an entire industry to change just because you decided the rules weren't for you.

And for the love of god, can we stop having this argument. This horse would like to be given a respectful burial already. You aren't controversial, your opinion isn't new and bold, you aren't shocking anyone. To quote one of my favorite shows:



Respect the genre and the people in it or GTFO.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Books Books Books

First up, a freebie and a 99¢ read



This is 1500 word short that I wrote for a tumblr prompt that crossed my dash. It's about a bodyguard who can't help but unprofessionally admire the king they're guarding.

It's supposed to be free, but Amazon is being dumb. So I recommend downloading it elsewhere until Amazon catches up. I wish they'd just let us mark shit as free instead of playing the pricematch game.



This is a significantly expanded and revised version of this old ficbit. The length has more than doubled, bringing it from 4k to 10k.

Near-blind without his glasses, regarded as a burden to his family, Tyri left his clan to attempt a career as a runescribe in the city, taking his mute sister Vess with him so she doesn't grow up tormented as he was.

But finding a job proves more difficult than he anticipated, and his last hope to avoid being thrown out on the streets depends on the interview he has that morning.

A morning that comes crashing down on him by way of a thunderstorm and the stranger who runs into him and destroys his glasses…



This was originally released in the A Touch of Mistletoe anthology, re-releasing it for peeps who want it standalone.



Forever and a day ago, I wrote about a much put upon mage with a knack for finding things. Including a misplaced baby on the verge of being murdered. I did not expect the little story to amount to much, but it's been a fan favorite. And one of the requests I most frequently got was for grown-up Goss.

That wish has at last been granted. Lord Seabolt comes out January 2019. I have tow more stories planned for this series now it's cooperating again. One for Sealore and Moonrise, the other for Kerra, whom you'll meet in Lord Seabolt.

This pair will also be in paperback.

Also forthcoming is a short story about Morrin, Istari's brother from The Painted Crown (and I do still intend to make Stolen Court cooperate, I'm sorry it's taking so long). That comes out in March 2019.

There's lot of novels in the works too, but I'll discuss them more when they're actually complete. But they include the final High Court book and the final DwtD novel.

I hope everyone is having a lovely holiday/December, and that your weather is less wet and gloomy than mine.

Merry Christmas!

~Meg

Friday, November 23, 2018

Ficbit - Diving Lessons (The Heart of the Lost Star

For Queenwicky009, in thanks for all the lovely art 💖💖💖

*****


"Papa! Come look!"

"No, thank you, I'm perfectly happy right here," Kamir said.

"But it's so high!" Chiri said.

Kamir had to close his eyes to keep from demanding she get away from the edge of the cliff right now. Jader was right there with them, as well as a few of his brothers—all of them grinning like absolute brats at the way Chiri and Chara were excited, while Kamir was firmly of the mind that cliffs were not meant for standing at the edge of.

He should have stayed in the village, but there'd been no arguing with Jader's mother when she'd taken Taliana and ordered him to go have fun. Considering they were both still abysmal with one another's languages, she could be impressively clear about her orders.

"It's really high," Chara said, sounding not quite as impressed as his sister. Well at least one of his children had sense. "Do you really jump from here?" He looked up at Jader, as adoring as always. Both of them had been ecstatic to hear that Kamir and Jader were getting married, but it was Chara who had shown uncharacteristic boldness when he'd asked what the island word for 'papa' was and could they call Jader that?

Jader, of course, had not stopped preening all week.

His familiar laughter carried on the wind, accompanied by the chuckles of his brothers. "This isn't even the highest cliff we dive from, but I think your father will have some rude words for me if I take you to Bird's Eye Cliff."

"I do not like that name even a little," Kamir said. "I would indeed have some rude words for you."

Jader grinned at him. "Never fear, sunshine, I know very well to wait until you're asleep."

Kamir narrowed his eyes. "I bet if I ask nicely, your brothers will shove you off that cliff."

"You don't even have to ask nicely," said Jende, one of Jader's elder brothers and the one translating for the others so Jader could have a break from doing so. "Mother said we're to listen to you, so if you want him pushed, off he goes."

"I have some rude words for you," Jader retorted.

Chiri in the meantime had crept even closer, giving Kamir palpitations. He moaned and covered his eyes again. "Why are we doing this?"

"Because it's fun," Jader said, grinning shamelessly like the absolute wretch he was as he gently tugged Kamir's hands away and kissed him. "Are you sure you don't want to try it?"

"No, thank you. Wading about the beach is all that interests me. You're sure they're not too small?" He glanced past Jader to where Chiri and Chara were quizzing the brothers at a rapid pace, determined to know everything they possibly could. Kamir had the feeling there was going to be a great deal of protesting when they had to return home at the end of the month.

"I promise," Jader replied, holding his hands firmly, but gently. His poor skin was already looking pink, despite the special lotion he'd rubbed thoroughly into it. His nose was definitely burned. Wearing nothing but the loose, bright blue pants that ended right above his knees, a simple leather cord around his neck with coral charms shaped like fish, all his tattoos fully on display, he was breathtakingly beautiful, sunburn and all. "I was younger than this when I started diving, and I'm fairly certain Jende was diving before he could walk. Mother complained all the time about having to go into the water and drag him out. She used to say it was easier hauling in the fishing nets when they're overfull.

Kamir gave him a look. "I'm sure you caused your poor mother no trouble whatsoever."

Jader just grinned and kissed him again.

Kamir should be used to it by now, surely, and yet every time Jader kissed him like this, smiled at him with so much open adoration and affection, it took his breath away. "I love you."

"That's good," Jader said. "Otherwise you might not let me teach your children to jump off a cliff into the ocean."

"Never mind, I take it back," Kamir said, jabbing a finger in his stomach. "I hate you."

"Lies, lies, lies," Jader said, wrapping his arms around Kamir's shoulders and kissing him far more thoroughly than he really should with an audience—and two of them children. Although right then the entire island chain could be on fire and Chiri and Chara wouldn't notice. Unless of course it was to ask if they could get closer to the erupting volcano.

Drawing back, Jader nuzzled his cheek. "I love you deeply, sunshine. And now I'm going to go give diving lessons."

"I'm going to cover my eyes. Tell me when it's over."

Jader snickered, kissed his cheek, and returned to his impatient overlords. "All right, little shimi. Are you ready to jump?"

"It's really high," Chara said, looking torn between complete excitement and utter terror.

"No different than all the practicing off rocks we've been doing," Jader said. "You're just in the air a little bit longer. Do what you've been practicing and by the time you're of age, you'll be the best pearl divers on Shahira. But the first time is just a simple jump, to get used to it. Then we'll work on diving properly. Do you want to jump alone? With someone? Or shall we toss you off? Mikkai here had to be thrown off. So did my mother, although she denies it."

Jende translated, and Mikkai said something that got him a warning look from Jende.

"I'm jumping!" Chiri said, hopping from one foot to another. It had taken her exactly thirty seconds to adjust to Islander dress—the amount of time it took her to get her clothes off and put the new clothes on, though clothes was perhaps a bit generous. Like all children, she wore only a loincloth, her hair braided but already a complete tangled mess from all the playing they'd done. Combing it all would take forever later, but it would be well worth it just to see how happy they were. "Can I go now?"

"Do you want me up here, or down in the water when you land?" Jader asked.

The twins paused as they gave this question the grave consideration it was due, sharing a look and having some silent exchange, something they'd been doing with increasing frequency. Finally they said, "In the water."

"Then into the water I go," Jader said, and ruffled their heads. "If you want someone to throw you, or jump with you, Chara, just ask Jende. That's how a lot of us get our start on doing this. I'll be at the bottom to help you. All right, shimi?"

Chara nodded with all the solemnity only a child could muster. Jader tousled his hair one last time, then stopped Kamir's heart by leaping from the edge in an admittedly-beautiful arch and vanishing from sight.

Gathering his courage, Kamir ventured closer, grateful when the third brother, Kita, offered a hand and then rested a steadying arm around his waist. The easy way Islanders were always touching was more than a little disconcerting, but Kamir was slowly getting used to it, and right then he definitely appreciated the comforting presence.

"Go on, then," he said as the twins looked to him. "Don't keep Jader waiting."

Chiri nodded—then in a sudden burst of speed ran to the edge and jumped. Kamir balled his hands into fists and bit back a cry, making himself smile reassuringly as Chara looked to him again. Terrified as Kamir was, it would be easy to tell Chara that he didn't have to if he didn't want to—but that would only encourage him to always retreat from his fears, and Kamir didn't want that for him. "Do you want to jump with someone?"

After a moment of hesitation, Chara nodded.

"Then what did Jader tell you to do?"

Chara gave him a pleading look, but Kamir only regarded him sternly. Finally, after a few more seconds of hesitating, Chara turned to a patiently waiting, smiling Jende and said, "Would you please jump with me?"

"Of course, little shimi, it would be my honor. Come on." He took Chara's hand and led him to the edge of the cliff. "On three, all right?"

"Yes," Chara said.

Kamir half-expected him to falter, but as Jende cried out, "Three!" Chara jumped with him, and they vanished from sight.

Praying for strength, Kamir ventured tentatively to the edge and looked down. It wasn't even really all that high, but it was plenty high enough. Down below, his spouse and children waved up at him, the children cheering and demanding he look at them, did they do good?

"You did wonderful!" Kamir called down. "I'll see you back in the village! Don't drown each other, you hear me?" When they'd dutifully replied in tones that said they weren't really listening, Kamir fled the cliff edge.

Kita offered his arm, and Kamir took it gladly as they headed back to the village, eager for a cool drink with generous amounts of alcohol. But mostly just happy that his children were having so much fun, and seemed to already consider the Islands a second home.

Happier still that not a one of his children was where he could see them, and he didn't have to fear for or worry about them. Even if he really wished the twins had picked something other than cliff diving as their new favorite activity.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Ficbit - Mercenaries of the Stolen Moon

Since peeps are already finished with Mercenaries, here's a ficbit I wrote at A.M. Valenza's request ;3 The timeline is a bit dicey, but I'll sort it out after I finish Penitent.

*****


Jac whistled as she crossed the military pavilion, mind flitting between the fact the dining hall was serving her favorite that night—well, one of her favorites—and that in just a couple more hours, her men would be free for the night and all three of them for the next two days.

She had plans, and every single one of them involved nudity and her chest of toys. Although she and Myra had also conspired to take Charlaine to a play in the imperial theatre, and Allen had granted them use of the imperial box. She would have to wear formal civilian clothes, which were not her thing at all, but Allen and Tara had helped her before she'd even figured out how to ask for advice.

Honestly, being Allen's bodyguard was spoiling her absolutely rotten, but far be it for her to complain.

"Oi, Jac!"

She came to a sharp halt and spun neatly on her heel, quirking a brow at the trio of men that came barreling toward her—with a familiar green leather book in hand. As they reached her, the one holding the book flourished it. "Well?"

Jac grinned. "I'm surprised it took you this long to hunt me down, Mistri."

"Oh, yeah, let me just stroll into the imperial offices and ask if I can trouble the High Consort's bodyguard to settle the matter of a few bets. Your impossible to find, Jac."

"Well I'm here now, so let's have it."

The trio cheered, and all around them a smattering of people stopped to observe.

Mistri opened the book to the appropriate page. "Do I need to read them off?"

Jac snorted. "What do you think? I'm more concerned people will think I'm lying."

"Nah," said one of the other men. "Everyone knows you're good for it, Jac. You've got no reason to lie."

"Yeah, when have you ever lied when it comes to sex?" Mistri asked. "I know firsthand just how raunchy and honest you can be."

Jac gave him a look. "Is that a complaint? Because I remember pretty clearly how loudly you begged for it."

Mistri rolled his eyes. "You and the whole floor, thanks for reminding me."

Jac grinned.

Clearing his throat, Mistri glanced down at the book. "Now then, first bet to be settled is…"

"This better not be about my ass," a husky voice said in Jac's ear.

She yelped, drove her elbow back, and knocked the person off their feet, whipping around—and freezing, hand on the dagger at her waist. "Pantheon, Charlaine! Don't sneak up on me like that!"

Charlaine groaned where he lay on the ground. "Damn it, woman."

"Don't 'damn it, woman' me!"

In reply, Charlaine kicked her legs out from under her and swooped in to pin her to the ground. "You should know my voice by now."

"I don't do well when anyone sneaks up on me, you ass," Jac retorted. "What are you doing out here already, anyway?"

Charlaine smirked, his good eye gleaming. "Oh, not happy to see me? Would that be because you're attempting to make money from placing unseemly bets on my ass?"

Jac scoffed. "First of all, that's not even close to unseemly. You should see the other bets in the book. Second, I collected on the fineness of your ass last week. Today I'll be collecting on my correct guesses about what you like in bed. Though sadly—" She broke with a yelp as Charlaine pinched her. "That's uncalled for!"

"You're uncalled for," Charlaine muttered, but with a smile finally rose and dragged her up with him.

Around them, the crowd had grown significantly, and Jac couldn't help but preen slightly at the looks of shock on the faces of those who clearly hadn't believe that Charlaine was her lover now—one of her lovers.

Charlaine held his hand out to Mistri. "Give me the book."

Mistri handed it over with an evil grin.

Charlaine read over the list of bets that pertained to what he liked in the bedroom, and heaved a sigh. "Do we seriously have nothing better to do than bet on how submissive or not I am in bed? And who's brilliant idea was it to bring sex toys into the matter? Nevermind, I don't want to know." He flipped idly through a few more pages. "Does the cook know about this bet?" He whistled at another one. "You better hope Lesto never sees this."

"Why do you think we hide the betting book when we don't need it? And made certain he wasn't on the premises before bringing it out?" Mistri asked, and snatched it back. "I don't suppose you can settle that bet?"

"On whether or not Lesto likes to roleplay soldier and pirate with his spouse? No. But you can put me down for definitely does, and they play pirate and captured soldier." He pulled a treasury note from his purse, stole Mistri's pen, and filled out the note before handing both over.

Mistri wrote quickly in the book and tucked the note into a red leather purse at his waist. "The winners of this pot will be able to buy drinks for the whole army by the time it's settled."

"Oh, my god, it's true," said a weak voice.

Jac turned to stare at a wide-eyed woman, clearly a foreigner by that almost translucent white skin and bright red hair, and her heavily accented Harken. "What's true?"

"That you Harkens want to know everything—will discuss anything openly, no matter how improper."

"What's improper about sex?" Jac asked, as baffled as ever that foreigners were so weird about that. "I've seen foreign armies, they talk about all the same stuff." Though it was true they did it furtively.

The woman just shook her head. "It's incredible. If we talked like this back home, we'd be disciplined for gossip and prying into private business."

"Nothing is private in Harkenesten," Charlaine said with a sigh. "And definitely not in the military." He crooked a finger at Jac. "You."

Jac grinned, slow and hot, as she dutifully drew closer to him. "Yes, Captain?"

"Oh, don't go there," Charlaine said. "I'm returning to our suite. Come find me when you're done collecting your ill-gotten gains."

"Excuse you, they were not ill-gotten, unless 'more' and 'harder' are now complaints—" She laughed delightedly as Charlaine swept her up and playfully swatted her ass before settling his arms around her waist. "Will you be waiting for me naked?"

"Guess you'll have to wait and see," Charlaine replied, and kissed her in that utterly filthy, all-consuming way of his that said he would be waiting naked, and he was eager to put his mouth to other uses. He also tasted faintly of Myra's favorite tea, which meant he'd been enjoying other kisses recently. Jac shivered.

When they finally drew apart, it was to howls and taunts and suggestions from the crowd. More than a few people had gathered around Mistri, who was writing furiously while his companions collected the money. Jac would have to find out later what new bets had been placed on her and her lovers—if only because Charlaine would be oddly mortified, like it was still a shock he was a popular subject of gossip.

"We'll be waiting," Charlaine murmured, and gave her a last teasing kiss before slipping away.

Jac admired the view until he was out of sight, then went to collect her winnings. She might not have guessed that he was so fond of oral, but she had rightly guessed that he liked being fucked, was hopelessly weak for breasts, and enjoyed being tied up.

Mistri snickered as she approached, motioning for the others to wait a moment. "Does he know about the new bet?"

"I'm still breathing, so what do you think?" Jac retorted. "Give me the goods."

"All right, all right." Mistri started reading off the bets, and once they were settled, handed off a treasury note for a sum that was many times more than Jac had ever earned as a soldier—and about what she made now in a year as imperial bodyguard.

Life was good.

Resuming her whistling, Jac waved in farewell, pocketed her earnings, and went to join her men.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

A Sad Farewell to an LT3 Author

There are things that have come up, being a publisher, than I did not anticipate though frankly I should have.

One of those, sadly, is the passing of an author.

Early in the year, we were contacted by Robin Gallica, who requested reversion of rights because she had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and didn't want the rights issue to be one more thing for her family to deal with.

She was a new author, who wrote a wonderful fairy tale about a princess and the transgender man she falls in love with, based on one my favorite fairy tales, The Goose Girl. Her fairy tale retained that title.

Working with her was an honor and true pleasure, and she was an author with so much skill and promise. I wish we had gotten to work with her more, and seen her career flourish. We're forever mournful for all the stories that will now never be told.

Above all, though, we're sorry that she never got to finish her own story, and that her loved ones must carry on without her.

Robin will be forever missed, and we hope she rests in peace.

~Less Than Three Press

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

August Roundup

Welcome back to the Harken Empire
------------------------------------------------------------


Mercenaries of the Stolen Moon

The fourth book in the Tales of the High Court is officially up for pre-order (https://lessthanthreepress.com/books/index.php?main_page=product_bookx_info&cPath=92&products_id=1690) . Like the last book, this one brings in a foreign country. Unlike all the others, this one does not focus on nobility, but on soldiers and a certain secretary. I hope you enjoy it when it comes out in November!

Patreon

My patreon is up and running! For those not already familiar, the lowest tier is enjoying the newest Anti-Heroes book, about Byron and Leland. The second-lowest tier gets to read a chapter of Dance in the Storm once a month. And the other tiers have equally awesome offerings. Check it out if you're inclined (https://www.patreon.com/meganderr) ! I've put the blurbs below!

* * *

Close Enough to Touch

Leland has always lived a life apart, never willing to get too close to anyone for fear of what might happen should the wrong people learn just how powerful he really is. Then his own reputation led to a friend paying the price, and he'll do anything to get her back.

Even if it means breaking all his rules to align himself with exactly the kind of troublemakers he'd always avoided as strenuously as he's avoided the G.O.D. Even if it means sharing space with Byron Valentine, the beautiful, mysterious leader of the group fighting to destroy the G.O.D., a man who makes Leland wish he could have the normal life his own abilities have always denied him.

Dance in the Storm

Sable Brennus, Prince of Storms, is not a demon to be trifled with; he has endured hell, centuries trapped in a mirror, and far worse at the hands of overreaching humans who learned too late the price of their arrogance. SHe commands an immense, powerful territory, has the greatest collection of grimoires in the world, and his consort, Christian, is a half-ghost witch that few are stupid enough to cross.

But Christian is also his greatest weakness, and when he is kidnapped Sable is prepared to tear the whole world apart to find him—especially when the price of his return is one of Sable's most dangerous Grimoire's, a book that contains a demon which devours whoever opens it, a demon that is one of the most powerful in existence.

If Sable is going to keep the book out of dangerous hands, and bring Christian home safe, it will take every friend and ally they have—and even a few myths and legends…


* * *

I am also, because I can, giving a shout-out to my marvelous wife and her recent releases - two are rereleases of fairytales she wrote for Fairytales Slashed a few years ago. The other is brand new, about a sleeping princess, and the countess she falls in love with!

* The Dragon of Bellerose Island (https://t.co/LkUgei15Lp)

* The Cursebreaker Countess (https://www.amazon.com/Cursebreaker-Countess-Sasha-L-Miller-ebook/dp/B07G54K2C1/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1534951396&sr=1-3)

* A Charmed Heart (https://t.co/Zu76SQyiTl)

And that's all I have for this month. Everyone have a good September!

~Meg

Monday, July 23, 2018

Women and MM Romance


Let's discuss MM Romance and the women who write it—who are the vast majority of writers within the genre, followed by queer people outside the mainstream binary (that is, they identify as genderfluid, genderqueer, nonbinary, and so forth) and of course transgender people.

First, my credentials, since that is important. My name is Megan Derr, if that wasn't already apparent. I am 36 years old. I've been involved in MM since high school, though back then it was almost entirely slash and yaoi, not the formalized MM Romance (MMR) genre that exists now. But we'll get to that. I am asexual and biromantic, have a wife, two queer sisters, and countless queer friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and peers. I have two BAs – one in History, with a focus on Meiji Japan (I had initially planned to be an academic/professor, a career I noped out of pursuing later). The other, actually relevant, is a BA in East Asian Studies, with a focus on yaoi (more specifically, yaoi and women's sexuality/feminism). I've been writing MMR since 2002, publishing since 2007, and a publisher (at Less Than Three Press) since 2009. TL;DR I do know what I'm talking about.

This is going to be a long post. There's a lot of ground to cover, and I don't want to rush anything. But the primary question we are addressing today is the one at the heart of all the latest posts, comments, blogs, and so forth written by gay men about feeling as though they have no voice in the community and women are just using them for money and masturbation.

So in sum: Are women (and other queer people) appropriating cis gay men/romance/sexuality for their own selfish ends?

The short answer is twofold:

  1. No, nothing is being appropriated
  2. Women are allowed to enjoy things sexually, and only sexually, just as much as men


For the longer answer, we'll have to cover a few things:

  1. Women and Sexuality
  2. Appropriation, MM Romance, and Gay Fiction.
  3. Entitlement and Sexism



PART ONE: WOMEN AND SEXUALITY

I'm not interested in playing Oppression Olympics, let's make that clear. I have fibromyalgia, which means I'm in some degree of pain every single day of my life. That doesn't mean that when my wife complains about her feet hurting that I tell her to suck it up because I have it worse.

But it does mean that there are differences to our pain, and those differences have to be take into consideration when we do things. I can't really help her with a lot of yard work and stuff. I definitely can't mow the lawn (not that I did it more than like twice a year anyway, I hate mowing lawns).

What does this have to do with women?

Gay men have certainly had a horrible time of it, historically speaking. The AIDS epidemic struck that community harder than any other. We have awful words like 'faggot' because of the horrific attitudes toward gay men. At the end of the Holocaust, everyone was set free except the gay men, who were simply moved to new prisons. I could go on for pages simply listing the wrongs that gay men have endured for centuries. It's important that not be dismissed or trivialized. Those hurts and wrongs are very real and deserve to be remembered and respected.

But in all these rants by people like Hans M. Hirschi, SM Collins, and F.E. Feeley Jr. not a single one acknowledges they understand the bigger picture of MMR. That women have a dark and ugly history regarding their sexuality too. And that history has a huge bearing on the path that culminates in MMR.

Name some famous gay men, past and present, as many as you can in say, three minutes.

Bet you can come up with a pretty long list.

Now do the same with famous lesbian women.

That list was probably a lot shorter.

What about for bisexual men? Asexual women? Transgender men? Genderfluid people?

The further you get from cis gay men (important to note: also white, we won't even start on POC and the maltreatment thereof, we'd be here for the rest of the year), the fewer names you know. The Greeks, the Romans, the Samurai, cowboys, and all sorts of artists and writers throughout history—all of these have acknowledged gay cultures/sub-cultures. They're not hard to find. History is FILLED with accounts of men fucking other men, even in times when such was taboo and came with a death sentence.

Where are all the accounts of queer women in those same times? Outside of Sappho, most people probably can't rattle off queer Greek women. What about Romans? Know any queer women in feudal Japan? What about the wild west? Or early America at all (like Boston Marriages). What about Renaissance Italy? Everybody knows of Leonardo and Michelangelo, but what lesbians can you name from that time? You probably thoughts of Oscar Wilde, maybe Byron. But what female contemporaries who were queer can you name?

If you could name several, awesome. That means things are improving. But I think it's a safe bet to say that most people could not rattle off a list of queer women as easily as they could gay (and sometimes bisexual) men. And yes, the phrasing is intentional: between the broader 'queer women' and the narrower 'gay men' still the narrower category wins out.

Why is that?

Because historically women's sexuality is considered a nonentity and/or a moral failing.

Gay men are punished for having gay sex. Women are punished for having sex, period. Throughout history, men could leave their house and have all the sex they wanted, married or not, and nobody saw a problem with that. But a woman who has sex without being married, or who has an affair? Condemned. Trollops. Sluts. Ungodly. Ruined. Women who sold sexual services? Trash. You see the same attitudes today: strippers, prostitutes, etc. are constantly looked down on because they provide a service that men want. Nobody ever condemns the man who goes to the strip club; they condemn the woman on stage.

Gay men are condemned for having the wrong kind of sex. Women are condemned for even acknowledging an interest in sex, or for catering to the sexual demands of the men around them.

And when we're not being punished for having a sex drive, we're simply erased—mostly for being women, but also for being women who dared to have sex and be loud and proud about it. Or do you think it's coincidence that H.G. Wells and Jules Verne are considered the fathers of science fiction, even though Mary Shelley's Frankenstein predates them by almost 100 years? Margaret Cavendish published The Blazing World in 1666, but you almost never hear mention of her. That's just one example of women being erased and ignored, and they were both straight to my knowledge. When queer women do anything, they're often rewritten as straight if they're acknowledged at all.

If you don't believe me, look at the way some sports stars were treated by the news in the past couple of years. When Collin Martin took to the field to play a few days after coming out as gay, he was given a standing ovation. After winning an incredible victory and rushing over to kiss her wife, Abby Wambach was first written in reports as celebrating with a friend. It was only later, after outrage, that that mainstream media acknowledged she was queer and kissing her wife. Gay man shows up to work, gets a standing ovation; queer woman wins an incredible victory, gets called straight.

Throughout history, women have been consistently punished and thrown out simply for existing, for simply wanting to enjoy sex the way men have. This has led to a lot of sexism, overt and internalized, in men and women (much like racism is deeply impeded in cultures, to the point we don't even realize some of what we say and do is racist as hell).

But women make do, and have found various outlets throughout the years to express and enjoy their sexuality as best they can. One of the ways they do this currently is via yaoi, slash, and MM.

Yaoi has taken a lot of hits over the years, mostly rightfully, for a lot of its problematic elements (one of those being rape, yaoi is filled with alarming amounts of rape). But it's important to note that yaoi is a Japanese thing that made its way overseas, and eventually overlapped with slash, but slash developed wholly on its own here in the States. Most consider the start of slash to be Star Trek, with the classic Kirk/Spock pairing (the name slash in fact comes from that slash, which differentiated gay pairings from straight pairings). Long before the internet, women typed up and printed and photocopied volumes of stories—what came to be called fanzines, or zines, and mailed them to each other, traded at conventions, and so forth (an interesting parallel to doujinshi culture, which for the sake of brevity, are basically the Japanese comic equivalent of fanfiction).

This is the first argument against women coopting gay culture. It was developed 100% separate from it, by women who saw a compelling couple (or couples, or threesomes, or whatever) and wanted to explore it—romantically, sexually, however. For many women, MM is a way to explore and enjoy their sexuality without all the baggage that comes with being a woman. That is a vitally important point. When you spend your entire life ingesting things like:

He acts like a girl
I'm not like other girls
She dresses like a slut
I'm saving myself for marriage
Sit like a lady
A lady doesn't talk like that
Men don't like it when you do that
Your boyfriend won't like it if you cut your hair
She was asking for it
If you dress like that you're going to get raped
I heard she's slept with lots of guys
You're such a bitch
Don't be such a girl about it
Stop being a drama queen
He's acting like a princess

And much more, what you want most is a way to be free of all that shit. This is not a problem that men have ever faced and would ever understand. Men have never been punished for being sexual, only for having the wrong kind of sex (sex that, basically, makes them "too womanly," as is best demonstrated in the fact that "non-masculine" men like twinks, flamers, etc. are looked down on, as well as those who prefer to bottom or like to wear panties and so forth. And the way cis gay men treat trans men, GQ, and non-binary people is often even more horrific).

Some women enjoy reading romance novels with het relationships, but others prefer to read MMR because for them het MF simply comes with too much baggage.

It's also important to remind everyone here that more than cis women inhabit MMR. Genderfluid people, transgender people, and so forth all have their own reasons for preferring MMR to het MF. The latest wave of anger was in fact started because a genderfluid author wrote about why mpreg was so important to them.

Again, I am not belittling or dismissing the pain that gay men have endured. But a common theme amongst all the angry posts written by them is that women are appropriating their culture, their lives, without considering all the pain and horror they've endured.

But not once have any of those men seemed to consider the painful history that women, as a whole, have endured, and why that might affect what they read, write, and enjoy (in any medium). Men turn to FF only to get off. Women turn to MM to enjoy romance, enjoy stories, and sometimes, yes, to get off without the painful baggage that reading MF and FF often brings.

At no point in history have cis men, as a whole, had to turn to FF to be able to enjoy themselves and their own sexuality because enjoying MF was too difficult or painful.

Which leads to the next point.


PART TWO: APPROPRIATION, MM ROMANCE, AND GAY FICTION

I'm not going to linger long here, mostly because I'm not fit to. I'm a cis white women, and we occupy that awful space of being both oppressed and oppressor, something too many of us like to pretend isn't the case. White women have a long, ugly history of demanding equality for themselves while stomping all over POC, especially WOC, while taking from them those things we like and claiming all the credit, which is some breathtaking hypocrisy.

But the main argument lobbed around this week is that we are appropriating gay men/culture for own our pleasure and money.

I've already covered in the previous point how that's entirely true, but let's flesh it out.

One of the mistakes people make is that MMR is a part of gay fiction. This isn't true. Gay fiction is its own entity, populated and enjoyed predominantly by gay men, and coming primarily from literary fiction., which includes love stories.

MM Romance sprang from slash, yaoi, and evolved as a subgenre of romance, which means it began life with all the tropes, styles, trends, etc of romance (and of genre fiction in general).

These are very different categories. The expectations of literature have next to nothing in common with those of genre fiction. And nothing makes that more apparent than the difference between 'love stories' and 'romance.'

I'll stick with some het examples for this one.

Most people are pretty familiar with at least two love story authors: Jojo Moyes of Me Before You fame, and Nicholas Sparks of The Notebook (and several other books) fame. These are love stories. One of their key traits is that they seldom end happily; most are bittersweet at best. Love stories are closer in style and goal to literature than they are to genre fiction.

Literary fiction is hard to give a precise definition to, and most of the ones you can find can basically be summed up as "better than genre fiction." One particularly contentious definition is 'having literary merit' (seriously?) and another prize one is 'has value or merit in the social world.' Yet another is 'emphasizes meaning over entertainment.'

I think the general takeaway here is that literature is regarded by and large as social commentary first, and everything else second. Genre fiction definitely offers social commentary, but isn't obligated to, and also acknowledges people want to have fun with what they read most of the time.

Probably still not a great definition. My point is that literature plays by very different rules, and love stories are closer to literary fiction than to romance.

Literature is also predominantly by men, as most categories and genres are.

Romance (along with YA and chick lit) is dominated by women. This is important.

Romance, or more specifically genre romance, is defined as (by the RWA):

Two basic elements comprise every romance novel: a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending. 
A Central Love Story: The main plot centers around individuals falling in love and struggling to make the relationship work. A writer can include as many subplots as he/she wants as long as the love story is the main focus of the novel.
An Emotionally Satisfying and Optimistic Ending: In a romance, the lovers who risk and struggle for each other and their relationship are rewarded with emotional justice and unconditional love. 
Romance novels may have any tone or style, be set in any place or time, and have varying levels of sensuality—ranging from sweet to extremely hot. These settings and distinctions of plot create specific subgenres within romance fiction

Love stories have to obey none of that, save there is a couple involved. And MMR, which was largely sprung from fanfiction, follows all of the conventions of genre romance.

Gay romance, as in those stories primarily written by and for gay men? Come from the literary end of the spectrum. Part of this is because for a long time queer books couldn't really be published unless they were miserable (the infamous Bury Your Gays trope that still exists in most mediums) and essentially "punished" for being not straight.

But the other reason is that it was written that way because they're men, who wanted nothing to do with the garbage romance drivel enjoyed by airheaded women. Romance keeps publishing in money – it draws the most money of any genre by far, at 1.44 billion. The next genre down? Crime/mystery at 728.2 million. Literature? Not even in the top five.

And yet it's romance that is constantly derided. Sneered at. Dismissed. Called garbage. Romance authors often get asked "why don't you write real books?" and other awful, demeaning questions. Men who write het romance tend to do so under female pennames and don't advertise they do so.

So gay fiction, including gay romance, is heavily influenced by male-dominated literary and general fiction, and MMR is heavily influenced by genre romance. The only place those two converge, sort of but not really, is in love stories, where, you guessed it, a man is the most famous writer (Nicholas Sparks).

This not a past trend. It continues strong to this day. Men do not want to be lumped in with women. At a convention I once attended, a cis gay author was asked why he wrote romance, and he replied "I don't write romance, I write love stories" even though it was a romance convention, populated by romance authors and readers, and all his books follow the hallmarks of romance books and are published by romance publishers. Men do not want to be associated with women, even as they show up to profit and otherwise benefit from a genre we built.

Because make no mistake, MMR as it looks today was built and shaped by women. From the earliest days of slash and yaoi, when it was labeled slash, m/m, m/m romance, and yaoi on various sites like ff.net and others long vanished, until the founding of Torquere Press in 2003 made it an official genre, where it was written, published, and marketed as part of the romance genre. When Dreamspinner Press opened in 2006, it followed all the same conventions. Before all else, MMR is romance and romance has always been woman-centric. Gay men, like most men, had little to nothing to do with romance until very recent history, with the rise of MMR. Straight men certainly have next to nothing to do with it.

So to say that women appropriated or coopted MMR from gay men is grossly inaccurate. It was inevitable that MMR and gay fiction/love stories would cross paths, but they've been two different entities from their inception.

Gay fiction is predominantly by and for gay men. It was developed from literature, and the trends and conventions therein. It's also influenced by literary requirements/trends that stories about queer people must be punished for being so, and molded by the awful history and present that gay men suffer for daring to not be straight. It focuses on being gay, the gay community, and so forth. These books are gay-centric first, and everything else second.

MMR is predominantly by and for women and queer people, some who simply enjoy reading about two men having sex, but also a great many people who aren't always comfortable expressing and enjoying their own sexuality via MF and FF focused books. It follows the conventions and expectations of the romance genre it's part of, meaning an emphasis on romantic relationships and an emotionally positive and satisfying ending. While they are certainly about queer people, and sometimes the difficulties of being queer, they are romances first.

And this brings us to the final section of this post.


PART THREE: ENTITLEMENT AND SEXISM

Let's tackle the simplest point first: the complaint that women only write MM to get off.

Why exactly is that a problem? Don't gay men use MM to get off? Don't straight men use FF to get off? Don't women and other people use MF and MM and MF and whatever else to get off? So why is it a problem that women and queer people not cis gay men use MM to get off? Why is it only when women are sexually enjoying themselves that men start to get angry? It's not a matter of staying in your lane, because then gay men would be equally angry that straight men use anything other than MF to get off, and lesbians use anything but FF to get off, and they complain about neither. Only about women using MM to get off.

As usual, it's only when women are owning and enjoying their sexuality the way they want instead of the way men tell them to, that men get angry.

So this point is frankly hypocritical and ridiculous. Sexuality is diverse and complicated, and nobody has any right to get angry about what others use to get off (unless it's bring real harm to real people, such as pedophilia).

Which brings us to the next point.

White cis men comprise the most privileged group on earth, and being gay does not absolve them of that privilege, any more than being a queer woman strips me of the privilege that comes from being white.

I'm not denying the problems that exist in MMR. There have been plenty of instances of fetishizing, of women who are homophobic in life enjoying the "dirty" thrill of writing/reading MMR. Of sexual harassment of cover models and porn stars at conventions. The problematic elements of the 'gay for you' trope, the way so many books contain things like forced blowjobs but don't treat them like the rape they are. These are only a few examples, and they need to be better addressed than they have been thus far.

But to say an entire genre is a problem because of bad elements is to basically condemn everything under the sun as wrong because nothing on earth is without problematic elements. Not your favorite person, book, or movie. Even my cats aren't perfect, although Kerberus comes really close.

This latest round started with someone who wanted to talk about why writing mpreg (one of the most contentious elements of MMR) meant so much to them. The comments that have come from gay men (some of them, I want to stress that other gay men have been nothing but supportive and don't deserve the misery brought on by the few) have been distressing, but unsurprising. I've already responded to SA Collins, so I'm not going to rehash him. We're going to focus on three others, and why what they say is so troubling, and what it has to do with the larger matter. We'll start with Liam 'rape comment' Livings:


Think about that. A person makes a heartfelt personal post about what mpreg means to them and a gay man, instead of just chiming in with reasons why he doesn't like it, but can understand why other people might (something many other commenters said) comments with 'I'll just write about women raping each other, first vaginally and then anally and how romantic it is.'

Which was not remotely related to what OP said. A genderfluid person says 'this thing mean a lot to me' and a gay man replies with 'how about if I write about women getting raped, then you'll see how it feels when people write about this thing nobody is making me read.'

And that's not an uncommon reaction with men. A frequent comment that comes up with discussions of equality is 'so if women are equal now does that mean it's okay to hit them?' and when women rant or rave or otherwise dare to talk without bothering to be polite and demure, a depressingly common reply is 'I'm going to come to your house and rape you.'

I once received a DM from a complete stranger who said, 'I'm going to come to your house, tie you up, and throw you in the trunk of my car.' I reported it to FB, who said it wasn't a violation of their policies. A man threatens to kidnap me and he's allowed to carry on without even being banned from FB for a few days.

Somebody who is not a cis man simply says, 'this is why I like X' and a cis man replies with 'well I'm going to write about women getting raped.' He never retracted those words, either. he just doubled down and refused to listen when people tried to correct his misunderstandings regarding the genre and point out why what he'd said was ignorant/harming.







  

What did all this result in for Liam "rape comment" Livings? Pretty much nothing. He just deleted his comments, walked away, and a couple of days later got around to making a shitty non-apology (exactly like SA Collins did) wherein he says bringing the raping of women into the discussion was a "knee-jerk" reaction, which is frankly so distressing that I hope I'm never in a position I have to trust him with my safety.

Now on to our next exhibit, the post of Hans M. Hirschi, well-known in MMR circles for being sexist.

Frankly, his entire post is awful, and filled with ignorance about the romance genre as a whole, not to mention conventions and other components of the business (why never bakers, etc. on the covers of books? Because bakers make their living baking, not being cover models. Same with porn stars – they star in porn, and often do other such work, so they'd be familiar with at least some of the elements of romance/erotica and wouldn't look down on what is essentially paying customers, unlike tax accountants and so forth).

But there are a couple of parts I want to focus on. First, this one:

If anyone were to actually read this, I’d be accused of hating romance, and they might not be entirely wrong. I’ve really begun to dislike the genre as a whole, but not because I dislike love stories, it’s because of the many rules regarding sex in romance and particularly the appropriation of gay men in M/M

Do you notice the qualification? Love stories, not romance. As I mentioned in the previous section, people who don't want to be lumped in with romance writers (but still like the money they think all romance writer make) love to qualify they write 'love stories' and not romance. Even though fairly often their books are, in fact, romance.

Because of the many rules regarding sex in romance

That would be the genre rules, though I've read so many books (MM, FF, MF, MMF, FFM, and more) – that I can honestly say the only hard and fast rule for sex is that it must be consensual to some degree (this is where you get into dubious consent, a staple largely of yaoi but which also has popularity in slash and MM circles) unless the book is heavily focused on consent issues (slave fic being the primary type of story in this category) and related topics.

The next part I want to discuss:

So where do stories about real men go? Those of us (regardless of gender) who write outside the M/M sea label them "gay fiction", but now even that is contested because some of the M/M authors claim that if “M/M is about fiction primarily for women, then I’m not an M/M author. I write gay fiction!” Thank you very much. Now you've just taken our last refuge. I feel like the proverbial Indian being evicted from his reservation! No offense to my native American friends, but you get the point. These people don’t care about us, they care about their balance sheet, and gay men are the pen(ises) to balance their checkbook. #CulturalAppropriation

For the record, there is a lot of confusion and frustration within MMR because so many (men, women, cis, trans, etc) do write books they feel don't belong under the MMR heading – and rightfully so. But MMR is really the only place they can go and be seen, so that's where they go, and both they and readers are left frustrated. This is not a problem unique to gay men, though certainly I can understand the frustration stated here.

I'm not even touching on his "real men" comment, suffice to say it's one more element of the sexism I'm discussing.

I'm mostly focused on the grossly offensive, impressively hypocritical appropriation comments. Worse, it’s not unique to Hirschi, but is in fact an attitude frequently found amongst gay men. Livings even had something to say on the matter:



His experience "may" be wrong. He's cis, he's male, he's white. Being gay doesn't erase that, and being gay and feeling appropriated doesn't mean it's all right to compare how you think fictional gay men are treated to how very real Native Americans were slaughtered and herded until white people were finally content to leave the few that were left alone(ish). It doesn't mean it's okay to threaten women and genderfluid people with rape, even fictional, hypothetical rape.

On to my last exhibit, F.E. Feeley Jr., who thinks MMR is just 'homophobia without the bible verses' which… plenty of homophobia exists without bible verses, but I'll let that one go.

Once you parse through the badly written …whatever that is, you can somewhat ascertain that a man walks into a bathroom where an “Omega” (the one supposed to get pregnant by his alpha) is so “in heat” that he has to bang himself with a vibrator.  It’s pretty gross this idea of dehumanizing someone. The concept of alpha male/ omega male is nothing more than the literary way of walking into a redneck bar with your boyfriend and a well-meaning but slightly inebriated associate asks, “Which one’s the guy and which one’s the girl?” And I think I’m being nice.

He's not being nice. At all. Again, this is an example of a man who ignores all the nuance and history behind a genre, especially since he says that MMR has only been around for ten years.

It's interesting, the vitriol, the violence, that has come from these men regarding mpreg – because all them, to the letter, have spouted horrific things about and to the people who enjoy mpreg. Why is that?

Because sexism. Because pregnancy is generally regarded as a viscerally cis female thing, and the absolute worst thing you can call a man is a woman (slut, bimbo, girly, whore, you're such a girl, stop acting like a woman, bitch beer, girly drinks; the way men have to be male nurses, mannys, wear manbuns and manties, so they're masculine and very much separate from their womanly roots).

What is mpreg? This post is 5000 words long as of this sentence, and I could write at least that much on mpreg alone.

The most basic elements of mpreg is simply that a cis male or cis male equivalent (if the pregnant character is an alien where human definitions and constraints may not apply) gets pregnant, often through highly unconventional means (conventional for this sake means 'doesn't have a uterus or equivalent'). But there is a lot of nuance and variety to the sub-genre.

The most prolific type of this story is called ABO, where people are divided into Alpha, Betas, and Omegas, with Omegas being the cis males who can get pregnant. An almost-universal element of these stories is that the Omegas (and sometimes the others, but always the Omegas) go into heat and the only relief comes from fucking (be it another person, a toy, whatever). Some verses include birth control type drugs, some don't.

Livings' rape comment possibly sprung, at least in some small part, from the fact most of these ABO books deal heavily with consent. It's not uncommon for an Omega to have a horrific past filled with rape and abuse (they're often regarded as 'less'), to live with worries of being too ugly, too used up, too old, etc. to ever find true love, a happy home, loving family, etc. For them to constantly struggle to be seen and treated as equals, instead of always as less, and often not even as human.

Does this sound familiar to anyone? Does anybody reading this see what these stories could possibly parallel? Sometimes it's intentional, sometimes not (and sometimes people just want to write a kinky story about a dude crazed with the need for sex that only another hot man can fix. I've watched porn. I know 'sex-crazed' is not a premise unique to women writing/reading ABO MM fic).

I'm barely touching the surface of mpreg and ABO fiction. It's a category that doesn't get the credit it deserves, probably because it's A) mostly written by women and queer people who are not cis gay men; and B) it puts men in a "womanly" position, which men have a long and sordid history of finding repulsive (or are we going to ignore how often gay men describe vaginas and breasts as 'gross' and call themselves gold-star gays if they've never interacted with a vagina? And don't worry, I think gold-star lesbians are equally awful).

What do all these screenshots and quotes demonstrate?

That cis gay men, broadly speaking, think they are entitled to MMR and that women should not be encroaching on it unless they write what and how cis gay men tell them to. Even though MMR as a genre was built by and for women and queer people, and originated with slash and yaoi, whereas gay fiction has always been the domain of cis gay men and originates with literary fiction.

That cis gay men, broadly speaking, are privileged, are sexist, and both of these things show through in the hostility they display when speaking to and about women in MMR. Nothing demonstrates this more than the vitriol that rose up from cis gay men when a single person simply posted briefly about how much a small category in MMR meant to them, a post that hurt no one and simply demonstrated all the nuance that MMR can and does contain. Instead of appreciating that and having a discussion about viewpoints, the goods and bads of various tropes/premises/etc. they made it all about them, the cis gay men, and ignored everything that was said regarding genderfluidity and exploring one's self, and how much such things mean to people who do not identify as straight or cis.

In summary, no single part of literature (in its broadest sense of 'books') belongs to any one person or group. Care should always be taken when an author writes outside their own bounds (like a white person writing about POC, or an abled person writing disabled characters), but we all come to the stories we write by different paths, for different reasons.

Women have, throughout the course of history, been punished simply for existing. Even cis gay men have a long history of treating us like objects, from marrying a woman for convenience before popping off to spend time with a lover, uncaring at how neglected and hurt their wives felt, to the disgusting history of 'fag hags' and threatening things like rape, real or fictional, the moment their temper is up.

Since so much of that treatment was internalized, many of us turned, ironically enough, to men to enjoy those things we were punished for enjoying as simply ourselves. Because we can explore safely, and with far less censure, those things we couldn't explore with spouses, lovers, friends, or even by enjoying het romances.

To the cis gay men who say that we've stolen their house and should obey or move out of their way, I say:

No. We built this house. It's our safe space to simply be. All are welcome, the more the merrier, and gay men definitely should not be entirely ignored and dismissed.

But it was men who drove us to build this house, and we'll be damned if they turn around and take it from us like they have so much else.

If you can't respect us, all the work we've done, and all the reasons we built this house to begin with?

You move.






SOURCES

This comprises a very small number of relevant resources. I no longer possess many of my old books, some sources simply aren't available anywhere I can find, and I've already spent a lot of hours I didn't have on this and there is work I really really need to be getting done. If there is someone willing to contribute further resources in the comments, I'd be eternally grateful. ~M












Yearning Void and Infinite Potential: Online Slash Fandom as Queer Female Space by Alexis Lothian, Kristina Busse, and Robin Anne Reid

Fanfic and Feminism by Morgan Britt









HEA or GTFO

There are certain arguments/attitude problems that the romance genre deals with on a regular basis. They crop up so often, in the same worn...