Friday, July 20, 2018

My response to SA Collins's "apology" regarding his behavior and comments on Leta's recent post about mpreg.

His comments are in red. My responses are in black. Troll-like comments will be deleted with prejudice.

Update on my thoughts post my wild flare up yesterday. For the record, I am not proud of how it went down. But here are my thoughts after sleeping on it: I handled it poorly, I realize that. But I saw that post and just saw RED. I am not proud of how it went down. But

See, if you have to qualify your (non-existent) apology with 'but' then you're not apologizing at all. This is literally called a non-apology. Google it.

what it did explain to me is that I am not meant to even associate with that community of writers.

No, that is not what it explained. What it explained was that if you're going to lash out and say awful things, you're going to get called out.

The gay men that are having issue with all of this is because we are constantly shut down for our feelings about characters from within our own community.

You mean the way gay men constantly shut down all the things women say about this being about far more than gay men fucking to us? Did you miss the part where the original author EXPLICITLY SAID that she liked to write mpreg because she's genderfluid? Like, I'm sorry her reasons for writing MM don't line up with your reasons, but that doesn't mean her feelings and motives and goals are any less valid.

All under the blanket of "it's fiction" and "I'm an oppressed group too (women)" and while both of those are true, it doesn't excuse the fetishization of gay men in those stories or how we're blown out of proportion at cons where it is closer to a hen party at a gay nightclub and things get way out of hand - all in the name of "good fun."

I mean, I'm not going to deny there is a problem with fetishizing in the genre. This is a discussion that's been happening since the dawn of slash and yaoi, and probably well before then. But one, ALL cons have these sorts of things? Know what else is full of cocks and glorifying gay men (often to the exclusions of all else)? PRIDE. You think a ridiculous romance convention is bad, try going to pride, where you'll get to enjoy seeing men wearing dildo dresses and many other amazing sites. Why is it okay at pride but not a convention that celebrates queer romance?

Should women be grabbing the cover models or touching men without permission or otherwise harassing them? Hell no. That shit is not okay. All conventions should have a zero harassment policy and anyone who disobeys it gets thrown out. I personally do not care for all the penis knitting and strippers and all else. Mostly it's an ace thing. But there are plenty of people who have fun with that, because in their day to day lives they can't celebrate being a romance/erotica/etc writer and that's what they do at these conventions. Exactly like they do at pride. And no, it's not different, because entire swaths of romance writers are queer, or are allies, exactly the same demographic that shows up at pride.

We are at a point where our very existence is on the line here. That fear is great and eats at us constantly.

You think the rest of the queer community doesn't suffer these things? I'm sorry, but that is highly privileged and ego-centric. There is more than G in the queer community, and ALL of us live in fear of a great many things, up to and including being murdered.

The anger and venom is born from the way that fetishization keeps escalating to the point of absolute absurdity. And all the while the half-naked (sometimes fully naked) posts keep going up. Then we (gay men) are hit back with - "well, women have been dealing with the male gaze leering at us - so turnabout fair play."

Anyone who says turnabout is fair play is, frankly, an asshole. But the majority of women just want to be allowed to enjoy things, to read, and write, without men telling us what we should be doing and how we should be doing. Ever notice that no one ever tells straight women they can't write men? No one ever tells men they can't write women. Literally the only group harassed this much about who and what they write are women (or anyone not cis enough by men's standards) by men. So yeah, we get fed up after a point.

Like yes, own voices and such is important. Especially for minorities, who so often get shoved aside so us white people can tell their story instead. However, that doesn't mean we can't write things. Interestingly, I wrote a story about a transman who gets pregnant. It's one of my most popular books – the most popular in the High Court series, in fact. I'm cis. I also wrote about abuse, none of the main characters were white, and many other things that are, strictly speaking, outside my purview. Because no single genre or premise or trope or anything belongs to anyone person. Do I need to be writing a story about the struggle of Native Americans? Hell, no. But can I write a story that includes Native American characters? Yes.

Uh, you'd think then that those women would be far MORE sensitive about turning that gaze in our direction - but no. We're just shut down and ignored. It's a case where we just can't win.

Are you sure you're shut down and ignored because women are insensitive? Are you really sure? Because what I see most often is writers who take their craft damned seriously. It's hard to write a romance novel if you don't care about people. There are always exceptions, you see them in het and sapphic fiction and YA and everything else. But by and large, MM writers are in fact pretty damn good at writing PEOPLE. But it's also important to remember that we bring our experiences, wishes, wants, and goals to the table. Just because they don't line up with what gay men want doesn't mean we're being dismissive or insensitive.

The problem here is that too many gay men seem to think MM romance should belong to them and only them. But that's not true of any genre or subgenre. Plenty of men write romance, you might be surprised to learn. Usually under pennames, but so what? Most authors I know use pennames, for varied reasons that are valid. Plenty of queer people write straight romance. Huge swaths of lesbian erotica are written by men. Do you see women whining and complaining that they shouldn't do that? No. Because no genre belongs to any single group, and the reasons women enjoy MM go way, way beyond 'it's hot'.

Leta Blake writes mpreg because of her genderfluidity. I tend to write extremely emotional characters because I'M emotional, and it's something I felt I've been punished for by society and various communities all my life. I once wrote a book where a character attempts suicide because my brother's attempts at suicide haunted me. I write MM because sometime het romance just strikes bad chords with me. Because I feel more at home in queer romance, and for decades MM was all that you could really find unless you wanted Bury Your Gays.

Very few people in MM can do it for the money. Most of us do it for deeply personal reasons we shouldn't have to explain to anyone. Some of us do it because yes, it's hot, and that's a perfectly valid reason. Cis gay men can post pictures of half-naked men all over their blogs, use them as twitter banners, but the moment we do it we're just gross fetishists who should do as the men tell us? I don't think so.

To see MM book recs where requests are so completely tone-deaf in how they are looking for the "next read" is truly disheartening. It's like what check boxes do I want to read today. It categorizes us and we have to see that. And when we raise the issue - even in a calm collected manner - we are immediately cast aside. And that anger builds. I bu

Um. Do you know how genre fiction works? Literally ALL genre fiction works this way. It's not an MM thing.

"I'm looking for a medieval-ish farm girl turned hero fantasy but with no magic."
"I'm looking for hard sci-fi with ghost in the machine and stranded travelers"
"I'm looking for secret baby friends to lovers."
"Anyone know of an urban fantasy where humans know about the paranormal and a human and elf have to cooperate to solve a murder?"
"I'm looking for a trapped together, one of them is a killer suspense"
"I'm looking for a YA boarding school murders"
"Is there an MM may/december about a grandfather and an ex-SEAL?"

I NEVER said she should only write what I stated. To my mind, it was a missed opportunity. That's what I was trying to do in the midst of my anger.

Well, let's go over these comments of his, while we're here.

Personally I've never liked MM Romance - most of it is laughable in the extreme.

Condescending and dismissive of the hard work that writers put in, and all the readers who enjoy their work. This is also a pretty typical opinion held by people (predominantly men) about romance in general. Also the same comments you get on what is termed 'chick-lit' and YA, the other two genres dominated by women writers.

Like, I'm not sure why I should listen to someone who clearly already holds me in contempt and thinks my writing is, in his terms, nothing but "paperdolls"

(has Collins ever read most of general literature? Because I have some news about the likes of Salinger, et al.)

Then why not write about YOUR segment of the community and give them a voice?

Hey, homes, here's an interesting tidbit: NOTHING ELSE SELLS. Nothing else is taken as seriously or considered as interesting as MM. I just released an FF book that I think is cute and fun, but it hasn't sold a tenth as well as my MM stories do. And my recent trilogy? That had two MMF stories and one MMM? Guess which book sold the most? I could write the same premise twice, one MM, one FF, and I promise you the MM book would be loved and the FF would be accused of being boring and predictable and "just not my thing."

With rare exception, nobody gives FF or trans or anything else the time of day. Because mostly sexism, and also rampant queerphobia (of which a lot of gay men are guilty, nobody has been crueler to other queer people the way cis white gay men have, though they are followed by cis white lesbians, which correlates with the fact that white people are usually the problem).

And most writers want, you know, a career and money to buy groceries and maybe something nice once in awhile. That’s not a crime.

NEXT POINT: not everyone in the queer community is comfortable writing about their own demographic, for an entire host of reasons. I enjoy everything. Yes, I've written mostly MM to this point, partly because I do need to eat, but also because that's where most of the fiction was for a long long time. Some women don't like writing/reading about women, some people don't like reading MF. I have friends who are deeply uncomfortable reading about women having sex, for reasons that are none of your business.

It's interesting. When my brother plays WoW, his favorite character is female. Nobody thinks that's weird. But when my mom plays as one of her male characters, she catches all kinds of hell (nevermind my mom has something of a legendary status in WoW she's so good at it)

And a lot of the things that gay men say to women in MM remind me a lot of that stupid double standard my mother endures.

So don't ask people why they don't write for their section of the queer community. One, you don't always know what their section is, and two, sometimes people just want to write something that has a chance of selling until they're on solid enough career footing they CAN write the books they really want. Plenty of authors have done this, including Dickens, Poe, and Doyle. Funny nobody lambasts men when they do anything for money.

Why keep appropriating men for your personal, professional and monetary gains? And let's be clear: it's ALL ABOUT THE MONEY. It's simply that MM romance sells.

I already covered this, really, but the funny part is that most authors barely break even, if they manage to, and only a tiny percentage of writers make enough at their writing to live on. Most can just splurge on starbucks or cover a small bill or two. And that's true of writers in general. Very very few make even decent money at it. So while yeah, MM does sell better than FF, etc it doesn't even come close to what het romance writers make, not even close to what fantasy, mystery, etc. authors make. So this is an empty, ignorant remark spoken by somebody who is not terribly informed about the nitty gritty of the genre.

You claim to be a member of the community then ask yourself, what can I do to augment and support MY part of the community and give voice to non-gender, trans, fluid character as the FOCAL point - not some side character so you can stay smack dab in the middle of MM because it sells? Now there's a thought. Takers? Anyone?

Umm. Lots of authors these days have ace, demi, pan, bi, trans, and more. If you'd like recs, I'm happy to provide them. I'd go ahead and add them but this post is already too long.

And if a reasoned conversation happens now that I've raged, then I am fully willing to take the hit to the chin for this community. I'll fall on the sword so the real conversation can be had with respect and dignity all the way around.

Well, here is your reasoned conversation. And it's not falling on the sword when you're the one who messed up in the first place. It's called atoning. But given you never once said "I apologize for my behavior" you haven't really done that either.


  1. "Funny nobody lambasts men when they do anything for money."

    Especially funny when gay men appropriate female identities to write 'the sort of M/M women like / makes money'. Then they're lauded. Or when they appropriate female identities to step into a traditionally female genre such as Cozy Mysteries and still insist it 'isn't for the money' to their M/M readers... even though they quit writing M/M altogether because the Cozies pay way better.

    But the moment women write for money? God, the wailing and gnashing of teeth!

    1. "Or when they appropriate female identities to step into a traditionally female genre such as Cozy Mysteries and still insist it 'isn't for the money' to their M/M readers... even though they quit writing M/M altogether because the Cozies pay way better."

      This!! No one castigates these authors, do they?


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