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Point of View: Gay Gay Gay Gay Gay

Gay gay gay

I’m an out gay man.

I lived for two decades in the closet, ashamed of who I was. I knew I was different when I was five or six, and by the time I was fourteen, I knew what to call it. Gay.

And I knew what others called it. Queer. Homosexual. Peverted. And the “F” word I still have a hard time bringing myself to say.

It wasn’t until I was twenty-three that I finally came out and claimed it – and stood before the world proud of who I was. I’ve never looked back.

And yet, sometimes I want to take a little break from being an Ambassador for the Gay Nation and just be me. Not gay me. Just me.

I may have brought this on myself. After all, Mark and I run Purple Roofs (a queer travel site), Gay Realty Network (a queer real estate site), Queer Sci Fi, QueeRomance Ink, the Queer Sacramento Author’s Collective, and a number of other explicitly LGBTQ+ sites and services.

But still…

This came up for me because we launched a new site in 2020 called Liminal Fiction – for short. It’s a “mainstream” site, although it’s very LGBTQ+ friendly.

And time and time again, I get authors telling me that they don’t think their books are good fit because they aren’t queer and/or don’t have major LGBTQ+ characters. To which I patiently explain that LimFic, while LGBTQ+ friendly, is a mainstream site, and we welcome everyone. Even straight authors.

And yet, they assume this – and likely everything I do – is LGBTQ+ related.

It made me wonder. Who built this wall between queer and straight fiction? And who maintains it? Am I partially to blame because I run queer sites?

I have spent years trying to break down barriers on our various websites. Straight, progressive folks use our travel site to find open-minded accommodations. We welcome straight but friendly real estate agents on our realty site. QueeRomance Ink welcomes not only traditional romance books but any fiction title that features a queer relationship.

And although my books have queer characters, they also have mainstream appeal.

And yet, when I step out of the safe confines of my LGBTQ+ box, people have a hard time getting it.

A long time ago, a Jewish friend and I had a conversation about our identities, and found we had something in common. No matter how much you try to be like everyone else, to blend in, don’t worry. someone will always step in to remind you that you’re gay. Or Jewish. or trans. Or whatever makes you stand out from the crowd.

Maybe that’s just the way it is. Maybe we are who we are, and like my twenty-three year old self, we have to step up and own it.

But maybe, just maybe, we are more than one thing. And if we keep trying, if we’re lucky we can transcend the walls that have been built around us, even if some of them are those we have built to protect ourselves.

I’m a gay writer, but I write straight characters too. I’m also an American and a Californian. I’m a carnivore who mostly only eats chicken and likes vegetarian dishes. I’m a web designer and a decent singer, a husband and a mostly agnostic Christian. And around the holidays, I’m a really good baker.

Maybe it’s time to stop being confined by one aspect of who we are, even as we continue to celebrate it. Maybe it’s time to let everyone just be messy and intersectional… and human.

I will if you will.

To all my friends, tell me what your messy mixed-up pieces are. 🙂

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