This won’t be an easy post for me… After having argued that M/M romance is not gay fiction and that some of the perspectives in M/M romance are as remote from gay experience as lesbian porn for straight men is from lesbian life, a plea may seem to come for the wrong person.
However, I do trust that M/M readers will have the acumen to see that I am representing what has come to be a minority within the minority, and minorities need to say it as it is. I also trust that M/M readers are friends of the gay community, and in this, they shouldn’t just fantasise about gay men, but should also try to understand them with an open mind. And the only way to do so is by listening to them. Imagine we are all at a big Gay Pride demonstration, would you not listen to what an LGBT person has to say? Wouldn’t you find it interesting to find out what they have to say about themselves, even if what they have to say does not match your fantasies, even if their voices will sound, naturally, different from the ones you are used to hearing?
The truth is that there are many of you and fewer of us. The truth is that M/M romance sells by the bucketful, while gay fiction is struggling to get noticed. My plea is the plea of a friend to a friend, and I am not a fair weather friend, nor a friend that tells you what you want to hear, but a real friend, one who is ready to express opinions that may be unwelcome, one who brings issues to your attention, not sweep them under the carpet. The choice remains yours, whether to give my opinions a go, or decide that you prefer to disregard my points. But I believe that friends can get on well even having different tastes. Actually, I believe the world would be boring if we only had one point of view. Friends are meant to enrich your life, not stroke your ego.
Here is my plea: every now and then, try a gay book. I’m not asking you to stop reading M/M, but to try something different, yet something coming from the very people you fantasise about. It’s fine to read that we are sexually incredible, and I can read it as a compliment, but what we are is much more than sex machines: we are human beings, with a variety of facets, many different sides to our personality, sides that we would like you to know. maybe that could even enhance your appreciation of our now mythical sexual prowess? I take compliments with a bigger smile when I know it is based on a real acquaintance…
Now, look at my list of authors who are leading gay literature, which, please remember, is not comprehensive, and think, ‘Have I given this voice a second thought? Am I ready to listen to what they have to say?’ There’s one who offers adventures, one who offers subtle emotions, one who offers a personal journey to freedom, one who offers a completely new voice for the whole world, one who offers poetry, one who offers humour, one who offers the language of the younger generation. They don’t want to speak to gay men only; they want to speak to the world. But the world, even the world of readers, is full of homophobes who won’t listen. To make gay fiction and literature mainstream, we, gay men, need to start speaking to someone, and who better than one’s friends? It’s hard to go out and tell our story to people who hate us. Please help us have a voice for this world: read a gay book.
Here is a selection of really original and inspiring authors you could start with: https://martindavies90.wordpress.com/2014/05/02/contemporary-authors-to-look-out-for/
Altternatively, check out: http://www.gay-literature.com
Please note, there are a lot of comments still to be ‘approved’ on this post, I’ll try to catch up. The only reason why they need to be approved is for swear words, spam, insults. All opinions expressed with respect will be approved; just give me time to read them and check.