this is rambling as usual...the part about writing m/m romance isn't actually important so don't get caught in this first part, okay? Good.
I've been thinking about the whole co-opting the gay thing lately. It started when I read a few threads about how m/m romance is becoming mainstream and a bunch of straight ladies are writing it and that's creepy. The argument of how the experience of being a gay guy belongs to the gay men and using for our own profit squicks some people -- that kind of makes a bit of sense. I understand it to a degree.
I understand but I don't agree because fiction is fiction is fiction is made up stuff that we all get to play with.
BUT THAT is not what I really am thinking about. It's only the starting point. Let's get to the part where I have a DUH moment.
I have a gay kid. The fact is, his life is so much easier than it would be for a gay or lesbian my age. It's easier than it would be for his brothers -- who are only a few years older. That means, I hope, it'll be easier for the kids who come after him. Easier and easier. No one in his family immediate or extended has ever suggested that his being gay is bad, sad or even slightly off. We're lucky to live in these times.
I write historical gay romance and I wondered if anyone alive in this country could comprehend how horrible it was for the people who had to hide who they were all of their lives -- or risk blackmail or worse? Maybe my guy will get hints of it if he moves to another part of the country. I expect he'll get tastes of hatred from nasty looks and comments, but hell, we ALL get nasty looks and inappropriate comments. Just try being a fat middle aged lady and see what happens. I'm hoping he won't get even that many.
So that's what I was thinking about....
..... and then I ran across a thread on a facebook page I'm on.
This was a nice thread, a decent thread with perfectly nice people. A guy with a gay middle schooler was asking for advice about social groups for his kid. Lots of people had great ideas. But there were many more "go guy! you're great dad" comments. And "aren't we a great community" comments. These things are true. I'm not disparaging them. I like that people are saying positive things.
But would people say the same thing if a parent came on a thread and said "my daughter likes to ride horses. Any suggestions?" Of course not.
I've never before questioned this "Go, you! You're a wonderful parent!" thing--even though it really is about being a regular sort of a parent, asking for advice on something that should be normal.
The reason I haven't wondered about this enthusiastic over-response is simple. The times I've asked people for advice about raising a gay kid, and have gotten that "go you! you're wonderful!" response, I've reveled in it. Everyone likes being told they're doing a good job. (Particularly when the job is parenting because man, that shit can get tough.)
But here's the thing. The actions I've been told are extraordinary are so ... extraordinarily mundane. I'm talking about asking about a gay men's choir or looking up the mailing address of the rainbow club. I'm not talking about getting up at five am to drive a kid to practice or sitting next to a sick child's bed. Nothing I've done is heroic or strenuous. These are not worthy of pats on the back because they seem like standard things a parent would do for his/her kid under "normal" circumstances. And we get to my point (at last). Apparently being gay still doesn't fall under the normal umbrella -- and that's just sad.
The people who've most often praised my actions are adult gay guys who are over thirty. They're the ones who've effusively THANKED me for taking an interest in my kid. And that just makes me want to cry and go beat up someone. Maybe the first person to look at those men funny.
Anyway. That has nothing to do with writing gay romance. Except it's just interesting to note that even though we've come a long way and I'm complacent about my own sweet kid's future (mostly because he is so sweet) the "not normal" of being gay is still there.