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Welcome, everyone! Here's where I blather about writing, life with my wife BA, and my two basset hounds! I love to hear from readers, so comment here or email me!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Wherein I rant about the inherent gender bias and hetero-normative lingo in the romance community

***Rant warning ahoy. I am PISSED OFF***

I have been a GLBTQ romance writer, and was a publisher, for a long time. I wrote my first f/f story in high school (class of '88 what up?) and I was published in my first gay romance anthology in 2002. My first m/m novel came out in 2003. I have fought the good fight, as a mostly lesbian writer (I fall closer to bi on the Kinsey scale than my wife, but I'm definitely queer) writing romance fiction, to find equality and acceptance for all people in the romance community, gay, straight, bi, trans or asexual. Hell, I've written moose romance. No, not shifter. Just moose.

So believe me when I tell you that nothing ***NOTHING*** disappoints me more than getting an email chock full of advice on how to sit down and shut up in the romance world.

That's right. Grit your teeth, wear a nice dress, and do your make-up and no one in the greater romance world will be mean to you. If they are, just don't tell them you write gay! It will be fine.

Now, I am a huge champion of getting LGBTQ romance to stop being listed as a "genre". My genres are paranormal and historical with a few contemporary bdsm type books. I want queer romance to just be romance. But I refuse to stop looking like a lesbian in order to make people comfortable. I refuse to pretend that people have not asked me at every con I attend, including the supposedly gay romance one, "Why do YOU write m/m? You don't even like dick," because I'm married to a woman.

I go into every opportunity to meet readers of romance with a smile on my face. My attitude is great, even if my inner introvert wants to run and hide. But I refuse to cower behind the hetero-normative language and accept the gender bias running rampant right now in my chosen field. So don't send me an email that dismisses men writing romance, along with trans people or bi people, or anyone not comfy in a pretty dress and lipstick. And the closest thing I own to formal wear is the rainbow skirt I wore to my wedding. Cotton jersey, thanks.

Don't tell me to sit the fuck down and shut up. It hasn't worked at any point in my life, and it's so not gonna work now.




Siobhan Muir said...

I'm very sorry this is happening. I had no idea (maybe because I often wear that pretty dress and lipstick). But it never occurred to me to be agog at the gender of the author of any particular flavor of romance. My perspective is, "Do you write a good story? Yes? Cool." ((hugs)), Julia.

kaytee said...

You don't need to sit down and shut up, but there are ways around it. I speak as a woman who has spent her entire professional life in a world dominated by men. I've been told I don't look like my profession, I look younger than I am, etc, etc. I just smile and do my job and then cut their balls off when necessary. If it is another woman, I smile then knock them over (figuratively of course). I agree with Siobhan - do your job and let them worry about you fitting their norm - you are you - wear it proudly!

layla dorine said...

I am about to go to my first big convention. I don't wear makeup and I have one dress which is a gothic style. The rest of my attire is from hot topic. I never imagined authors would be viewed by what they wore to these events, I figured we were all unique and should just come as ourselves. It sucks that people would make such comments to you.