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The Irksome element in the M/M Book Genre


Victor Rodvang

You know, I could never really put my finger on what it was about M/M romance that irks me so bad. This has nothing to do with writing.
But it has everything to do with the fighting.
I’ve thought about it. I’ve wandered around it. I’ve left it alone and let it slide. And then something else happens and suddenly there it is, once more.
Gay people have been around since Ancient Greece, Alexander, Rome, during the dark ages, the Renaissance – I mean, Michelangelo? Hello?! The reformation, the age of reason, the gilded age, industrialization, the great depression, the Civil War, Walt Whitman, WW1, WW2 – Alan Turing – the forties, fifties, sixties, seventies, AIDS – and despite it all – we’ve survived. Somehow.
We are a nebulous people.
We have no place to call home. No ethnicity. No physical characteristics that set us apart from another. We don’t come from some region of the world. We are everywhere. Alive. Thriving.
But we are a people and as a people we are as diverse in personality and philosophy, theology or lack thereof as everyone else.
We have created culture, we’ve destroyed civilizations, we’ve conquered the world, we’ve been conquered by it. We’ve been taken lovers by Kings (King James comes to mind), and have created the most exquisite art when commissioned by Popes, we’ve saved the world, and did you’re hair before your wedding. We’ve operated on you, taught you, flown you across the sky, and buried your body.
Nebulous we may be but we are as old as time itself.
And we do not need you to survive.
I think this genre has had good intentions but I think it’s colonized us – or has attempted to.
It uses paternalism, the same paternalism used against women and minorities going back forever – to shoe horn us, or to create this static border around us, and define what is in fact so nebulous about us.
Like you know better than we do about who we are. America, Western civilization, and the modern world is but a glimmer of the time in which we’ve existed.
It’s like you’re trying to save us. Not only from the world at large. But from ourselves.
And in that, you drag out of every single corner of society anything with the word ‘gay’ on it and prop it up for the entire world to see, and embrace, and to hell with you if you don’t.
I resent that.
How dare you?
I have within me, the same amount of majesty, the same artistic inclination, or warring battle cries as any and all races, classes, and groups of people my gender, or otherwise.

‘Homo sumhumani nihil a me alienum puto’  –  I am human,  nothing human can be alien to me.
Stop telling us we’re wrong.
Stop telling us, no.
Stop telling us to be quiet.
Stop arguing with us about things that concern us unless you’re arguing to protect an investment and if you really want to argue on that premise – then we’ve walked into slave owner mentality.
My brother James Baldwin said back in the day, I ain’t your negro.


Well, I ain’t your homo.
I am not, nor are my brothers, some poor pitiful homos that must be protectively pressed against your bosom.
Just like any healthy relationship out there, the dynamics of and definitions of need and want are important.
I want you in my life – as an equal.
But I don’t need you in my life to exist.
The statement of, “We want gay men to have happy endings.” is a kind and virtuous one.
But we’ve had endings. All of them.
And we will again.
You’ll give birth to us. We are your children. We will survive.

2 thoughts on “The Irksome element in the M/M Book Genre”

  1. I love or rather, I am finding myself falling in love with gay men. Not in a physical sense, but in a deeply respectful, reverent way.
    #gaycultureis seeing an article about a same sex couple on some newswire and reading the comments underneath that reduce them to all sorts of stereotypes – forgetting that men like Alan Turing saved the world, or helped in part, from Nazis before he was condemned for being gay and chemically castrated. HE would commit suicide a few years later.
    That the Sistine Chapel was painted by a gay man – the holiest of places.
    Alexander conquered the known world.
    Even in the most stringent Fundamentalist world – King James(As in the King James Bible) had a male lover named George Villiars – a portrait painted by Peter Paul Rubens exists today 400 years later.
    Gay men are there like the gold kintsugi holding parts of the world together.
    This post was about GRL and porn stars as much as the lawsuit was about a fucking cake. Or, in clearer terms, not at all.
    I lived my life feeling like I had to make up for being gay. Burning candles at both ends, roaring through life like a corvette, frantically trying to prove my worth forgetting that – the journey was part of the whole thing and that achieving a goal for the wrong reason, makes triumphs shallow. When all along, I should have loved that I am part of a small but very powerful group of men who’ve brought so much to the world and who are conveniently forgotten when the world decides it wants straight laces and 2.5 kids after it fucked everything that walked in the sixties and smoked what couldn’t be tied down.
    This is also not about the writing. I support your writing from a completely different place. A place of deep respect for the 1st amendment and a profound disdain for those who try to censor the written word. Even in this genre where people have led these marches to shut down writers and send letters to publishers demanding they stop publishing their work. It’s the same way I’d march WITH a crazy loony church if the government tried to shut down what they were saying. Fuck all the way off. It doesn’t mean I support what they’re saying, or what they’re writing.
    Its from that respect for gay men, that I believe their stories should be told in all of it’s forms. Not just the romantic aspect. Not just the sex aspect. Not this teeny tiny glimpse into their ‘love’ that melts hearts. When publishers are passing over stories, due to market forces, to produce this fraction of a tale, there’s a problem. Due to market forces, these people’s lives are being passed over. A publisher’s bottom line, is like every business out there, it’s in the bottom line.
    Escapism, romanticism, erotic tinged words to thrill the nethers, is great – but what is greater still – is that despite everything they’re here. They’re queer. And they’re not going anywhere.
    That’s hot. You can’t drown that out. And I’m not sorry for it.

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