My first encounter with homophobia struck close to home. I was around eight years old, and it was my brother. He had been in and out of trouble, and it pissed me off because it disturbed the delicate balance between relative peace and absolute destruction that existed at home. Back then, it was termed “family problems” and we had more than our share. The guidance counselors knew all us kids very well. I am vague on the timing and the details, as happens over time. Also, although nothing was secret in our house and young ears couldn’t be shielded when the fights rose to screaming level, there was a lot that I didn’t fully understand. I knew that my brother had been to rehab after a couple brushes with the law. I knew he went to a halfway house. He was a teenager, far older than me and still my hero. He was always somewhat mythical to me. I don’t remember what our relationship was like when I was that young. I know we are very close now. He’s one of the people I connect most with in the world. Back then though, I mostly draw a blank, his memory is clouded by other images and sounds.
I knew he left school, he didn’t graduate. We were an affluent family, and for some reason, whatever he did was worse than my father being a raging alcoholic. Drinking was more socially acceptable. It turned out my brother was gay. Back then, his behavior was likely due in large part to his need to come to terms with that. My father and he were very close, and it pissed my father off. This was around the time that the AIDS epidemic was coming to light, at least in our small town. My brother was kicked out of the house, at sixteen or seventeen years old. It was a good thing those school counselors had gotten to know us all so well, it gave my brother a place to go. He went to live with his high school guidance counselor. We weren’t allowed to see him, or talk to him. I don’t know for sure how long that went on. A couple of years, at least.
It was a slow process, being able to have him in our lives again. There were hurdles to overcome, and largely, he simply forgave, I think. We’ve never really spoken of it. I think he wants to forget that time, and I don’t blame him.
He went all around the world, learning about himself and about the the world around him. My talented brother speaks several languages. He’s one of the coolest people you’d ever meet, if you were lucky enough to get to know him. He’s charming and people are drawn to him.
It was a different time than it is now. Back then, people weren’t openly gay. My father wasn’t alone in his thinking. He made a lot of mistakes and that one is hard to forgive. The fact that my brother did shows what kind of person he is, what’s in his heart. My father seems to have evolved somewhat, though. My daughter is gay. My dad loves her the same as he does the rest of his grandkids and my daughter has never had to know the fear of “coming out.” She doesn’t have a horrific story to tell, or even a very interesting one. I don’t feel bad taking that away from her though, it should be as much of a non issue as if she were to have told me she was straight. She still faces homophobia when she goes out in public at times. People will give her a hard time for using the women’s restroom. People do a double take. My daughter is gorgeous, so that may be why people stop to stare. It should be the only reason, that they are caught by her beauty. The rest of it, the packaging, so to speak? It should be a non-issue Gender identity, sexual orientation, all of it. It’s truly no one’s business, and it shouldn’t be part of society’s conversation. I consider myself gender fluid. I prefer that others not consider my gender at all. There are so many more interesting things about me.
I started writing M/M mainly because of my brother. I wanted to show people that a strong gay male lead is every bit as hot, if not hotter, than their straight counterparts. I wanted people to love my gay male characters enough to put them in the book boyfriend category. Once I got started, I found that I prefer M/M to M/F, both in reading and in writing. Have you read any good M/M books lately? Leave a comment or drop me a message telling me what you’ve read or if you haven’t, what barriers you think may be causing you not to. I will pick one winner to receive a signed copy of Set Adrift, the first book in my Immortal Isle Series. Runner up will receive an e-book copy.
Drawing will be done within a couple days of the end of Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia. (Work schedule will determine the day, sorry to be vague 🙂 )
Here are the links to the other blogs that are participating, check them out. Many are doing giveaways as well.