View Full Version : Homosexuality pisses me off

12-30-2004, 02:48 PM
Or rather literature's treatment of it pisses me off. I have a main character who is gay but because there isn't descriptive sex or extensive erotic scenes the erotica markets have no interest in it. The other markets are even worse. One labeled me "subversive" and another said that they wouldn't touch it because by viewing the world of my book through the eyes of a gay guy I seem to be advocating homosexuality and "readers are often resentful of such". And these comments are coming from publishers and agents who claim to represent gay/lesbian literature. Add to that the apparent inspiration from my brief military experience and suddenly I'm "un-patriotic". They love the synopsis and will look at other work but blah blah why's he gotta be gay can't you rewrite that aspect?

I must be so out of touch with the rest of the western world. Homosexuality doesn't even strike me as taboo yet the rest of America seems to want to have a coronary over the issue. It's really upsetting to me. If I make him straight or female(which I've considered) the whole novel will then make no sense at all. I've spent a year writing a useless book that no one will understand and get the point of because they get too stuck on the main character's sexuality.

And before someone suggests that maybe the problem is that the book or my writing suck, I've considered that, and if that were the case a simple form rejection would suffice, but that's not what I'm getting. One editor spent two pages telling me why he wouldn't take it. It's at least good enough writing to inspire anger and disgust and that's without the sex scenes!

Damn people are hypersensitive and uptight...

12-30-2004, 07:50 PM
I have a list of publishers that might be interested in that sort of writing. For example Torquere Press (ebooks), Invert Press (large press) and Jackobyte (Australian-based to open to all subs). Have you tried these ones? Certianly presses are very picky as to what they are after in this area -- but I think appropriate ones are around.

12-30-2004, 11:33 PM
I suspect that many US publishers are freshly wary of a perfectly normal homosexual character. Many people in this country have made it clear that they cannot and will not consider such a person, fictional or not, to be 'normal.'

This is, of course, absurd. Most of them probably know and like such a person who simply isnít out to them precisely because of that attitude.

However, the impact on publishers is a reality. People who have no understanding of homosexuality being an aspect of a normal guy will not buy a book where the POV character is a gay man. If there was more 'gayness' going for it--those sex scenes that aren't there--maybe a gay press would want it, but unless it's written to be of interest to only the gay market, who wants that?

I'd keep shopping it around, and reminding myself that a whole lot of people miss out on some great stuff by being closed-minded.

Maryn, wishing she could name publishers to try

lena matthews
12-31-2004, 04:33 AM
I don't have anything eloquent or inspiring to say, so i'll just stick to the simple truth. The world is run by idiots. I think if you keep that in mind it will help a bit.
The problem with these editors, and trust me there are a lot of them out there, is that they don't understand that there is a market for the books. I was informed by an editor at a big NY publishing house, that interracial romances don't sell and was asked to change the race of one my characters, didn't matter which one, so that both the characters were of the same race. I almost had a cow. I know it's not the exact same thing but you have to keep in mind, that you know that there's an audience and it only takes one acceptance letter to make it all worth while.
Don't give up and don't let the bastards get you down.

12-31-2004, 12:23 PM
You're targeting the wrong market (do they happen to be in the red states?) There are plenty of markets out there, some explicitly looking for gay and lesbian fiction.

01-01-2005, 04:14 PM
Thanks for the advice and encouragement, and thanks veinglory for the leads. i got a couple other leads in chat from a memeber here I'm gonna hit up too. The whole situation just kills me, people want to deny what is obvious. Gay people are out there whether they want to accept it or not, so are inter-racial relationships and so are non christian religions. I hate status quo, it bores me to nasuea.

Maestro, I had to chuckle about the red states comment...you want a kick in the pants? I'm a gay republican. We exist!

The whole thing sickens me though, that's why I wrote the damn book, to get it all out. I speak Arabic for christ's sake and was with the military for three f'-in years. they do a little background research and suspect that I like men and suddenly my mere presence "damages unit cohesiveness". There is a sever intelligence gap in the US military but Americans would rather suffer losses on the battle field and subject themselves to terrorism than let a gay man have a job. They fired nine top Arabic liguist intelligence personel for suspicions of homosexuality within months of 9-11. Some of them weren't even gay! I shouldn't have even written this thread or started in on this damn book. It makes me sick to my stomach. I was willing and able to serve this country but it wasn't enough. I never told a damn person, I was willing to do anything to be like everyone else. Ok, enough ranting...

aka eraser
01-01-2005, 11:32 PM
Living honestly, and well, and for a long time is the best revenge Haps.

Don't give up on finding a home for the book. Most success in this business can be attributed to persistence.

01-04-2005, 12:49 AM
Like Lena, I haven't got much useful to say, just want to explode. I don't think things are nearly as bad in the UK - in public services, discrimination on grounds of sexuality is put on an equal footing with racism & sexism. But there's still plenty of prejudice.

The fantasy novel I'm just finishing has a bisexual protagonist. I've no doubt I'll pick up a few of the same sort of letters.

Kate St Amour
01-04-2005, 08:50 AM
Suzanne Brockmann's new book, Hot Target is dedicated to her homosexual son Jason, and deals with a WW2 homosexual GI's story (along with a heterosexual plot-line). There is hope, but I agree that there is still far too much homophobia floating around.

01-04-2005, 11:29 PM
You're probably fighting an unusual amount of backlash in the market right now too - the climate has changed since gay marriage became a forefront political issue. Things may look much different in a few months when there isn't so much assumed political heat behind a gay main character. I just read Three Junes, which won some award (national book award?) last year, and the main character is gay, and there are even a few non-explicit gay sex scenes.

01-05-2005, 12:59 AM
The Vintner's Luck won a big prize (the Booker) and it is has strong homosexual themes involving an angel (both queer and blasphemous?). These things seem to sneak through. I suppose persistence is key? So far I haven't got my queer stuff through to mainstream publication nut to be completely candin I don't think it's good enough to deserve it yet. perhaps the next one will be.

01-05-2005, 10:30 AM
The Hours won the Pulitzer prize -- it has strong gay/lesbian themes.

Write a good book. Worry about the market later.

02-05-2005, 10:00 PM
Have you considered Canadian publishers? I understand they're more "open" to more controversial subjects.

02-25-2005, 11:05 PM
You're targeting the wrong market (do they happen to be in the red states?) There are plenty of markets out there, some explicitly looking for gay and lesbian fiction.

Oddly enough, a growing market for gay male fiction is heterosexual females. I have a couple of acquaintances who have gained some small success for themselves by writing for this paricular audience. Be warned, though, the stories themselves usually read more like stright romance/erotica than gay fiction actually aimed at homosexuals. But still, you might find it worth your while to look into it.

three seven
02-25-2005, 11:18 PM
Oddly enough, a growing market for gay male fiction is heterosexual females.
Any straight man who's ever sulked in a corner while his gay friend gets fawned over by a horde of excitable women will not find that odd. Nor will any straight man who's ever pondered the subject of lesbianism for more than a second and a half. http://www.geocities.com/thingumybobwotsit/sneaky.gif

04-05-2005, 02:45 AM
That's a very interesting phenomenon in Japan, too -- gay literature (or in their case, comic books) directed toward teenage to middle-aged women.

I mean, I love the stuff. But when I'm sitting in a train and there're a bunch of giggling teenage girls looking through it, it seems odd to me. Not bad; good, rather; but odd.

Whatever floats their little Japanese boats, I guess :)

04-05-2005, 01:19 PM
Not just the Japanese either. A lot of the erotic romance publishers that cater to woman are noticing good sales of gay stories.