So, let’s talk for a minute about how … instead of writing my book … I’m going to write this blog post instead. #procrastination
I just wanted to talk about how / why I write for the LGBTQ community… and what I think some of the assumptions about my writing might be when people discover this.
First of all, I am part of the LGBTQ community. As both a trans male and an identifying pansexual, I have grown accustomed to both having to defend my identity and explaining it to those who are not familiar with my lifestyle. This is one reason that many of the characters (I think it’s safe to say… a good 96%) are either gay or bisexual, to boil it down to the simplest of terms. As the series continues and the characters evolve, a few of them have become more and more gender ambiguous as well. I also think this is important. Who wants cisgendered heterosexual characters ALL of the time?
I write for characters that are gay, bisexual, gender queer, gender fluid, asexual, transgendered, etc because I am ready for these characters to STOP becoming a novelty. They are not plot twists, they are not overbearing stereotypes, they do not exist as taboos. I’m tired of reading books where openly gay characters are flamboyant and lisping, almost always elves, almost always some sort of minstrel or assassin. Fantasy characters, just like people in real life, come in all shapes, sizes, colors, professions, and personalities. That is why Shrukian, the tall, broad, masculine soldier, exists alongside his slender, foppish, snarky brother Pharun. They both have very similar sexualities (Pharun has a preference towards men, but can enjoy a powerful woman. And Shrukian is the opposite). (Oh, by the way, maybe a spoiler alert). But guess what? Their sexuality is not the focal point of the books. That leads into my next point …
I want to see LGBTQ characters become more mainstream, and I want them to be as normal in fantasy as hetero cisgenders. As a teenager I would have loved to read the books that I am writing now. I wanted more characters with flexible sexualities and gender performances. Even in a frighteningly misogynistic society like Dragoloth, men are not looked down upon for bathing and wearing perfume. Meanwhile, I want to also include more pro-female societies. But while I am on my way to accomplishing this, I am quickly inserting more powerful female characters into the Age of Waking Death series (see Nerissa as my prime example, I love her to death).
People might assume that because I write gay fiction I might just have a lot of poorly written sex and romance scenes. But honestly, a lot of my sex happens off-camera, because I am much more interested in the political intrigue and family dynamics. My work is based on how people interact with each other and how societies can be changed when a single head falls.
I don’t write these books to be shocking or different, I write them because they are a reflection of my soul and my journey, and I always hope that there is someone out there who will be able to read between the lines and relate.