Saturday, 17 March 2012

Pushing boundaries

I must say when I thought that I might extend my own boundaries and try writing some slash (m/m) fiction, I had absolutely no idea that it would turn into my biggest story yet. I had messed with a threesome before, but not actually put the guys together. I’ve certainly read a few in the fanfic world where it was the same. The guys manage to somehow avoid touching each other, whilst they are in bed with the girl of their choice. Pretty agile really and most unrealistic. So I wrote a story where two guys loved each other first and then included a woman into their relationship. They are not gay, but I will call them hetero-flexible. A wonderful term that I learnt of recently.

I try to write sex in a real way. I am often amazed by the questions that readers ask me. Do they have no one else to ask? Is it because I am a faceless person that they somehow trust? I don’t know. One reader shared that her school district had cancelled sex-ed classes. She had observed that teen pregnancy rates were climbing and that the older boys were actively targeting younger inexperienced girls. I advised her to lobby her school board and to be properly prepared herself. What else could I do? I believe that what you don't know can hurt you; it can also leave you pregnant or diseased.

I know from reader comments, that I took a lot of readers down the slash path for the first time too. I may have never written slash before, but they had never read it. We trod it together. Personally I have no issue with homosexuality. I think love is love and you cannot choose who you fall in love with. I sooo wish we could choose, but then perhaps the queue for our favourite celebrities and sportspeople would get very silly indeed. But at least we might have been able to avoid some heartache from the past; the unrequited loves… the people you knew were bad for you, but you loved them none the less. Whether those mistakes are what make us the people we are now, is another whole discussion.

Growing up is hard. I remember how awkward it was to have a rapidly changing body at the exact time that everything else in your world was changing too; you were starting high school, or moving cities. You stressed about things that were so important to you at the time. Hindsight tells you that they really weren’t important at all. Your world didn’t end because you didn’t get those shoes or that person didn’t notice you.

I remember one school friend who was just completely and obviously gay, before we even really knew what it was. Kids grow up in a world where they are bombarded with images of beauty and sexuality. That was hard enough for us all as teens, with our pimply faces and gangly limbs, but it’s worse for kids now with the immediacy and odd separation of things like Facebook. It’s easier to be nasty online rather than to someone’s face. It’s easy to find out information from people’s Facebook profiles that you use to bully them with at school. Add in concerns about gender orientation and you have a powder keg that in some circumstances leads to bullying and massive increases in teen suicide rates.

I cried recently when I read an article in Rolling Stone about this.

One town's war on gay teens
I was absolutely horrified that children were abandoned by the very people in their society who should be supporting them; their community.

A reader commented to me of late, that after reading my little fic about my hetero-flexible boys, that they had changed their mind about gays. Now they had some understanding of how two guys could love each other.

If I do nothing else in my life, I will be proud of that.

I changed someone’s mind.

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