Wonder Boi Writes

Back To (The Book) Business

Happy Bisexual Awareness Week!

I’m not sure if you know this or not, but I wrote a blog about a “big tent” approach to lesbian fiction and biphobia last week. I won’t assume you all saw it, but judging from the response, I think a lot of you probably did. I wrote the blog because one or two people I love had been hurt, and they felt alone. I wanted them to know they weren’t. I wanted them to know they had me. I wanted to let them know that at least one, relatively successful, and 100% gay reader and writer of lesbian fiction had their back. I expected a little bit of backlash. I expected I might lose a few readers. I thought I might even lose a friend or two. Boy, was I wrong.

The response to last week’s blog caught me completely off guard. It was viewed over 1,000 times, making it by far the most popular blog I’ve ever written, and between all the social media platforms I track, it’s been shared nearly 500 times. It’s garnered nearly that many “likes,” “favorites,” and “comments.” I also have 40 new Facebook friends and even more new followers on Twitter. The blog itself has over 100 new followers. Best of all, I’ve gotten over 50 very personal messages of support from women who have been bullied and put down, ostracized or made to feel less-than because of how they identify. I’ve heard from women who came out too early to be trusted, women who came out so late they got accused of “having their cake and eating it, too,” bisexual women who are in relationships with men, with women, or single and heartbroken that neither the straight nor the gay community would welcome them. I heard from trans men who have lost their entire support system for daring to be themselves and young people who want to transition but live in fear of losing everyone they love. It’s been beautiful and devastating at the same time, but it’s also been so wholly positive.

The best I can guess, between the blog, the emails, Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, etc., I’ve gotten more than 700 positive responses. Then I got one negative comment. It started out fine enough, if a little illogical (if other people discriminate, why can’t we?), and I had my mouse hovered right over the “accept” button because I have never once censored a legitimate comment on this blog, even the ones that haven’t been glowing. Then I got to the last paragraph. It turned nasty and implored me not to “plant my flag of inclusiveness” in lesbian spaces.   I backed away from the approve button. This wasn’t just a polite disagreement. It was the same “us verses them” rhetoric that got us into this whole mess in the first place.   And yet the logic was so flawed, so childish, so limiting, my first response was to tear it apart. I’m a writer (and an arguer if you ask my wife and parents). This was the stuff of separate-but-equal, and history has taught us enough about how well that works. I felt my response would be a quick and decisive blow. I would only have to descend into the mud pit for a moment. And yet, I would have to get muddy again. I stepped away from the computer. Took my kid for walk. Then asked for some advice from some friends. The answer was a unanimous “don’t go there.”

And the longer I let those comments sit, the more I realized that I didn’t have to go there. Last week I said the only line I would draw on my blog is love over hate. Everyone is welcome in my Big Queer Tent as long as they respect everyone else’s right to belong, too. And more than 700 of you raised your hands and said that was exactly the type of space you wanted to be part of. Over 700 to 1. There is no more argument. It is already won. There’s no need to continue to beat an idea that’s already dead, or at the very least in its death throes. Engaging those ideas only gives them a voice they haven’t earned. It allows negativity to continue to grow even after it’s been rejected. It does exactly what I said I wouldn’t do: It allows hate to infiltrate a space dedicated in love.

So I’m letting go. I am going to resist the urge to sling the mud back. The people throwing it have already had more than their 15 minutes of fame, and their ideas are clearly one step from becoming fossils. The idea that some queers deserve to be celebrated while others deserve to be left in the cold, not because of how they write or how they conduct themselves, but because of who they are and whom they love belongs in the archives with separate water fountains and the all-male vote. Its time has come and lasted too long, but it’s on the way out the door. I will not prolong its exit.

I’m ready to move on. I ready to get back to talking about really good stories. I’m ready to talk about really awesome writers. I am ready to go back to judging both the books and their authors by what’s between the pages rather that who’s with them between the sheets. I am ready to get back to what brought us all to this big queer tent in the first place, and I’m can’t speak for anyone else, but for me, that’s books.  I’m going to sit down right here under my flag of inclusiveness and encourage every one of you to join me. All who enter seeking love will be welcomed in the same vein.

If you’d like to be part of this bigger, brighter, more welcoming future we’re building here, go ahead and post a comment about a really good book you’ve read lately.

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September 23, 2014 - Posted by | Uncategorized

7 Comments »

  1. I’m going to be greedy and post a comment about a few really good books I’ve read lately. 🙂

    “Kiss the Girl” by Melissa Brayden – Brayden’s most recent and most mature work to date. It’s so wonderful to see her growing as an author. And I loved her DEBUT novel!! Just when I thought it couldn’t get better, Brayden proved me wrong.

    “Blowback” by Bev Prescott – Admittedly, a difficult book to read. But it’s a necessary book. Prescott broaches the subject of gun control in the US with heart and intelligence…and without taking sides. She treats her readers with respect and allows us to consider our own perspectives, rather than telling us how to think or what to believe.

    “Just Girls” by Rachel Gold – Gold’s follow up to “Being Emily” is intriguing and heart-felt. Talk about a big tent! Gold includes issues important to those who are transgendered, to lesbians, to bisexuals, to gay men, and to genderqueer. Another necessary read.

    Rachel, thank you for being you. You are a wonderful advocate for inclusivity…and a wonderful example of a fantastic person.

    Comment by Carleen | September 23, 2014 | Reply

  2. Rachel, GREAT POST! Count me as 701 or something like that…maybe 109384 083 by now. I recently saw something of facebook that has helped me avoid a great deal of drama, which with my family is an amazing feeling. It is a Polish Proverb that goes, “Not my Circus, Not my Monkeys.” A nugget of Facebook wisdom I’ll never forget. As we’ve learned in the coming out (as whatever) process, there are just some people you don’t engage with because it’s not worth it. You made a great choice IMHO. Besides a great writer, perhaps we should add ethicist or philosopher to your list of jobs? (smile) While I came out as Lesbian and always will be, I also identify as a Queer Femme, for two reasons. 1) it more accurately identifies who I am in regards to who I love and 2) in solidarity with my Queer brothers and sisters and others I don’t even have words for. Thanks for your great post, Thanks for your great book Timeless, which I had to wrap my mind around a bit, remembering certain things while reading about the MC being in high school. It was a challenge for my small brain and I loved every minute of it. I highly recommend Timeless if you haven’t read it yet by Rachel Spangler. You took on a sensitive subject in this one and perhaps you will take on the “big tent” subject in some future novel. (I know that you probably have 2 to 4 topics in line and already set). I’ll hush now. Write on!

    Comment by onamarae | September 23, 2014 | Reply

  3. Great post. I didn’t think you could top last weeks blog but you done it again. Thank you from those of us who don’t fit into cookie cutter categories in life.
    Recent books I’ve read and enjoyed include Melissa Brayden’s Kiss the Girl because it’s been a pleasure to watch her writing skills grow and develop, Karelia Stetz-Waters book The Admirer because she wrote strong lesbian protagonists into a thriller which could go head to head with any mainstream thriller writer on the market today.

    Comment by canuckeh | September 23, 2014 | Reply

  4. I loved your “Big Tent” blog. I came out late in life in part because of the love and support I fond in some social media groups but I also learned eventually that the other side of the coin, the ‘dyke drama’ side, can be devastating when you encounter it. I took steps last week to rid my online life of some of those negative folks who think their way is the only way. Thank you for your words and for your positive view of life. It really is a breath of fresh air.

    Comment by Mary Anne | September 23, 2014 | Reply

  5. Thanks for another great blog! And I loved how many viewed, shared and commented as well.
    I love all of Melissa Brayden’s books (Heart Block is probably my favorite) and I really, really want to recommend “Just Girls” by Rachel Gold to everyone. Brilliant. Big tentish in a big way. A very valiant lesbian and a trans girl rock college. And if I might add another illuminating queer read it would be “In Between” by Jane Hoppen about being born intersex.

    Comment by Henriette | September 23, 2014 | Reply

  6. Brava! Your blog (and a couple others last week) inspired me to post a personal message on my FB page (as I don’t have a blog) which went out to friends, family, straight, LGBT, all religions or none, multi ethnic and crossing age demographics. Not one negative comment was posted. If there were negatve thoughts, folks were grown-up about it and kept it to themselves. There were posts that educated me further about our history, which I welcomed.

    This Big Tent needs to be nurtured and continue to embrace those who feel alone. Thank you for doing your part to pry open the door.

    Comment by Gena R. | September 23, 2014 | Reply

  7. Another great post! Pass me one of those Flags of Inclusiveness! I want to wave it proudly!

    Comment by powwowmom2000 | September 23, 2014 | Reply


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