Monday, January 30, 2012

Toward a Future Without Labels

My new novel Gentlemen's Game doesn't hit the market until next week, and already it is causing a stir with test readers. I cringe a little to wonder what the general public is going to say.

In my worst nightmares, the straight community will be offended by the explicit gay sex scenes; the gay community will be offended by the idea that straight men are having sex with one another, and yet don't label themselves "gay". No one has a monopoly on bigotry, in my experience. I envision having to explain until I want to shoot myself. Or refusing to explain at all. Maybe I'll find a place in between?

The truth is, I researched quite a bit before writing the story. I knew where the characters wanted to go, but out of respect for the sexual identities of everyone, I wanted to get it right. I wanted to make certain it wasn't too far-fetched, but it turns out that it isn't a reach at all. After speaking to a prominent psychologist and perusing the many articles he sent me, I can tell everyone that sexuality is "fluid" not static.

Labels serve to put us in a box. For fear of stepping outside the box and thus being persecuted, people hide what they do in their personal lives. It isn't only the gay man who hides; the bisexual hides from the gay community. It's crazy, and it's very sad.

I look for a world where no one has to explain why they love the way they do - not to any community who might insist upon an easy label. I look for a world where no one has to join a club. It's my hope that Gentlemen's Game will resonate with many types of readers from many backgrounds, and spark some thought and compassion, in addition to discussion.

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