One thing I love about MM Romance and LGBTQ fiction is reading about people who have different world experiences than I do. I love that, by reading these stories, I’m allowing voices previously stifled to finally be heard, understood, and empathized with.
Until MM Romance came along, most LGBTQ fiction, especially those books and movies with gay characters, ended in tragedy. Happily ever afters? No, that didn’t happen. Most ended in a tragic death, loneliness, despair, or self-loathing.
Everything changed when MM Romance came on the scene. People who had never considered reading about men falling in love with men were clambering for more books, more varied stories so they could better understand a segment of the population they may have known very little about prior to that. Minds and hearts were opened. And LGBTQ people were finally able to read about a hopeful future and see parts of themselves reflected in characters, something many straight people have always taken for granted when reading or watching movies and TV.
Despite being on the rainbow spectrum myself, my experience as a bisexual woman was different than the men I read and eventually wrote about. Part of that is that I’m married to a man, so very few people even know I’m bi. I have the luxury of not coming out to people every time I introduce them to my husband, unlike a gay man does when he brings his husband or boyfriend to an office party.
In fiction I read about struggles I could barely fathom and had been completely naïve to prior to picking up MM Romance. And I got pissed. I was pissed that people, in this time of supposed enlightenment, were getting fired from jobs on Monday because they married the person they love the previous Saturday. I was pissed that kids were being force against their will into reparative or conversion “therapy.” That’s not therapy. That’s fricking torture and mental abuse.
I’ve been reading MM Romance nearly a decade ago now and writing it for six years, and many of the grotesque violations my LGBTQ friends have endured for years have become public. People are talking, which of course means people are hating. Marriage equality is the law of the land in the US as well as many other countries around the world because people supported their friends and family, stood up, and did what was right. Despite that, Marriage equality seems to have given fuel to the haters.
Reparative therapy is now illegal in several US states. It could soon be illegal in the entire USA. Yet, in many states, people can still get fired for marrying the person they love or get kicked out of their homes or denied lodging or any other number of things, no matter if same-sex marriage is legal or not.
But Americans have a voice they can use: their vote.
I know many readers of MM Romance who need to keep their reading habits a secret. They’re silenced. They don’t have anyone they can talk to about the thoughts these books bring to mind. Some have found social media connections—often using pseudonyms—to reach out to like-minded people. Voting is a way for those people to use their voices to say, “No! Discrimination is not what I want for my country.”
About two-thirds of eligible voters in America don’t vote because they believe their voice won’t matter. With an estimated 3.5% of the population identifying as LGBTQ, we need you! We need your voices to stand up and say, “Love is love. Equality is for everyone.”
No one needs to know who you voted for. No one needs to know why you voted for the person you did. But this is a way to make your voice heard, to do something to help men and women like the characters you’ve fallen in love with in all those books lead happier, more fulfilled lives.
So, I’ll be going out on this Super Tuesday and caucusing. I’ll be voting for a candidate who will support all LGBTQ people rather than for one who wants to go back to the days when happily ever afters were not even a dream. I won’t be silenced.
How about you?