Gender, m/m romance, and pro-slash

It occurred to me that some folks here might be interested in an e-mail I just sent to an m/m writer. He was talking about some gay men's opposition to female writers of m/m fiction, and he wondered how they reconciled that with the popularity of Mary Renault among gay male readers.


But she was a *lesbian*. It's all right for *lesbians* to write gay male fiction. (Even the Lambda Literary Foundation says that.) It's evil and despicable and oppressive for straight women to do so.

(Actually, Renault was bisexual. I won't go into the way that bisexuals have been ignored in this debate - I'm sure you've noticed this yourself.)

I keep waiting for M. Christian to wade into this whole "straights should stay in their own playground" argument.
(Not worksafe. Skip down to "diverse".)

I think it's no coincidence that nobody is attacking M. Christian for writing gay porn, yet they're attacking straight women. There's a clear gender bias in many of the discussions on this issue. (Not all of them. Here's a rational post on the subject, by a couple of m/m writers, in case you haven't seen it:

Ultimately, I don't agree with it, but at least it isn't bigoted.) It's horribly ironic that some anti-straight lesbians have allied themselves with some anti-female gay men in this fight against straight female writers of gay fiction.

What I've been hearing from a lot of m/m writers is their frustration that they're being labelled by the press as uniformly heterosexual and female. Because, while they want to stand by their straight, cysgendered, female sisters, that doesn't change the fact that they themselves aren't straight, cysgendered women. That's why I keep referring people over to this post:

On an up note, though, have you noticed that Alyson is now co-publishing m/m romances? Not m/m-masquerading-as-gay - Alsyon actually applies the label m/m to the books.

Am I the only one who finds it odd that the big breakthrough in pro-slash is occurring in the romance world? Remember back in the early days of the original slash community, when so many of us thought the breakthrough would occur with SF/F publishers? While I'm as pleased as can be at m/m writers' good fortunes, I'm finding this recent popularity of m/m romance to be a bit frustrating, because I identify primarily as a fantasy writer rather than as a romance writer (though I'm happy to seek out readers in any genre community). And I feel as though, as more attention is being paid to m/m romance, much less attention is being paid to pro-slash in other genres. Doors that were open to me five years ago have shut.


June 2018



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