Confirmation and related thoughts

English: Chris Hemsworth at a press conference...

English: Chris Hemsworth at a press conference for Thor in London in April 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, by now, I’m sure many of you have read this interview I gave.  In it I mention my wife.

It was no great secret, really, I just wasn’t going to shout it from the rooftops because it wasn’t an important detail.  It wasn’t until the context of the interview answer that there was some reason to say it, because I’ll be damned if I’m going to be as awkward as “significant other” or “spouse” or something else like that just to avoid saying if I’m a lesbian or not.

I am.  I’m not in the closet about it at all.  My wife and I happily hold hands in public, we kiss at the park, all the things any other couple does.

As I’ve said before I saw no point in announcing details, because it seemed to me it would detract from people appreciating my work on its own merits.  At this point, if it were to become wider knowledge that I’m gay, it would leave me wondering:  did someone buy the books because I’m a lesbian or because they wanted to read the books?

Still, in this day it is generally impossible to keep such things secret forever, and I’m not going to dance around a point if the conversation winds up moving in that direction.

I can’t say it’s very traumatic for me.  Much as the case with my characters, it was not anything earth shattering when I came out – my family accepted and supported it without reservation or any fuss.  My friends seemed rather unfazed by the fact.  Which, frankly, is as it should be.  I can’t even say I’ve been harassed by strangers about it; though in perfect honesty I’m left wondering a lot if the people likely to just didn’t work it out in time to say something; it’s really amazing when the couple in question is female how few people register ‘couple’ instead of ‘friends/sisters’.  Strangely enough, when the couple is male the opposite is true:  people think ‘couple’ before it occurs to them it could be friends or brothers.  It’s why I agree so much with the idea that there are times and ways it can be rough for men, and while I’m not very keen on “the mens’ rights movement” I am in favour of the sorts of ideas relating to the fact that there are male stereotypes and gender expectations that are just as hurtful (I’m willing to concede more so, if someone can present data, but we’ll go with equal measure for now, certainly I’m not going to agree to anything less without very clear metrics) to little boys and grown men alike as the ones so often decried as damaging our little girls and our grown women.

A lesbian couple married in San Francisco in 2004

A lesbian couple married in San Francisco in 2004 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, I’m married to my wife.  No, it’s not legally binding where we live:  more’s the pity.

Still, I didn’t need to be lesbian to write Now & Forever.  Love, I feel, is love.  I could have written a classic boy-meets-girl, a heterosexual romance, just as easily by finding a man to put in Lauren or Salencia’s place.  Laurne or Sally could be transgender, either as in one of them truly feels she is hi, instead, or that one of them was once actually Lawrence or Salencio and have long since transitioned to the girls we know; they aren’t, but there’s no reason they couldn’t have been.

I say this because it is important to me that people realise that it’s stupid to support an author for who they are or are not, rather than for what they’ve done.  I can understand one who incensed you sufficiently not to wish to put money in her pocket; but buy the work used if you’re curious, otherwise give it a miss certainly.  The fact of the matter is that I don’t wish for anyone to feel that my gender or sexuality had anything whatsoever to do with any feelings of validity or reality in the characters.  I’ve written convincing males before, just not in anything I’ve bothered with publishing, just short little things I wrote for my own pleasure and amusement, some of them not even enough to call a vignette and the validity of these males is confirmed by males I know, QED.

So, yes, here, publicly, as this post will be right where Google and Bing can find it next time they crawl my page, I’m out in a big way.  Wow, Jaye Em Edgecliff is a [insert lesbian epitaph of your choice]!  Amazing.  And, I suppose, it is worth mentioning, yes I am actually gay – not bi, or pan, or any of that sort of thing, I’ve never seen the appeal in masculine bodies except for a few little tugs from an ingrained reproductive instinct that seems to feel Chris Hemsworth would be an awesome choice to have kids with.

I am not, however, going to start updating my biographical information anywhere to discuss that I’m female, nor that I like other females, that I’m married or to whom or what.  It will be a fact, those who care and are diligent in their research can find out, otherwise it will be left as a passing detail, a bit of data that has no more bearing on me professionally than the fact that my birthday is in July.

I encourage people who look to authors they follow and read:  be an ally.  I’m not talking Social Justice Warrior, most of them annoy … everyone as far as I can tell, certainly I’m inclined to not take them seriously … but just if you’re straight that doesn’t mean you can’t stand up for the civil rights of homosexuals even if you don’t know any (besides, odds are that you do and just don’t know it) or of transgender people, intersexed, bisexuals, etc.  I certainly don’t post the things I do on my Facebook page to be self serving, I do it to support and acknowledge the humanity of those around me whatever and whomever they are – unless you’re being cruel to animals or anyone else who is helpless, then I don’t tend to consider you human anymore and reckon you have every right to rot in as many hells as there might turn out to be.  Actually, blanket statement:  don’t be a dick.  There.

I’ve rambled more than usual.  It probably means I’ve not had hardly enough to eat today and my brain is shutting down.  But I just wanted to affirm:  yes the interview was legit, yes, I’m married to a woman, yes I’m gay; now let’s talk about something important.

Some people would turn off comments at for a post like this.  I won’t.  At least not unless people decide to get really stupid or ugly in them.  Odds are no one will partake of them anyway.  But they’re there if this has left anyone with an itch to speak her mind.

Love to all.

[Reblog] Cis Lesbian Dismissal of Trans Lesbians, and Why it’s Wrong

Rather beautifully put, I thought.  Though I do tend to find that referring to things as hetero-privilege, or cis-privilege, white-privilege is often a bit short sighted.  I’m not sure it’s a privilege to not always think things through properly or to simply be unaware of an issue or to not be able to quite wrap your head around it.

An example — my own editor is, psychologically, quite androgynous despite identifying as female and as such can at times be rather confused about things that matter to cis-men or cis-women alike around her and some aspects of transgenderism don’t quite … click … for her without a little hand-holding and analogy to help her fathom whatever concept is in question.  She’s not suffering from this disease of cis-privilege, there’s room to even debate if she is or is not cis for one thing, she just doesn’t understand because it’s not her issue.  She’s bisexual and her issues are not those of the homosexual nor the heterosexual people around her and just as those trans and cis friends of hers must explain things to her, she in turn must explain her androgyny or bisexuality to them.  Do they, then, suffer trans-privilege or homo-privilege in addition to the others purportedly possessed of cis and hetero privileges?

This isn’t to say that there isn’t some privilege extended to men, to cisgendered of either side of the binary, to heterosexuals.  This is rarely anything that can be helped by the individual, only by society and its expectations.  This is the man being, perhaps, more likely to get a job.  The white person who isn’t watched by security as closely in the department store.  The person dressed in a fashion that suggests wealth being treated with greater deference than the one who, by their clothes, may well be poor.  The cisgender who is taken more seriously at work and who is never asked to go to a special restroom at their job or asked for ID by some zealous clerk when taking a pee in some public facility.  Cis and straight, regardless of race, are not denied their basic civil rights by any country in the western world that I can think of.  That is privilege.

Still, regardless my pet-peeve on the overuse of ‘privilege’ in our language these days, this post makes a fantastic point:  If you cannot accept a trans-woman as a lesbian or a trans-man as gay then you are being a) quite sexist and/or b) you are saying that this person whose sex and gender simply do not match is not who and what they say they are.  Are we so insecure in our own gender-identities, are we so ashamed or proud of our sex and our sexuality, that we should deny others their right to be who and what God made them?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Cis Lesbian Dismissal of Trans Lesbians, and Why it’s Wrong

Ying posed the following scenario/question: “Recently, I heard a lesbian woman comment about a trans woman (who happens to be a lesbian). She said the transwoman was not “really” a lesbian like she was. It was upsetting to me. No one can define another person’s identity, right? It seemed so petty, too. What skin is it off her nose anyway? What are your thoughts on people not accepting a trans person’s sexual orientation as being valid?”

Something to consider is going into this is that even though many of the LGB portion of our acronym are supportive and allies, that makes them no less cisgender. Just like any non-LGB person, they’re acting from a position of cis privilege, and don’t understand the implications of their actions, because, frankly, they don’t have to think about it much. We pop up once in a while, in a single circumstance here or there, and that’s generally the extent of it. And while they’re our allies for political purposes, I’ve come to find in my experience that LGB people are often woefully ignorant of the issues of the transgender community they support. Which is no surprise, really: We’re a vastly smaller group, a minority within our lgbt minority, so appropriately less time is spent on issues relating to us. (Just a shout-out to the LGBTU student group at The University of Akron, as they break this trend and give trans issues a much larger chunk of the spotlight than we deserve by population, because they’ve recognized the importance of these topics. Well done on them)

So what does this mean for the lesbian in question? Well, she’s invalidating our trans lesbian’s identity, plain and simple. By saying she’s not ‘really’ a lesbian, she’s implying an awful lot, and none of it is good. First and foremost, let’s go ahead and define “Lesbian”: a lesbian is a woman* who is attracted exclusively to other women*. Pretty simple definition, right? Well the two key elements are “Woman” and “Attracted exclusively to other women”. By saying she’s ‘not really a lesbian’ she has to be excluding our trans lesbian from one of the two criteria: and since, presumably, the trans lesbian has been with, or is currently with another woman, and has shown no interest in men, we can assume that ‘Attracted to other women’ is true. This means the only remaining conflict is in fact, our trans lesbian’s womanhood. There’s no other way around it. (Continues here)

The oppressed should stand together

The transgender pride flag

The transgender pride flag (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You know, sometimes I think the oppressed groups of this country (America), and possibly of much of the (at least Western) world are sometimes the worst for bigotry and hatred, cruelty and intolerance.

Oh, there goes my readership.  Fascinating whooshing sound.

Seriously, though.  I present to you a situation.

Introduce a group of cisgendered, straight men to a woman who is extremely masculine and love sport and can talk shop with them all day long and show them up on the basketball court, or introduce them to a transgender man of the same sort, etc.  Now, please note, I said men, not overgrown children and adolescents full of insecurities and nonsense.  In this scenario the woman may or may not get flirted with, both she and the transgender will be welcomed as brothers to the football couch in every example I’ve ever enountered.  Sometimes the woman, or the transgender, might have to talk a bit more shit, as they say, and be a little manlier than thou to be accepted, but for the most part in this very mainstream scenario she/he is welcome.

Take underdog minorities.  Gays, Lesbians, Transgender, Women, Geeks, etc.  The bullied and oppressed.  The downtrodden and reviled.  The ones who ought, really, to understand one another and stand up for each other and protect each other as brothers and sisters … well.  If you want to know about geeks I suggest Seanan McGuire or John Kovalic — “Fake Geek Girl” is the catchphrase to search their LJs, Twitters, Facebooks, and Blogs for.  The rest?  Feminists who reject transgender women as not really women.  Homosexuals who won’t accept that someone who favours the opposite sex from their own, but the same gender … well, “you’re not really gay, you’re just a cross dresser” is how it is most politely put.  Transsexuals who get upset with people who are content to only be transgender and don’t want their balls/ovaries, vagina/penis to be removed or ruined and say they’re not really trans, only confused.  It goes on.

What is this?  The social group version of the abused child who grows up to abuse his/her own children?  The molested and raped who go on to molest and rape in their own turn?

I like that:  molestation and rape.  It’s a good image to parallel this discussion because we are molesting and raping the self-esteem, the hearts, the souls of others just to feel even more special about that which sets us apart from the mainstream — as though that which gets us bullied and ridiculed is an exclusive club and we don’t want their kind participating?  It’s sad, it’s pathetic, it’s wrong.

I tend to stay away from social groups.  I don’t go to gay meetings, or trans-parades, or whatevers.  I simply associate with those I meet whatever and whomever that might be.  I swear I never realised how very much like the very same childish bigots for the extremist mainstream some of the various oppressed groups could start to sound until I came across discussion forums and blogs about the subject or even just personally witnessed some of the inter-“weirdo” hatred.  Seriously, folks, isn’t the one thing we’ve learnt from being gay or bi, transgender or transsexual, or whatever is that to each her/his/its own?  That, in the end, we’re all people and that we all love and live, try to find some form of joy and to find someone to share that life and joy and love with?  Do we really need to sink to the childish levels of those who would us and oppress others in our turn to feel that we’ve finally achieved some kind of status, recognition, legitimacy, etc.?  Do we?

Instead of denying that the transgendered woman beside you is even a woman, or telling her that because she has a penis that she can’t possibly be a lesbian … embrace her and treat her as a fellow, as a sister, as someone who quite possibly is going through more and worse shit than you are Ms Cisgendered lesbian or Cisgendered Straight Feminist.  That gentleman over there crying because he cannot get a hysterectomy and it’s time for his period and he thoroughly hates himself right now needs comfort, not derision.  That genderqueer … something in-between … is being very brave to show (for want of a useful English pronoun for a hypothetical person) its face in public, congratulations are due, not insults.  Gay men do not threaten feminism … none of it.

If we as peoples looking for greater respect from those around us … what makes us so special we deserve and are entitled to greater respect than we’re willing to show to others?  The transgenders who are rude to all cisgender.  The gays who are as hateful to straights.  Everyone is so mean to bisexuals — they’re not sex fiends, really they’re not.  We are entitled to respect because every major faith I can name says, in some fashion, “Love thy neighbour as thyself”.  In short, we show to those around us, those who remember that, every bit of respect and courtesy we can, all the love and kindness who possess — because we hope to recieve that love and kindness, that respect and courtesy back … no, because the more love in the world the better the world.  If you’re hateful you, by most logical arguments, deserve only hate — but maybe if you’re shown a little love and respect instead you might come around to a better attitude.  I’ve my own share of prejudices and dislikes — I’m no saint; I sincerely don’t trust or respect most yuppies I meet, I can’t help it they make me nervous.  We’re human, but while that means we’re flawed, it doesn’t mean we have to embrace our flaws, it just means we should know we’re not perfect, watch for the signs of how we’re not and fix them so that, maybe one day, we will be perfect.

I don’t care if you follow Christ or not — I don’t, though I love His teachings and stories — strive to be like Him or any of his various analogues through the course of history.  Be better than those who hate you.  Be a source of love to all.  What would happen if every person on the planet, tomorrow, jumped out of bed and decided to not treat a single living soul like shit ever again?  Pretty awesome world we’d have, wouldn’t it?  We can’t convince the full 7billion+ humans of this globe to do that, but we can each of us jump out of bed tomorrow morning determined to be excellent to each other and make that many more lives that much better than they would have been otherwise.

Just a thought.

A bestseller in the making.

#14 in “Hot New Releases” – Lesbian, and #29 in Lesbian fiction overall?!

That’s where Love or Lust is on Amazon’s ranking system as I type this.

According to some, this means that I am a bestseller.  I’m still in the 12k-th slot on Amazon, overall, but … wow.

oh, and for my UK friends?

no14-hnr no29