Bluntly, I'm writing a book with a homosexual protagonist. If Amazon fails to carry it (never mind the whole finding a publisher bit first), I'm fucked.
People have asked me about why Trinidad is homosexual. That, to a writer, is sometimes like asking why the sky is blue. At first my answer was He just is. It's not even a big deal to the character. His lover being another man is not at issue; that he's a Wiccan throws a load of shit at a lot of fans.
A big debate on portrayals of homosexuals in the media derides the "I dunno, he just is" kind of answer as insulting to the intelligence/sensibility of homosexuals everywhere. I'm not sure I agree with that. However, if someone were to argue the merits of writing any character trait without understanding why, then I see the reasoning. No character trait should go unexamined. So when Trinidad persistently remained homosexual through synopsis, hook development, plotting, drafting, and now revision/drafting, I had to take a look at it. I thunk to myself: the book is dystopic, but Everything Is Wrong gets a little wearing. I'm actively making every character the hero of their own story to give them some level of sympathy, and the last aspect I wanted readers to sympathisewith regarding Trinidad was his sexuality.
So I started wondering, what if humankind had actually made a little progress in the next 50-60 or 150 years? What if many social mores went away? What, if anything, could that possibly fix? Well, it might fix a few things, but not all. This being fiction, Trinidad needs lots of problems to overcome; his loving a Witch is one of them. I'm also determined to present a fully-fledged, well-rounded, developed homosexual character to whom sexual orientation doesn't matter in an exterior ir interior conflictual sense. This is mostly because it's is my world I'm creating, a partial statement of the author's own world view, which is what all great fiction should contain on some level. To me, sexual orientation is a non-issue.
(I won't go so far as to say I don't think about gay sexual acts. It bugged me. But I finally realized I wonder about lots of people's sexual lives, not gays over any others, so there's that going for me. What can I say? I also like to sneak into medicine cabinets and find out what kind of toilet paper you buy. I'm curious.)
My own sexual interests aside, I am married to a member of the opposite sex, got two kids out of the deal. I'm pretty well straight. So I feel the need to be overly sensitive about the issue for the sake of my gay friends and others. I acknowledge that I cannot know on a personal level what homosexuals deal with in trying to live their lives. I can't help but admit a twinge of disgust, though, over adamant fury on the part of any deligned group--not just gays but other minorities or the military and anyone else. Such one-sidedness vaguely shades the issue with grey, being that adamancy often signals doubt in one's conviction. (Wyrd just wrote a great peice on this, which gave me such ideas for the priest in my book.)
Then I started thinking about my own socially-percieved inadequacies. The quickest one that comes to mind is that I'm short. I need a stool to reach everything in my own closet, for crissake. Kitchen counters are always a shade too high. I've had people in business situations rest their elbow on my shoulder. People call me cute. Don't even get me started on finding pants that fit right. It's annoying, damned annoying, and it permeates every facet of my life, from my 10 year old who is rapidly gaining on me to high shelves at the grocery store.
Short isn't something I'll ever escape. It's part of the definition of who I am, part of the personal landscape that is Sex.
Huh. Kinda like loving boys or girls.