Personal Posts

My “Gay” Project


One of my longtime projects has been a book based around a gay couple with a shared passion for music. Now that the project is getting closer and closer to reaching its end, I have been giving out a few copies to my most reliable beta readers.

Well, now I have no beta readers.

Why?

They all said that it would be better if the couple was straight.

I asked them why.

They said, “Because it just would.”

Now, these beta readers have been my friends for a long, long time, but I’d rather have no friends if that is how they truly feel about it. They gave me no real evidence or reasons to change them, yet they still demanded they be changed. If they had given me at least one decent reason, I may have at least thought about it, but, chances are, it wouldn’t have changed a thing. Sure, I may be a little harsh about all of this, but their words and feelings about this truly resonated with me and made me start to think.

Why had I made them gay?

I don’t think it had ever been a conscious decision. It just happened. It felt right for it to be that way. The two characters were perfect for each other (in my own opinion, of course), and by changing one of them into a girl… it just wouldn’t feel that way anymore.

In a previous post, I mentioned how much I care about my characters. I want them all to be happy, but not without trials and learning situations. I want to give them the most realistic life as I possibly can. Sure, it sounds crazy, but I truly believe the story wouldn’t mean as much or be as realistic as I had always dreamed it would be if I changed my characters. Even a minor gender change would feel wrong.

Chances are, some of you are reading this and clicking the “unfollow” button as quickly as your fingers can muster, but I hope some of you stop and think for a second. About what? Well, that’s up to you. I never meant for this book/blog to ever hold a political stance or statement, and I still feel this way.

This is all about art. I want my art to be everything I had imagined it would be. I never meant to single someone out or make anyone feel uncomfortable, but I do want people to think and to feel. Whether it was positive or negative, I will stand by it. It’s up to you how you perceive things like this. So, now I must ask you, how do you feel about it?

Thanks for reading!

-Lissy

24 thoughts on “My “Gay” Project”

  1. I have lots of gay friends. Even family. I see nothing wrong with your choice of characters. Keep them gay. Your choice.

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  2. As a Bi male I obviously have no problem with your choice. I wish more books (movies and TV shows) would include gay characters as average people without the need to overemphasize their orientation. Ignore your “friends” recommendation.

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    1. That’s what I think people, like my “friends,” fail to realize. Being gay doesn’t mean you’re not human. It’s an orientation, not a person. They’re human, just like all of us, and that is how they should be viewed. As humans.

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  3. We need more gay characters going about their lives. It’s not enough to have gay characters in a story about being gay. We need them in stories about other things too, because in real life Gay people have lives and do things that have nothing to do with being Gay. If your friends don’t see it that way, they maybe need to open their eyes to the world around them.

    Don’t give up on them just because they tripped over this. Give them a chance to realize that they fell down and get up again. In the meantime, recognize that all advice is nothing more than someone else’s opinion. You are under no obligation to follow it, even if you asked for it.

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    1. They, unfortunately, left on their own accord. They refused to read anymore unless I make the change, which I kindly refused.

      Their opinion was strong enough that they wouldn’t even allow for my artistic freedom. I wish I could have kept them around, but my decision to not listen to their advice was too much for them to stick around… Though how if affected them, I have yet to figure out

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      1. Hi Lissy

        Obviously your ex-friends are homophobic bigots and not worth knowing. Consider joining the Goodreads M/M Romance group. There you’ll find plenty of willing beta readers.

        I wish you every success with your book.

        Justin

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  4. Ouch.

    Fortunately, there are plenty of people out there who enjoy a good story with LGBTQ characters. You just need to make friends with some of us!

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  5. Good on you for not changing it. You always have to remain true to your characters. I have a story (not yet published) where I was struggling with the central love arc. I will not go into detail, because I do not want to hijack your blog talking about my book, but basically, I kept switching the genders around because I could not decide which character should be the male and which the female.
    Eventually, I realised that they both had to be female (it is a complicated thing to do with them both having lost their father). At first, I introduced 2 token male love interests, but it still did not work. The interesting love story had to take place between the two leads. When I stopped seeing the fact that they were both women to be a plot hole and allowed their relationship to develop it totally transformed the story and I am glad that I did not compromise.
    The important thing to remember is that homophobic views will become outdated far sooner than your story. The best thing about self publishing is that you have the control over what you choose to say and do not have to bow to political (or any other) pressure. Good luck with your story.

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    1. You’re very right. My decision to make them gay… was actually never a decision. I was writing just to write, and they just both happened to be male by the end of it… I never thought that detail would rock my world, but I suppose it is for the better. Those who care, don’t matter, and the people who do matter, don’t care. They’ll read my work, and I they will enjoy it for it is, not for what they want it to be.

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  6. Hey Alyssa –

    I’m really glad you are staying true to yourself. I’m sure it is something of a shock to find this reaction in people you trusted. Please let me know if I can help as a beta or anything else. Best of luck to you with your writing.

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    1. Thank you so much. I appreciate it. The mass amount of support I’m getting over this completely overshadows the pain and fear. I’m no longer ashamed because I know I don’t have a reason to be. Thank you, again. 🙂

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  7. It’s crazy to me how many books have been banned or challenged because of homosexuality–I can’t even imagine how heartbreaking it must be to anyone who identifies as LGBTQI to have angry people demanding that any acknowledgement of your existence be wiped out and children not exposed to it. I just wrote a book with some gay characters, and like in your experience, it was because that was who they were and the story happened that way. I’m disheartened to hear of your experience, but I hope it makes your beta readers question some of their values and worldview (and realize this isn’t about ‘politics’ as much as it is about people) and good for you for not changing your mind and for staying true to your story! I look forward to hearing more about the project and about your writing!

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  8. I’m so happy to hear you’re standing by your characters (and I’m sure they are very, very happy that they won’t be turned into girls!). Sadly, the reaction of your “friends” is precisely why you need to stick to your guns and put the story out there. The world is full of LGBT people who deserve the same, rich life experiences as anyone else—society can’t just pretend they don’t exist. I’d be happy to beta read your story for you. madisonparklove@gmail.com

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  9. Sorry you had to even go through this, especially by people you considered friends who should support you. If you need any help, I’ve done a couple of beta reads and would be happy to help you out and provide any feedback you may need.

    Keep believing in your story and your characters. Much success to you!

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