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Archived Threads > Author's Gender...Does it matter?

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message 1: by Lori (new)

Lori  (ModeratrixLori) This question is really directed more to the guys and is in regards to M/M Romance or gay fiction. I would welcome anyone's opinion though.

A lot of people say that the gender of an author doesn't matter. I can understand that if you're just reading for pleasure and you're not trying to gain any insight or understanding of the issues that face gay men/teens. But what if you are looking for insight, understanding or maybe even some level of comfort in the books you're reading? Here's my questions...

Does the author's gender matter to you?

Do you think that M/M Romance or gay fiction written by a gay man is more authentic or relateable?

Do you think that authors in this genre should be honest about their gender?

How would you feel if an author was writing as a gay man but was later revealed to be a woman?


message 2: by Sammy Goode (new)

Sammy Goode | 5376 comments I know--I know--I'm the wrong gender--but this is a sad moment--I am sure this is spill over from the AJ Llewelyn mess--so sad.


message 3: by Kaje (last edited Nov 08, 2011 08:05AM) (new)

Kaje Harper | 15231 comments I do think authors should be honest about their gender - which doesn't mean they have to say either way, but they shouldn't lie about it. OK to say, "I want you to judge my stories on their own merits so I'm not putting my personal information out there" but a flat-out lie is wrong to me. (It is important perhaps to bear in mind that some writers who have been around for a while may have made the choice way back, when a female author name on a m/m book might have drastically impacted sales.) And also as in the recent case (AJ) if you are transgender, you shouldn't have to defend that choice.


message 4: by Byron (new)

Byron (byft) | 1060 comments In context to YA - A story is a story. If someone has the ability to tell a story then I'll read it.Romance or regular FICTION, I care not.

I do believe that if an author were to claim that something is based on their experience or something (where it ceases to be fiction!) that would certainly affect their standing in my mind. Never for fiction though...

So do I care if authors are honest about their gender, nope, not really. What about writing as a gay man and being revealed to be a woman? not really if they are writing fiction. (one of the first literary dramas in australia was over Miles Franklin.. who just happened to be a woman, writing as a man, because it was 'unacceptable' to be a female writier!! (that was WAY WAY back in history though.. (hehe))

~shrugs~

I've read that s#!t storm elsewhere... and won't comment on that..


message 5: by Jordie.R (new)

Jordie.R (JordieR) | 110 comments For me, it doesn't matter what the author's gender is. Most of the m/m romance/fiction or whatever you want to call it, that I have read, has been written by females. No reason really, I just pick books that sound like something I would like to read, and I don't care who writes them. I never really think too much about it being authentic either, it's fiction after all, and I'm reading it for fun.

As far authors being truthful about their gender, I don't see any reason to lie about it.


message 6: by Yvonne (last edited Nov 07, 2011 03:16PM) (new)

Yvonne (ysareader) | 79 comments Why do they lie about gender? Because there are some people who do buy m/m romance based on the gender of the writer and if they're gay or not. I've seen the Amazon lists to prove that.

I also think several years back, when writers first started writing m/m romance books, they were told that it would sell better if they presented themselves as gay men. It's the same way that male writers often used a female pseudonym when writing straight romance novels.

I think once it was seen that female writers of m/m romance books could sell as well and many times surpass the sale of men, the pressure to use a male pseudonym, initials or gender neutral name diminished. People didn't suddenly grow a conscience, it's just all about the money.

Now some of the people who adopted male personas years ago find themselves stuck. Some have stepped forward and admitted to being really female, while others, especially the very popular, are still hiding. We get these little mini explosions when one of them is outed, so to speak. It turns out, that some people aren't just buying the book for your writing, but buying into your whole persona. So gender doesn't matter --but sometimes it does.

Would people have bought as much of Damon's book Hot Head, if he wasn't so outgoing and giving advice on that other site as a proud gay man? His book stands on its own merit, but he was a new writer. How many people gave him a chance because of that fact? How many people gave that other writer a chance as well?


message 7: by [deleted user] (last edited Nov 07, 2011 10:31PM) (new)

A lot of people say that gender doesn't matter, but it's my observation that - at least when it comes to gay YA fiction - there seems to be a heavier preference for fiction written by gay male writers. I think it's got something to do with authenticity of voice, and it appears that more male readers skew that way than female readers. In fact, just today, I read three consecutive blog posts from gay men (I subscribe to their blogs via Google Reader) who admitted to preferring gay fiction written by gay men.

I've been on a number of mailing lists, and I noticed that about 90% of recommendations for gay YA fiction posted there are books written by male writers.

Caveat: I'm notoriously hermitic when it comes to networking, so my stomping grounds are extremely limited. I could very well be using examples that aren't representative of the big, bad world in general.


message 8: by Byron (last edited Nov 07, 2011 11:04PM) (new)

Byron (byft) | 1060 comments It's interesting you say that Hayden, I tend to avoid to many blogs that are about books or authors.. Of the few that I follow, after looking at them, it's about 50/50 and none of them mention anything about prefrences.. (tally the writers up and it's 7 out of 27 blogs..) They also are not big into literary things just authors I felt had something I could relate to on a blog.

*Edit*
Actually ONE did make comment. He didn't really say anything just that he understood about it.. BUT he did make a post later in the day that was very succinct and yet quite vague - all at the same time, about Wingnuts and such.. hehehe but having double checked the other authors narry a word..


message 9: by Darkm (last edited Nov 08, 2011 12:36AM) (new)

Darkm | 171 comments I think people who choose male authors probably like more their point of view. I don't see anything bad in it honestly. Everyone should choose what they prefer. I myself read everything, I can't know if I'd like something if I haven't tried.

I don't care when I read a book if the author is male or female, I don't like lies though. Or better, I don't understand the need for them.


message 10: by BJ (new)

BJ (heresjohnny) | 381 comments Honestly, it doesn't matter to me either way... I always assume it's a woman writing unless stated otherwise. A story needs to make me feel something - that's why i'm reading it - I want to escape to another time, another place, experience life through another's eyes - if an author can give me that, kudos to them... their gender, background, religion, all of that is irrelevant if they can write a decent story... :)


message 11: by Byron (new)

Byron (byft) | 1060 comments Hear hear BJ...


message 12: by Darkm (new)

Darkm | 171 comments John wrote: "Honestly, it doesn't matter to me either way... I always assume it's a woman writing unless stated otherwise. A story needs to make me feel something - that's why i'm reading it - I want to escape ..."
I am exactly like you.
I guess the problem arise when people do interviews and such sharing life events that never existed. If people follow them this may confuse and hurt them.


message 13: by Sammy Goode (new)

Sammy Goode | 5376 comments Here's my thought: Throughout history there have been women AND men who have hidden behind a pen name for various reasons. Some have gone on to be "exposed: think Mary Ann Evers for George Eliot or Nora Roberts as J.D. Robb And then L. Frank Baum who wrote under a female's name for years and of course Robert A. Heinlein he of science fiction fame wrote romance novels under his wife's name.

BUT--unless you point to Benjamin Franklin writing as Silence Dogood--a elderly widow while he was still a 16 year old boy--you really don't see any other of these authors "influencing" a "lifestyle". I believe the outrage over discovery that a prominent male gay fiction writer is actually a woman is directly connected to the length and depths to which he/she took to conceal her/his gender from the world. Also his writing extended beyond simple m/m fiction into commentary on the gay lifestyle, living the "life", etc. and from what I've read was not always kind to those who "hid" their sexuality. Hence the sh**storm Byron referred to earlier in this post.

Here's the thing--you are reading erotica--you are reading FICTION--if you were reading social commentary, non-fiction fact based material then by all means say who you are and don't lie to us--we have invested in your identity because we are assuming you are an expert or leading voice in your field of study. BUT, if I am going to an author for a bit of escape, a bit of fun reading--I am not going to be insulted if that same author choses to hide their real name or gender due to various reasons--some of which are as life changing as losing their day job should they be exposed.

I also think it is a sad commentary but a realistic one that people are going to fiction to understand more about themselves or for enlightenment--I hate to say it but as wonderful as fiction is--it is not a tool for understanding the REAL world--it is a skewed vision of a creative mind--not fact, not reality. And if our youth are going to coming of age fiction for comfort and enlightenment then we as a people who genuinely care for them are failing--totally failing in nurturing them and guiding them in this very real world. I'm not saying it does not happen, I am just saying that when it does it should be a wake up call to all of us to be more vocal and supportive here in the real world.

So I will now retire my soap box but I do think it is important to never assume that the person writing under a pseudonym is doing so to inflict pain or to "fool" the world for gleeful purposes--no, it may be something as simple as I can't tell you who I really am cause I'm still figuring that out myself.


message 14: by Kaje (new)

Kaje Harper | 15231 comments Sammy2006 wrote: "I believe the outrage over discovery that a prominent male gay fiction writer is actually a woman is directly connected to the length and depths to which he/she took to conceal her/his gender from the world. Also his writing extended beyond simple m/m fiction into commentary on the gay lifestyle, living the "life", etc. and from what I've read was not always kind to those who "hid" their sexuality. Hence the sh**storm Byron referred to earlier in this post...."

It adds to the confusion when the author says they live as a man and are presurgical trans. If true, then the deceptions and comments are part of a gender issue which is far more personal and less about sales and persona. It makes me more sympathetic to their position, although I haven't read the lifestyle comments myself and can't speak to those.


message 15: by Yvonne (last edited Nov 08, 2011 09:49AM) (new)

Yvonne (ysareader) | 79 comments Well it's fiction and it's not like romance books in general are known for being perfectly accurate on what goes on in the bedroom. (I'm trying to keep it clean as this is a YA site).

Also I've read romances written by gay men and believe me they're exaggerated as well. I cracked up recently on how many times this book I read had to mention the specific # of large inches for this particular MC member. And ones where the guy seems to find a gay guy or a straight guy willing to be gay for him on every corner or how many of these guys have impossible recovery times.

It's fiction so I go with it. I think both genders bring something to the table.


message 16: by [deleted user] (last edited Nov 08, 2011 05:24PM) (new)

Byron wrote: "It's interesting you say that Hayden, I tend to avoid to many blogs that are about books or authors.. Of the few that I follow, after looking at them, it's about 50/50 and none of them mention anyt..."

I know who you're talking about in your edit, BTW. XD I've whittled down my subscriptions especially after I notice undercurrents of wank showing in an author's blog posts. Life's too short to put up with that crap.


message 17: by [deleted user] (last edited Nov 08, 2011 12:35PM) (new)

@Sammy2006

I also think it is a sad commentary but a realistic one that people are going to fiction to understand more about themselves or for enlightenment--I hate to say it but as wonderful as fiction is--it is not a tool for understanding the REAL world--it is a skewed vision of a creative mind--not fact, not reality. And if our youth are going to coming of age fiction for comfort and enlightenment then we as a people who genuinely care for them are failing--totally failing in nurturing them and guiding them in this very real world.

To an extent, yes, I agree. There are some cases, though, where kids might not have any other option available to them (at least in their eyes) beyond books. And I think that's where authenticity of voice comes in handy, and that's also why I think that LGBT writers are better equipped (for lack of a better term) to write realistic coming-out stories and so on because of their own experiences in their youth.** There's some guidance going on there, but at the same time, to support what you've noted, it should only be supplementary to real experiences, not a complete replacement.

** This point is in relation to me, BTW. There are other straight authors out there of both sexes who do a spectacular job writing coming-out novels, but I don't have that confidence.

This is the reason why I only write escapist fiction or at least issue-centric fiction that doesn't focus on coming out.



message 18: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lynne (patricialynne07) Vladimir wrote: "The writer's gender doesn't matter to me even when it comes to the m/m genre. Although how a female writer can vividly portray two men making love never ceases to amaze me. I wonder how they know s..."

I don't know about other female writers, but my writing partner, Daniel, fact checks for me. Or at least that's his excuse to why he demands to read what I write. But seriously, I know I can count on him to make sure my scenes are accurate.


As for the topic. Gender of the author doesn't matter to me either, but I would prefer they be truthful about it. On the other hand, I can understand why some readers may want to read books by authors of the same gender. It gives the assumption that the author's story will relate better because they know from personal experience. In fact, sometimes I wonder if me being female would stop someone from reading my LGBQT stories because they would assume I can't relate. Which isn't true, because while I may not have experiences that are similar, I can empathize and use that empathy to make characters that are relatable.


message 19: by Damon (last edited Nov 08, 2011 01:40PM) (new)

Damon Suede (DamonSuede) | 8 comments Does the author's gender matter to you?
Authorial gender doesn't matter to me at all. Why would it? Most of my favorite M/M authors are women and I am a gay man. All that matters to me is the quality. Genitals and gender have nothing to do with my enjoyment of their fiction.

Do you think that M/M Romance or gay fiction written by a gay man is more authentic or relateable?
In any fiction, close knowledge based on experience or research is going to shore up the worldbuilding within the story...so sure, being gay and a man gives you a leg up when you're writing about gay men. But being a paramedic gives you a leg up on being a paramedic and being a Brontosaurus gives you a leg up on writing about dinosaur relationships. It's a factor, but it isn't THE factor...if you see what I mean. Georgette Heyer was NOT a Regency ingénue. Gregory Maguire was not a female witch from Oz. You know what counts the most? Talent and craft. Everything else is smoke and sewage. Great writing always trumps such minor considerations. Life experience means fuck all if you can’t articulate it!

Do you think that authors in this genre should be honest about their gender?
In gay fiction (and even more in YA gay fiction) authorial integrity carries much greater weight because so much of LGBTQ fiction is about being visible and being authentic. Gay fiction is MUCH MORE than entertainment for some people. It can be a literal lifeline, when all other lights have gone out. UNlike almost every other minority culture, LGBTQ kids are born into families who are NOT LGBTQ. LGBTQ people often live in fear and hiding in communities that literally wish to lynch them and burn them alive. Authorial deception about the fundamental identity is shocking and ridiculous in a genre predicated ENTIRELY on issues of authenticity and identity…even moreso when they are marketing directly to LGBTQ readers. Only someone who has never experienced the damage caused by inauthenticity and being negated by the prevailing culture could claim otherwise.

Likewise, as Yvonne points out kindly, my first novel was judged differently because I was a gay man. Readers judge writers constantly. Reading is itself an interpretative act. Since Hot Head came out, I get fan mail from people who believe I am a firefighter and I immediately disabuse them of that notion. It would be IRRESPONSIBLE to lie to them about that. If a young gay fireman asks me for advice because he reads my book, it would be IRRESPONSIBLE to give him advice based on that fraud. And being a fireman is just a job; being gay is more basic and fundamental to anyone’s life.


How would you feel if an author was writing as a gay man but was later revealed to be a woman?
Enormous high-profile authorial fraud has been all over the media for the past decade. C’mon: JT LeRoy? James Frey?! Anyone unaware that it is both immoral and illegal to impersonate people and dispense information appropriated by that falsehood has been living under a rock or with significant educational shortcomings. I have known there were female authors actively deceiving their readership about their gender since I started reading gay romance. In some cases it’s blatant enough to be comical, in all cases it’s sad, gross, and ironic in a genre which should be about tolerance, wholeness, and integrity. Shades of the Vichy, methinks. I have blogged about this several times, and suggested each time that the entire community offer amnesty to impersonators willing to come clean. I understand the fanfic roots of a lot of the impulse to impersonate, but fraud is fraud. Umm, duh?

Do I think Llewellyn and others like her are evil? No. Will people forget? Sure. Does the behavior suck? Yes. Do I understand how it is possible for an essentially moral person to act so shoddily? More than I’d care to. Do I think it is unforgivable? No, obviously. Do I think it's embarrassing that bystanders are willing to leap to the defense of vile behavior because it is expedient and mollifying? Absolutely. Have I noticed that the folks who have no problem with the AJ Llewellyn situation and feel like there's a CRAZY "witch hunt" going on are primarily NOT gay male authors? Yes. Do I think writers should not prostitute the oppression, pain, and life experience of others for a buck or for authority? No question. Does AJ Llewellyn have any fundamental grasp of WHY what she has been doing is insulting and hurtful? Apparently not, nor do the people who have rushed to “defend” her shitty behavior by drawing a heavy curtain over it.

What is MOST distressing to me is how many people are quick to sweep this under the rug and pretend that nothing egregious has transpired, that planting a convenient, shiny flag in the "Trans-queer" identity has wiped away her misbehavior.

For the record, the pseudonym and the DECEPTION are not what upsets people; rather it is the blindness to the deeper implications of her behavior around and within the genre. Impersonation is creepy, but that’s not why people are angry. It is deceitful to suggest for Llewellyn or her apologists to suggest otherwise. No, folks are upset because of the condescending “gay male” posts denigrating female authors and opinions expressed BY a female author perpetrating an elaborate fraud so that a deception could be enshrined as expertise. Llewellyn’s posturing and bullying have created the “witch hunt” she’s complaining about. Except that a witch hunt persecutes an innocent person for an imaginary offense. Llewellyn is NOT an innocent person and it is NOT an imaginary offense. The current outrage comes from fans she DID deceive in a calculated fashion over years and from female authors she accused of “cashing in” on gay romance, from reviewers lambasted for questioning her "personal experience" as a gay man, from actual gay men scolded for seeing gaps between their real life experience and her shameless fabrications. Those people have a right to be angry. She should be ashamed of having acted this way. It IS shameful. Ergo, it cannot be a witch hunt or a vendetta or any other buzzword designed to bamboozle observers into knee-jerk pity.

In case anyone hasn’t noticed: LBGTQ people are real. We aren’t just characters in books. We are beaten and abandoned and and raped and shunned and assaulted and murdered with metronomic frequency. We deserve hope and beauty and honesty and a measure of respect. Whether members or observers of a subculture, ALL writers of any gender should treat their subjects with honor and diligence, especially if they hope to be treated with honor and diligence in kind. XENIA counts, yo. Any time someone appropriates suffering and struggle for personal gain they violate a basic trust…they break faith, not with their readership, but with the rest of humanity. It is inhuman to trivialize suffering, and it is equally inhuman to excuse the choice to do so. More lessons from the trenches: they also murder who only watch.

I will now share a lesson learned living as an actual bona fide, three-dimensional gay man who has had the shit kicked out of me by people wishing I was dead, bigots who tried to snuff me out by any and all means available: TRUTH REVEALS ITSELF, ALWAYS.

This kind of impersonation trivializes the reality of people’s lives. Intolerance and pain are not things to be borrowed, but rather shadows that deserve the light of calm truth thrown across them whenever we can kindle it. If we as a genre want to be taken seriously, if we as readers, writers, publishers, and critics want to evolve and to thrive we have to cast off the romper-room, who-cares-if-I-fib, no-one-will-notice mentality that would allow anyone to perpetrate that kind of putrid mishegas. I think this embarrassing adolescent meltdown should act as a line in the sand.

Gay Romance is not as small or unnoticed as it once was. Big spotlights are aimed our way. Folks are paying attention. We should be happy about that! I hope our other imperiled impersonators come clean. They know who they are, and the truth is coming for them. Pen names will always exist in genre fiction, but M/M occupies a strange turf between gay politics and romance fandom. There IS a tidal shift in gay romance at the moment, on the professional, creative and personal levels. This silly tempest in a teapot “scandal” is a sign of the times. As any genre draws more attention, more people will treat it like a business and “simple” white lies like basic identity and life experience are gonna turn toxic quick. CAVEAT SCRIPTOR: TRUTH AHEAD.

Namaste.


message 20: by Jaime (new)

Jaime Wow Damon, great post!


message 21: by [deleted user] (new)

Damon, if I haven't said it before, (and I'm pretty sure I have, somewhere) let me say it here- I LOVE YOU.


message 22: by Damon (new)

Damon Suede (DamonSuede) | 8 comments I didn';t mean to go on so long, but I think this issue and this conversation is actually critical to the health of the genre. Thank you for reading all of it!!

Y'know, in case I didn't make it clear in all the above pontificating... I don't bear any of these "impersonators" ill will. They make me sad mostly and they reflect poorly on the future growth of the genre. But some of Llewellyn's behavior (specifically) has been astonishing before, during and after this all came to light. Some of the kneejerk defense and absolution sits VERY uneasily with me given what I've witnessed.

Maybe this moment will become a point of growth for all of us. I'd like to hope so. The one distressing thing in the past week is that by ignoring the real cause of anger, she (and her apologists) are hampering a real opportunity for forward motion and positive evolution.


message 23: by Fangtasia (new)

Fangtasia Damon wrote: "I didn';t mean to go on so long, but I think this issue and this conversation is actually critical to the health of the genre. Thank you for reading all of it!!

Y'know, in case I didn't make it c..."


*taking my hat off to you and bowing*


message 24: by Elci (new)

Elci  Jaime wrote: "Wow Damon, great post!"

Yeah, what Jaime said.


message 25: by Jaime (new)

Jaime I wish AJ and all her apologists would read your post, Damon.


message 26: by Jordie.R (new)

Jordie.R (JordieR) | 110 comments Damon, will you come to class and write my papers for me??


message 27: by Jenn (last edited Nov 08, 2011 02:40PM) (new)

Jenn | 5 comments Great post, Damon! And lol at Jordie! ^^^^


message 28: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lynne (patricialynne07) Wow, way to rant Damon! ;) I don't know a whole lot about the author in question, but I think you made awesome points.

(BTW googled the author, read her blog about what happened and maybe it's just me, but the whole "I've always been a man trapped in a woman's body" just sounds like a convient excuse to get out of trouble. I don't really know since I don't know the author, but that's just how it feels.)


message 29: by Lauraadriana (new)

Lauraadriana | 11 comments Right on, Damon. Deception, even with seemingly justifiable reasons, is still deception. I don't know this author well at all. Have only read one of her books. But there are authors in this genre that I read faithfully. I recommend them to friends. I take who they say they are at face value, and it would be very hard for me to learn that they are not who they say they are.

This, is not an issue about gender for me. But of misinterpretation. I don't care about the gender of the authors who write the books I love to read. I just don't like being misled either. Like Damon said too many GLBT have gone through too much to just be who they are and just live their lives. 'White' lies that can affect how people see or the authors in this genre or their credibility, are not things to be dismissec without some introspection.


message 30: by Jaime (new)

Jaime Patricia, that is how I feel also :(


message 31: by Jaime (new)

Jaime Jenn, did you read her interview at Wave's? That was disturbing!


message 32: by [deleted user] (last edited Nov 08, 2011 05:34PM) (new)

Damon wrote: "Does the author's gender matter to you?
Authorial gender doesn't matter to me at all. Why would it? Most of my favorite M/M authors are women and I am a gay man. All that matters to me is the quali..."


Thank you for this. That's been the argument being made by those who "outed" Llewellyn, and yet her supporters refuse to grasp the core issue being raised and yell back, using "homophobia" or "bitterly jealous" or whatever the hell have you-isms.

One of the problems I see is that there's quite a bit of cliquishness in the M/M market, most likely because it's a small one, with people transitioning together from amateur slash fiction to published M/M romance. And sometimes the support being given to one's favorite author can blindside people, and it's difficult (impossible?) to look beyond perceptions that you've long formed.

ETA: deleted the rest of my post because I got way too critical for my own good. It doesn't pay to post when I'm getting myself riled up unnecessarily.


message 33: by Lauraadriana (last edited Nov 08, 2011 03:07PM) (new)

Lauraadriana | 11 comments Jenn wrote: "That's how I feel, Laura! It's not about the pen name. It's this whole persona she created and articles she wrote that rub me the wrong way. I think authors to sone degree should use pen names, but..."

Yeah, I've been talking about this for weeks with friends. As readers, being respectful and supportive is very important. But that has to be a two way street. Calling someone on behavior that was deceptive, is not being unaccepting. I've said this before, I'd be hard pressed to find someone that reads and supports this genre who is not implicitly accepting of GLBT. But does that mean we can't disagree that don't seem right to us? I don't think it is.


message 34: by Adrian (last edited Nov 08, 2011 03:14PM) (new)

Adrian Anderson Somehow people always do seem to misinterpret what I say so I will just say it simply.:)

1) I don't agree with the course of action that A.J.L. took, but I guess given the situation (and I believe in innocent until proven guilty) I can understand given the situation why he did it.

2) Do I agree that people were hurt. Yes. I do. Deception always hurts. Do I believe that if A.J.L.'s situation is real - I am inclined to believe it is until evidence is provided to the contrary. Do I think the hurt some people are claiming is in anyway comparable to A.J.'s experiences - no I do not.

3) Obviously A.J. has deep rooted issues. Coming fresh out of my psych rotation I can see signs of unhealthy coping mechanisms, with strong dissociative leanings and the adoption of a pseudo-persona for relief. Do I think he should be crucified for it. No I do not.

People talk about deception and such. A.J. if he is to be believed IS a member of the LGBT community. I believe personally that the coming out story as well as the bashing story may well have been valid and true just framed within the gay male persona he crafted for himself as in his words, he feels like a gay man in a female body.

I think at the end of the day the issue is really one of basic humanity. Someone in such a situation...is in need of support. Note I say SUPPORT. As someone above said SUPPORT does not mean you agree with them.

And as someone else said above, about blindness etc etc. It isn't about that at all. Speaking purely from a medical standpoint, it is better to lose your eyes than your heart.

There, I said my piece. Now just need to don the armor for any possible backlash since everyone is getting hella fired up about this issue, with little regard for the feelings of the stakeholders involved.


message 35: by Jaime (new)

Jaime This is funny Adrian,
I think at the end of the day the issue is really one of basic humanity. Someone in such a situation...is in need of support. Note I say SUPPORT. As someone above said SUPPORT does not mean you agree with them.

So in SUPPORT, does that mean you bash people who don't agree with you?


message 36: by Wave (new)

Wave (jessewave) | 5 comments Great summarization of why I'm so upset at A.J. Llewellyn's deception. This is not just an issue of using a pen name - almost every author uses a pseudonym. What A.J. did was lie about her life experience as a gay man including pretending to have experienced incidents of bullying during her teen years. She has appropriated the identity of a member of a marginalized group of people for personal gain. I know how that feels since I'm a member of a minority myself. She is now caught and of course she's playing the blame game and she has all of her friends defending her. This is not victimless - the victims are the people she defrauded by pretending to be one of them.


message 37: by D.V. (new)

D.V. Patton | 12 comments Wow... just wow. I remember when my first ebook was published, I was on a private publisher author thingy, and AJ wrote a few nice encouraging comments. I checked out the reviews for his (her books), checked the website, and was a bit starstruck.

It's just JT Leroy again. That book (Sarah) meant a lot to me when I was a teenager, and it just really sucked when all that stuff came out.
This has a whiff of deja vu... sigh. But like she is a still a person, and I'm not gonna sweat because someone lied on the internet.


message 38: by Wave (new)

Wave (jessewave) | 5 comments My previous comment at No. 41 is in response to Damon's post. I should have made that clear.


message 39: by Chris (new)

Chris (egret17) Damon, that was really an excellent post about the situation. I would hope that you would post it elsewhere, available to a wider audience. I'm reading through the comments at Dear Author right now (this was one of their news items today), and your post would be hugely valuable to that discussion.


message 40: by Wave (new)

Wave (jessewave) | 5 comments I hope our other imperiled impersonators come clean. They know who they are, and the truth is coming for them

Damon, D.J. Manly A.J. Llewellyn's writing partner, outed himself on his FB today, so maybe he knew you were looking his way. :)


message 41: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lynne (patricialynne07) Chris wrote: "Damon, that was really an excellent post about the situation. I would hope that you would post it elsewhere, available to a wider audience. I'm reading through the comments at Dear Author right now..."

I'm looking through the comments there too and I agree. Damon's post would be add great value.


message 42: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lynne (patricialynne07) Wow, just got done going through the Dear Author comments. I feel kinda sticky. o.O What a mess.


message 43: by [deleted user] (last edited Nov 08, 2011 05:28PM) (new)

Patricia wrote: "Wow, just got done going through the Dear Author comments. I feel kinda sticky. o.O What a mess."

It is a mess. While I'm primarily angry, my feelings go all over the place. I think I've formed a firm opinion, and then someone posts a good counterargument that makes me reconsider and question my own judgments (which aren't very sound to begin with, it looks like). So, yeah - I guess on the whole, I feel pretty down about this. It's almost the end of the day here, and I'm spent. I need a distraction.


message 44: by Byron (new)

Byron (byft) | 1060 comments I take it that's not a good sticky??? (I meant like caramel cheesecake!!!) I am not following all the hoo-ha, aside from this thread..


message 45: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Lynne (patricialynne07) Byron wrote: "I take it that's not a good sticky??? (I meant like caramel cheesecake!!!) I am not following all the hoo-ha, aside from this thread.."

Nope, not good sticky, Byron. But if you have caramel cheesecake... LOOK A Unicorn! *Steals cheesecake*

Back to topic. Hayden, I'm trying to figure out how to explain my feelings on the matter as well. On one hand, I will give benefit of the doubt to the author, but on the other hand, I can't say it's okay because of how deep the lies went. If AJ really is a transgender male, then why not come out as that instead of a gay man? (which I'm sure someone will point out that coming out as a gay male is easier than coming out as a transgender person. I can understand, but wouldn't you want to be the one to step up for others like you? As opposed to hiding behind a lie.)


message 46: by Cleon Lee (last edited Nov 08, 2011 05:06PM) (new)

Cleon Lee While I understand people's outrage, I do believe some people overreact. And how about the fact that he admits he's a trans? It's respectful to address a trans by the gender he refers himself.

It's another thing to say "well, I need proof you're really a trans because you have lied in the past." It's another thing to brush it off as if it's a non-issue.

I find it worrisome that some people assign responsibility to "educate youth" or so to speak to romance/erotica authors. From what I've read in this genre, there are many many books I wouldn't want young people to read despite being written by gay men.

Also, if that is the case we should all express outrage at Victor J Banis for writing as a woman when he writes het romance. (I don't mind or care at all, btw.)


message 47: by [deleted user] (new)

D.V. wrote: "It's just JT Leroy again. That book (Sarah) meant a lot to me when I was a teenager, and it just really sucked when all that stuff came out."

And young readers are who concern me the most here. If they have the means and know-how, they can access adult fiction and check out adult writers' blogs. What kind of effect would this have on a kid who, like D.V., might have developed a certain kind of connection with Llewellyn via the false persona?

I don't know. I might be brooding over nothing at all, but it's crossed my mind several times since I first found out about the controversy.


message 48: by Sammy Goode (new)

Sammy Goode | 5376 comments I will say this--knowing many of you will hit back and then I must leave this discussion thread. I'm sorry--I don't think it is appropriate for YA. This discussion has been going on over on the m/m thread--appropriately.

I don't know this author--I don't know Damon...I am not gay, I have no gay children, or relatives. I do have a 44 year relationship with the dearest man on earth next to my husband--and yes he's gay--it is from his life experiences that I speak--from being an integral part of his life for over 40 years.

I very much respect your views Damon--as I do with the rest of you...but...I cannot bring myself to take part in a discussion that sometimes smacks of a need for vengeance--I respect that you feel strongly about this--I really do. But...this author's reputation is ruined--that's the bottom line--either people will shrug and not care and continue to read her or they will walk away in disgust. I just can't see the value in endlessly dissecting what happened--maybe I am callous, maybe I am naive--maybe. I say go--to to her site leave your opinions--where they need to be left--but really, Lori--and I say this with the utmost respect--is this a vital conversation or are we beginning to break down into a tirade of blame and disgust over this author's deceptions. I don't know guys--this thread leaves me unsettled and a bit uneasy. Thank you for allowing me to comment. And Damon--I think you are a brilliant author--I do and your passion is more than justified--although you don't need me or anyone else to affirm that for you. But...how does this help---how does this teach...maybe we should focus there.


message 49: by Kaetrin (new)

Kaetrin | 1 comments Great post Damon.

+ what Chris said! :)


message 50: by Wave (new)

Wave (jessewave) | 5 comments Cleon

Also, if that is the case we should all express outrage at Victor J Banis for writing as a woman when he writes het romance. (I don't mind or care at all, btw.)

Victor and William Maltese who both wrote bodice rippers for Harlequin decades ago under female pseuds outed themselves a long time ago. However as far as I know they never assumed female identities or pretended to be women in RL.


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