Thursday, November 05, 2009

Looming Questions in Gaylitland

It's that time again. My brain is stuffed with questions, and I must regurgitate them to avoid mental indigestion.

1. Are there gay men in law enforcement anywhere outside of Los Angeles? Anywhere? Or is it a rule at every police academy on the face of the earth that if you're a man who loves men, you can only work in LA?

2. Where did all the BDSM experts suddenly come from? There seems to be a bumper crop on the 'Net these days. Did the first class at BDSMU just graduate? I'll listen to most anything James Buchanan or TeddyPig has to say, because they didn't just pop out of the underbrush and start pontificating, but I swear there's a diploma mill somewhere that recently put specious degrees in a whole lot of people's hands.

3. Are vampires dead (as a character type, I mean) or aren't they? I've been getting distinctly mixed messages on this issue for at least a year or two, and it's giving me a serious case of WTFitis.

4. Is it necessary to surgically remove gay characters' tear ducts? I doubt any health-care plan would cover this procedure, but I figure there's a reviewer somewhere who'd be happy to do it in a back alley.

5. Does Japan have the only gay fiction worth filching? Isn't it time we started scouting other countries' and cultures' popular lit for some new (to us) fads to steal? The French probably keep theirs securely under wraps -- gods forbid they should undermine their hard-earned reputations as womanizers -- and the Germans . . . well, I doubt they have any erotic material worth boosting. I think we should start investigating South America, Southeast Asia, and Melanesia/Micronesia.

6. What words are okay? What words aren't? "Queer" seems to be okay. So does "homo." But "fag" and "cocksucker" seem to be verboten. Are there others? Who decides in which column they go? What's especially bewildering about the line between acceptable and unacceptable is that derogatory usage has little to do with where that line is drawn. I've heard a lot of 'phobes use "queer" and "homo." But those words are not considered offensive.

7. What's the role of women in gay fiction? It seems they can't be ex-wives or ex-girlfriends; no matter how they're portrayed, they get kicked in the ass. (I'm interested to see how readers react to Celia Quill in To Be Where You Are. She'll no doubt end up with a shoeprint or two on her rear.) And it seems women can't be the best buddies of gay guys; ditto the previous comment. That pretty much leaves faceless employers and "colorful" relatives. I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm as fond of the eccentric-female-relative trope as I am of the word trope. Better yet, meme.

So, wise and wise-ass readers, please come to my rescue with answers!


Teddy Pig said...

Would you believe there are BDSM classes?

I went to the first Service Weekend in San Francisco for BDSM submissives to check it out.. OK, really because I wanted to see if there was a test afterwards.

Because I am twisted like that and the idea of some type of BDSM test given afterwards was too good to pass up.

No test, but I have to say they did talk on some really interesting stuff. We even have class reunions now.

junkfoodmonkey said...

BDMSU made me giggle like a fool. The only college with X rated graduation day pictures. Now I want to write a story set at BDSMU. Where else could you major in spanking?

Katrina Strauss said...

There are no right answers, because no matter what, someone will decide ur doin it wrong.

Jenre said...

Ooh, there's a bit of a mind meld thing going on today between me and you on question 6.

I was going to make one of my infamous faux pas by making a pun from the word puffed to poofed and then at the last minute decided that the person I to whom was aiming the pun might just be mightily offended by being referred to as a poof. I knew that many gay men refer to themselves as queer and I wasn't sure whether poof or poofter was actually a rather nasty derogatory term. We have a famous barbershop quartet in Britain called "Four poofs and a piano" and that's one way it's used as a joke, but I wasn't sure whether that is generally the case.

There are a few other places with gay cops. The Psycop books are set in Chicago. LB Gregg had a gay cop in New England. Erm....I'm sure there are a few more. Maybe it's just that all the authors of mysteries involving gay cops live in LA :).

I'm first in the queue for removal of tear ducts. My rusty spoon is primed and ready.

Jenre said...

Yes, I made a typo. No I can't be arsed to change it.

Teddy Pig said...

The whole BAD words thing is pure wank.

I say so.
Dan Savage says so.
Anyone with half a brain says so.

Again, I come back to the fact I am a gay man and part of the Gay Community, I am also a member of the BDSM Community, I am also a medically retired naval veteran.

Being a member of those communities does not mean I speak for all. It just means I know what I think and I have a pretty good idea what my friends in the community think.

That's just common sense.

Why do all these experts proclaiming knowledge about me or my community have so little common sense that they cannot just speak for their own damn selves.

The real difference is between what they have read somewhere and what I actually have some experience in?

K. Z. Snow said...

Teddy - a Service Weekend? I had no idea such classes existed. But hey, as long as attendees get something out of them, great!

I wouldn't have the 'nads to make pronouncements about how GLBT persons should or shouldn't act. Shit, sometimes people involved in this genre talk about gay men as if they were a different species with different norms of behavior. That might be true to a point, but that point sure as hell isn't far from Planet Str8. I know that much from personal experience, not to mention the fact that we're all, you know, PEOPLE.

K. Z. Snow said...

Glad I made you chuckle, jfm. But really, I've been wondering about this.

Absolutely true, Katrina. Sometimes, though, I have to toss questions out there just to see what kind of responses I get. Some questions are tongue-in-cheek; others genuinely nag at me.

K. Z. Snow said...

Maddening, isn't it, Jen? I think it's pretty damned safe to say that nobody writing or reading GLBT fiction harbors anti-queer sentiments. Duh. So what's with the wankfests over word usage?

One of the things that brings characters to life is how they speak and what thought patterns determine their modes of expression. Why take it personally? I've heard my fill of blond jokes and Polish jokes in my lifetime, but when yet another one comes along, I don't pull out my soapbox.

However, young lady, this irrational prejudice you have against men who cry...{{wagging my finger}} shame, shame. I've seen my boys -- the RL gay ones -- shed tears on more than one occasion, and I've never thought less of them for it. So you just throw away that rusty spoon.

Jeanne Barrack said...

Argghhh so many questions.
#4 Why is it verboten for gay men or any man to cry? Frankly, I get all mushy when strong men cry.
#1 NYC gay cops...Yo, New Yawk!
The psychiatrist in "L&O: SVU" came out casually finally this season and I am so loving it. Asian, smart and gay???
#3 Vampires will never die...(sorry,couldn't resist it)

Word Veri
related to 'nads. How a Cockney puns when he wants to use the word 'henads'

Teddy Pig said...

I don't cry in the presence of anyone I am not intimate with even at the worst most painful times.

Even while the doctor was asking me if he should let John die I did not cry.

In fact I got home and got drunk and called everyone to let them know John was on the way out. Then the doctor called when he died and I got even more drunk till I passed the fuck out.

I do cry. But this is a man rule you know. My father was the most masculine manly man I know.

It's not that men don't cry but hell if we let anyone especially anyone we don't know see us crying.

K. Z. Snow said...

I think you've hit on two of the keys, Teddy: how upbringing influences men, and how most only cry alone or in front of people they know intimately. But the fact remains, it happens. If it didn't, men would be seriously, even dangerously repressed. I believe it's only sociopaths and psychopaths who are incapable of tearing up under any circumstances.

Damn, that must've been an agonizing night for you. Makes my heart ache just to think about it.

K. Z. Snow said...

Hi, Jeanne! I'm glad you took a little break; gladder still you have a sense of humor left. ;-)

Hope things are getting better, sweetie.

Kris said...

1. As someone from the dimension of Oz, I've no idea, but there seem to be a heck of a lot of gay LA cops in books.

2. Interesting, isn't it, although I heard that BDSMU was an online college so you have to take any practical advice they give with a pinch of salt.

3. Ditto to what Jeanne said, especially if they're like Riley. :)

4. There are levels of crying. When it gets to the point where there's crying on every other page and you just want to THEM TO GET ON WITH THE FUCKING STORY ALREADY... *deep breaths*... then yes, dark alley surgery is a necessity.

5. Yes.

6. Buggered if I know. It seems to change depending on who is on the wankfest at that particular point of time. I just go with the fact that whatever you say is bound to piss someone off. *shrugs*

7. Depends. I think the point is that the reader has to be convinced that the chick is not stereotypical and is believable. Don't worry about it though. I'm sure someone will tell you if you fucked up with Celia. In fact, I'm positive of it. :)

K. Z. Snow said...

1. Yup. We need at least one in Topeka, Kansas. Although Jen did clue me in about gay cops in other places. LA, though -- I think you have to be gay to be on their police force. Maybe I should call and ask. :-D

2. Cripes. Why can't individual couples just do what feels right for them? Too much common sense in that, I suppose.

3. I hope you meant Ridley. (I shall always love vampires.)

4. I've never encountered that, but then I don't have a lot of time to read. Guess it would irritate me, too.

5. Really? Ya think? Surely some is being produced elsewhere!

6. Political correctness grinds my gears something fierce. It didn't exist when I was growing up. You wouldn't believe the ethnic jokes that were told at my parents' taverns. And guess what? Patrons laughed (GASP).

7. Yeah, some people are more than happy to tell me when/how I've fucked up. I'd think something was wrong with the world if it didn't happen. A polar shift. Nora Roberts and I exchanging identities overnight. Something.

Kris said...

1. I think you should contact them and see if they have a policy or something... and if they do transfers to Kansas.

2. *snort* But that's why they call 'em tropes, darlin'.

3. I did. You know I suck at this typing thing before I have coffee in the morning.

4. Believe me. It would.

5. Manhwa is the Korean version of yaoi if that helps.

6. Hun, I live in Oz. PC will never wholly take on here. Thank fuck.

7. Make sure some of those gazillions come with you when you shift back.

Tam said...

Jesus woman, making me think and make a list. This is my humble opinion:

1. Probably but I never asked. I thought it might result in a higher ticket. :-) I kid.

2. No clue, not my thing.

3. Nah, vampires are still hot, or cold depending on your theory.

4. I haven't noticed any excessive sobbers lately, no comment.

5. Well the Czechs perform well on-screen, can't say for literature. I hear the Australians are really pervy. :-)

6. Good luck with that. Words can be powerful. I find broad used for a woman to be distasteful. So everyone has their own level of like/dislike. Good luck trying to figure that out.

7. The woman can be the best friend, don't be the mother. Nothing worse than the best friend who figures she needs to protect her gay from all kinds of hurt so run around trying to sabotage all his relationships in the guise of keeping him from being hurt. Right, let the man run his own life and be there with ice-cream when it goes to hell like a good friend should be. Ex-wives? I suppose. How about a sister, and not a psycho "you're going to hell" sister? Siblings are underdone unless they are similarly inclined gay sibs that you can use in sequels. :-) Not complaining, just saying.

Teddy Pig said...

I just think guys compartmentalize this stuff.

Pain is something that takes a back seat to action. Regrets and that stuff are something you deal with later.

K. Z. Snow said...

Sorry, Tam. You didn't have to make a list. Honest. This isn't the "Sieg Heil" blog. ;-)

The Czechs, huh? I don't know that I've ever seen any on screen. (I assume to mean Czech porn. Well, of course you do, because you get around. Wench.)

I'll definitely have to process your comment about women in gay erotic romance. There's a sister lurking in the background of my WIP. Still, I think exes can be pretty damned cool, too. Or maybe I've just known some women who've had their shit together. What matters, I think, isn't the role played by the female, but how she's portrayed.

I, for one, prefer relatives who don't draw too much attention to themselves, friends who aren't cutsie or meddlesome, and exes who are likeable and reasonable. I don't mind skanks at all, as long as they're entertaining. (I think skanks can be very entertaining!)

Tam said...

My understanding (strictly here-say *ahem*) is that a large portion of the Bel Ami stable is Czech including the twins who are from Brno where I've actually been (but did not see any twink action).

Reasonable ex's are great. Maybe being one I like to see them in my fiction. Or funny skanks. :-)

K. Z. Snow said...

Your knowledge of pr0n is impressive, my dear. Do you conduct classes? Is there a Pr0nU?

Chris said...

I'm reading IM by Rick R. Reed right now and it has a gay cop in Chicago. And Bad Boys, Bad Boys by Mia Watts is about gay cops in Maple Grove, Minnesota, which is a suburb of Minneapolis.

My question - why the hell does everyone have such bright green eyes in Gaylitland? Gotta be the highest incidence outside of Iceland.

K. Z. Snow said...

Hi, Chris, and welcome!

Chicago makes sense. But Maple Grove? Wow, who'd've thunk it? I'm familiar with that part of the world; I used to live in St. Paul, literally in the shadow of the cathedral.

I confess to being fond of (and writing) green-eyed men. But I've noticed in RL that if blue or green or violet eyes get too bright, they look freakin' spooky. And I mean Village of the Damned spooky.

Chris said...

*waves hi back*

I live in Uptown Mpls myself.

Actually the green eye thing spreads into non-Gaylitland, too. But hey, one of the cops in the Maple Grove story has green eyes, so... ;)

I remembered another - Shayla Kersten's got a Tennessee Cops series, too.

James Buchanan said...

1. Hey now…while I have two LAPD characters, I’ve written cops in Riverside and Pomona, CA (which if you live in LA may only be an hour away but are WORLDS apart), Deming, Las Cruces – both in NM – Rural Texas and various other places in the south/southwest. My FBI guy who ends up in LA is from Jacksonville, FL

2. BDSMU -- wonder what the interships would be like? And, frankley, I’m no expert. I just try to be somewhat intelligent about it. And get a lot of input from others in the scene who have different experiences, expectations and lifestyles than I.

3. Its going to take a really novel take on vampires for me to like them again. It’s like reality TV the first few shows were fun to laugh at. Now I’m just sick of ‘em.

4. There is a line from a movie the title of which I cannot remember and I’m going to badly misquote. A male supervisor is talking to the female up and comer. “Don’t ever cry at work. Do what every successful business man does, hold it in and let it out in the car on the way home where there’s no one there to see.”

Beyond that I try and stay the F out of wankfests no matter what topic.

K. Z. Snow said...

Hiya, James. Thanks for stopping by.

The reasons I find you credible as a commentator on BDSM are first, because of your knowledge of the scene and second, because you do make it clear you're speaking strictly from personal experience and admit your observations are subjective. It's the lecturers spouting absolutes who make me scratch my head.

I'm happy to report my blog has never seen a wankfest (knock on wood). Everybody so far has seemed blessed with civility, rationality, and a sense of humor. Damned good thing, too, because those are the kinds of people I like in real life. And I'm too old to do any ass kicking -- cyber or otherwise. ;-)