For years, everywhere I turned, I kept hearing the same thing: "women can be lesbian, nothing wrong with that, but two guys that is just wrong and gross and unnatural."
And yes, I've heard a reversed version of this double standard in which a person accepts male homosexuality but rejects the validity of the same in females. But I've heard it a great deal less often. As in, so rarely it's virtually nonexistent.
Now, I'll be the first to acknowledge that it's a reading preference when it comes to book content. How a reader finds entertainment and the subject matters they enjoy most are individual and unique, nor should they ever be infringed upon.
But when those personal preferences are focused outward and reflected on others to dictate what is or is not acceptable choices, or valid identities or orientations, when one individual seeks to set limitations on social acceptability and equality? Then there is most definitely a problem.
People fear what they don't understand, and so often that fear translates into hatred, suppression, and discrimination.
In Dark Edge of Honor, my co-writer and I tackled just that -- from two wholly separate angles. The romantic plot arc of Mike and Sergei's relationship is a two-sided battle of self-identity, confidence, and acceptance -- mutual and individual. It isn't a journey that Sergei, more prominently, makes easily or quickly. His is the most obvious, in part because he's a member of a society and culture that expressly and actively prohibit homosexual activity. He begins the story, in fact, as a homophobic person despite his awareness of his homosexual nature. He knows he has this "dark, ugly side" of himself, and he can't help but indulge his "baser cravings."
Mike's struggle is more subtle, and largely internalized. His cultural origins encourage freedom of individuality and equality, yet he has suppressed himself. Learning to open up again, to find the courage to be vulnerable and feel, is a more subtle thread in the story.
Comment on this post with a contact email address to enter my "Hop Against Homophobia" drawing.
Open worldwide. Entries close 20 May 2012 at midnight (EDT). Two randomly selected commenters will win a free PDF copy of Dark Edge of Honor. Winners will be contacted via email, and also announced here on the blog on 21 May.
Check out the rest of the authors, reviewers, and readers supporting the International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia! For the full list of Hop participants, click here.