reviewing m/m romance

Reviewing M/M Romances and Being Called Boy

I am now, and always have been, a huge supporter of women writing m/m romances and other m/m fiction. I even support straight male authors who do this. As a writer, I don’t like being put into a box and told I can only write in one genre, and I think this applies to all writers. I’m also a fan of many straight women writing m/m fiction. Michele Montgomery is one, and G.A. Hauser is another.

But I do get slightly confused when I see reviews and comments about m/m romances that attack social issues, especially when they are written by people who don’t know what they are talking about. I’m an openly gay man and when I write about the interactions between gay men and the dynamics of their relationships, I’m not googling this information. I’m writing directly from my own personal experience. And it annoys me when someone who isn’t a gay man decides to question my own personal experience as a gay man.

I’m not going into detail. But this has happened many times. One reviewer in San Francisco decided to question my character, Chance, in AN OFFICER AND HIS GENTLEMAN a while back. She didn’t like the way I’d written him into the storyline as being trapped and without options. Well, that irritated me to no end and I contacted her (she was very gracious and we ended on a good note). Not every gay man has the option of coming out of the closet and waving a rainbow flag. There are still places in this country, and the world, where being gay isn’t accepted and there are many gay men, young and old, who don’t have the option of telling the entire world they are gay. And though I wrote a happy ending with this book, if it hadn’t been a romance the ending would have been far more realistic.

I could go on with examples. But my basic point here is to keep this post short and to let people know, without any questions, that gay men write everything based on experience. And when someone who is not gay questions their personal experience, it’s confusing. I often feel like going after them with a huge smile and a long list of classic gay books they need to read before they start making comments about things they simply do not understand.

There’s this other thing, too, that confuses me. I don’t lose sleep over it, and I usually smile when it happens to me (often). But do all straight people think it’s endearing to refer to gay men as boys? Seriously. Try doing this at the White House and see what happens to you.