Funny, in its glowing review of my new novella, “This Way Out,” the story of a Florida hustler who’s “adopted” by a Wall Street broker and brought to the Big Apple where he falls in love with a wheelchair bound musician, a noted online gay blog exclaimed, “Hell, I don’t think there were many dialogues between the pair. It was all so very pragmatic, so freaking realistic and the only way you know Josh loves Hylan more than anything is from actual deeds. And that made it all the more beautiful to read. Even their sex scenes were Oh My God real.”
Now, I don’t read much gay fiction (outside of the get- me- hard, get- me- off variety) so not be unduly influenced by other people’s stuff, but I naively thought gay fiction, good gay fiction, not soppy walks on the beach gay fiction, was supposed to be real.
Yet, in dealing with gay publishers, most of which are dominated by lesbians and maybe even str8 women (where the hell are the guys – too busy getting high and getting screwed?), I discovered there are a number of taboos they won’t allow if they’re going to publish your book. Like incest, which I used in a short story in my “Basic Butch” collection where my main character is haunted by what his dad did to him as a child. Also on the “forbodden” list is scat; water sports; unsafe sex; and violence without explanation. Huh? Was there any reason why that Aussie hottie was shot dead by two kids while he was jogging except because they were bored?
And then there’s the editor of an international bear magazine who asked for an excerpt from my intimate memoirs as a hirsute gay man, “Furry Man’s Journal” and then requested an alternative to what I had sent him since my original submission contained drug use and fisting. The reason: the mag did not want to, by implication, encourage such activities among its readers.
OK, maybe it’s nice to be a moralist, but not portraying realty doesn’t make it disappear.
In other words, does the gay press and intelligentsia have blinders on? Do they know what the fuck is really going on out there?
And, granted, even if every gay guy isn’t getting fisted for breakfast or snorting meth like candy, don’t readers want to be tintillated? I mean doesn’t that guy out in Nome, Alaska, want to play voyeur and experience the seamy side of gay life while he fantasizes what he’d do to that hunk two bodies ahead of him on the line at 7-11?
Hell, that’s what’s driven str8 publishing for centuries (ever hear of the Bible with all its lustful “begotten’s” or “Peyton Place?”), and for a writer of gay fiction whose stuff is based on experiences, not fantasy, I find this whole censorship shit by our own kind more than a bit stifling.
And fucken hypocritical.
Now, boy, get your tongue up there and eat my dirty hole.