Why you can’t read gay romance and support Donald Trump

Trump supporters brutally attack gay man in California

<Update: this picture may be fake. Which is just going to help future attackers say what they say about rape accusations, “you’re making it up.” Thanks for that… >

I had to make a few regrettable unfriend decisions on Facebook today. The “Whoo Trump!” people are long gone, but these are people who said, stop posting hate, let’s come together, let’s respect each other’s opinions, and if you can’t do that, unfriend me.

So I did. Because this is not Pepsi vs Coke. I’m gay. I’ve got chronic illness and (obviously lol) mental health issues. I’m a loud and proud atheist. I’m everything they want to kill. And if you support those who want to kill me, or even think I should just lie down and respect their opinion on the subject of kicking me to death, I’m done with you, because clearly you don’t have skin, so to speak, in the game. Or, worse, you do and you have your head in the sand.

And if you enjoy reading gay romance? Let me give you a little taste of what your favorite characters’ lives are like now.

Tyler and Skylar come back from their HEA honeymoon to find Tyler’s business vandalized, the windows smashed, and Fuk U Fagits Trump 2016 spray painted on the wall. Skylar loses his subsidized health insurance and suffers a recurrence of the illness that Tyler so lovingly nursed him through, and with Tyler’s business in ruins, they can’t make the out of pocket costs and Skylar dies in an ER waiting for care with all the other newly uninsured.

Think about that next time you think you can cheer for a gay HEA and not take sides in this struggle. Think about that when you close that book and snuggle into that comfortable feeling that everything will be okay for these guys now.

Romance is fantasy, but even fantasy has rules. You have to engage in a “willing suspension of disbelief.” That is, you’re going to believe in things like dragons or fairies or neverending happiness, but… To believe, the author has to have created a world in which these things are possible. We believe in White Walkers and dragons because GRRM has created a world in which magic feels real. Conversely, LOTR: Return of the King loses me near the end when all of a sudden, deus ex machina, here come the Eagles to save the day. “The Eagles!” Pippin cries out (or is it Merry IDK) as if oh yeah, of course, we forgot all about them… And I’m like WTF? Sure, Gandalf sent them a Moth-O-Gram in another movie but they’re not like the Ents, we don’t know shit about them but here they are to save the day…

The other thing required for an HEA, in any fiction, is a world in which evil has limitations. Draco Malfoy (a Trump supporter if ever there was one) cannot smash in Harry Potter’s head with a hammer, leaving him with irreversible brain damage, the end, even if he wanted to. And, it has to be a world in which evil can be defeated. And we all know from watching Harry Potter that evil is not defeated if half of the students and faculty of Hogwarts say, “Well, I like Harry a lot, but Voldemort won the support of the Ministry of Magic and we all have to come together and blah blah blah.”

In other words, you cannot root for the happiness of the main characters and still accept a world in which those who would kill them are a threat we can all just ignore, it’ll be fine.

And for the last ten years, as MM romance has grown, we’ve been able to believe in MM HEA because more and more, every day, it’s been possible to believe that two gay men can build a life together without being beaten, without their homes being vandalized, without the government making an about face and undoing every bit of progress in gay civil liberties.

Guess what? Not so much now. Do you really think they didn’t mean it, the GOP, when they included in their platform “opposition to same-sex marriage, support for state laws limiting which public bathroom transgender people can use, and support for a parent’s right to subject gay and transgender children to ‘conversion therapy’ to change their sexual orientation or gender identity”?

Do you really think Trump won’t fulfill his promise “to nullify all of Mr. Obama’s executive orders, including one that bans anti-L.G.B.T. discrimination by federal contractors and another that protects the rights of transgender students”?

What about a VP who said that federal funding for H.I.V./AIDS treatment should be renewed only if the government could certify that no money went to “organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the H.I.V. virus”? (In other words, welcome back to that classic paragon of effective education, abstinence-only sex ed.)

Do you still think your favorite characters are going to ride into the sunset, where they will find nothing but everlasting bliss in each others’ arms, which no man can tear asunder?

Well, you’re fucking wrong.

We can’t “agree to disagree” that things like what happened to the guy in this picture are okay. We can’t “come together” so I can lay down and get kicked. We can’t “unite for the common good” when you think the common good requires my extermination.

Ever heard of “cognitive dissonance”? It’s the psychological term for holding two incompatible beliefs at the same time. And believing that you can cheer for two gay men’s HEAs (never mind a couple with one trans character, or a biracial couple), and still think Trump will “make America great again,” is just that: cognitive dissonance.

The days are gone, the days of gay jesters, of Paul Lynde and Rip Taylor and Richard Simmons, who will mince and preen and squeal for your half-scornful entertainment, who will dance and sing and let you leave with a smile, back to your lovely home, while we go back to our ghettos and fear for our lives. We will not let you forget what happens when we go offstage.

Will and Grace are about to be evicted by their homophobic landlord and Jack will be fag bashed. The cast of Glee will have to flee a gang of marauding teenagers shouting “White Power!” in the hallways. Cameron and Mitchell are going to get a fucking Molotov cocktail thrown through their living room window.

And I’m not going to let you forget it.

Edit: my follow up post is here

38 Comments on Why you can’t read gay romance and support Donald Trump

  1. Yeah, this–I’ve been accused of caring too much too, because I’m a bi woman in a long marriage to a man–I have the right to hate this as much as anyone. Don’t let anyone silence you, Brad πŸ™‚

  2. Reblogged this on Love's Last Refuge and commented:
    I agree with this 100%.

  3. Thanks for this, I rebloged it. This post (and the sentiment I share) saved me from writing yet another epic rant, leaving me free to continue my research on how best to deal with the coming darkness. #NotMyPresident #WeDontGoBack #askme #seniorninja

    • Glad to do it! MS Word was all screwed up this a.m. so I was gonna lose a day of actual compensated writing anyway πŸ™‚ #NotMyPresident

  4. Fucking A, Right.

  5. As usual another great post, Brad.

  6. Christa Tomlinson // November 11, 2016 at 11:06 am // Reply

    Excellent post and I agree with you 100%. Thank you for writing and sharing.

  7. New reader, and yes to all this. I’ve actually stopped reading not only m/m romance but all romance in general: my life took me down a different path. However, I believe in equal rights for all. I believe your love life, or love interests, have nothing to do with anyone but you – and whomever you decide to share that. If someone judges you based on that, it says more about them than you.

    That being said, I’m not scared for me – but I am scared for minority groups: those who don’t fit the mainstream as far as sexuality and gender, PoC, Muslims, and the list goes on. I fear for myself as a woman because of Trump’s behavior.

    I don’t have to read m/m romance /now/ to know that things are going to go so, so poorly for so, so many people who don’t look, think, and act like Trump now.

    And yet this post gives me hope for one simple reason: people who do care are speaking up. I also fear for free speech given how much of a childlike tantrum our president-elect throws whenever someone says anything about him. Not only the complaints about his abhorrent behavior, but merely saying he has small hands can set him off. He wants to see SNL shut down because they mocked him. Him and Clinton and every other presidential candidate going how far back now?

    It’s heartening to see someone speak to this so bluntly, so honestly, and it’s heartening to see someone say they won’t be silenced by Trump’s fear mongering.

    I wish you well and although I’m frightened, I’m hoping things don’t go as poorly as everyone expects. If I don’t have that hope, it makes it so much harder for me to do anything, even to speak out against this behavior.

    I see you write sci-fi under another name (which I assume isn’t a big secret since I just clicked on your book link and it took me there.) Toddling off to check out those books now.

    • Thank you! Yes, I do,as “Adam Vance.” I’d love to do more in the series but it’s a passion project right now and $$$ are tight, so it’s back to the Romance Mines for now!

  8. That so needed to be said! Thank you for saying it much more eloquently than I ever could. I am so done with apologists for DT who say he’s not really like that when you point out the rape and sexual assault charges against him (those women are obviously lying) and “even if he did do those things he’s changed,” like that matters. And yes, as a woman lesbian (I know those are redundant) senior atheist I fear for what will happen to women, LGBTQ people, POCs, immigrants, non-Christians — the list goes on and on. And what I find even more frightening than DT and the GOP horse he rode in on are his followers who now feel they have permission to come out from under their rocks and attack anyone who isn’t like them. It’s already started with white supremacists posting flyers on college campuses threatening those who support diversity. I fear the lynchings aren’t far behind. But I’m not going back into any closet!

    • Yes, that more than anything, the trolls who feel unleashed from under their bridges, unshackled to go out and smash their “enemies,” thinking (certain) they’ll get away with it…

  9. Thank you for posting this. Illustrating with your characters is maybe a way of helping to reach people who seem to have cognitive dissonance when it comes to real life people (sad as that is to say). I’ve been at such a loss with some who just don’t seem to get it.

    • Thanks! I just pulled those characters out of a hat, but I think any of us could take our own HEA people and show how quickly any HEA can be undone in times like this…

  10. I have never read your work, fine sir, but I do truly like the cut of your jib. Kudos.

  11. Great post, Brad. The HEA thing is so true.

  12. Reblogged this on 'Nathan Burgoine and commented:
    Brad doesn’t mince words here, but I’m not ready to try and put together my own thoughts, and he’s in the very country where this is happening.

  13. I am at the point where my daughter and I are barely on speaking terms because of her fanatical support of Trump’s horrible policies. You have my support but work and family occasions aren’t great for me because they support his insane political rhetoric and I can’t keep my mouth quiet because they will not see beyond their own small worlds. My niece is bi and even her own parents support that bigoted jerk! You have my support no matter how difficult it is. πŸ’œ

  14. Hi, I found this via Twitter (I’m a queer SFF author), and thank you for this.

    Among other things, some of us in SFF are trying to get an initiative going to use fiction to fight, both thematically and monetarily: http://www.badmenagerie.com/a-call-to-words/ We’d love to get this spreading to other genres as well — as many people in as many genres who want to join in and make it grow. If you like the idea, please feel free to signal boost or reblog it in the gay romance community (or any other community).

    My best wishes to you in all of this. The grief and anger and fear, I’m right there with you.

  15. what you said!!!!!

  16. Exactly. I already have people telling me it will be okay, completely unaware of how it can’t be. I have people I knew, as well as family members, who voted to hurt me. And they think that by saying, “I don’t agree with everything he said,” is enough to make that okay. It’s not. It’s a betrayal, and proof positive that I do not matter to them, despite their insistence to the contrary.

  17. Reblogged this on 38 Caliber Reviews and commented:
    Thanks to Nathan Burgoine for reblogging this for me to find.

  18. Reblogged this on mickey9215's Blog and commented:
    Ditto Brad. People need to pick a side. Sure Hilary is far from perfect but the things this man stands for is reprehensible. I do feel that many people have their heads buried in the sand. They don’t think any of the things he said were true. I have heard this many times from many of those I have called friend. I applaud this article.

  19. Brad, your comments not withstanding (and you argue your point masterfully as always) it would appear that the picture you post here is a fake. The man is a special effects guy from Canada, and the Santa Monica Police Department is calling this a hoax publicly. He allegedly faked this. Even if that is true, it doesn’t negate your concerns for the future, of course. But hopefully the dangers are not as imminent and extreme as Chris Ball (the alleged victim in the picture) would have us believe. Hysteria won’t be productive – it never is. Just a thought…

    • Sorry to hear this is a fake. That’s just going to help future attackers say what they say about rape accusations, “you’re making it up.” I’ll remove it from the post with a heavy sigh… That said I’m 54 years old and I remember people who were sure the government would never ever just leave people with AIDS to die as God’s punishment. So hysteria feels about right these days.

  20. Thanks Brad so much for posting your thoughts. I found this through Nathan Burgoine on Goodreads. I immediately forwarded to many friends and colleagues. If everyone can find ways to connect on the level you did, we will find a way out of this. Bravo! and xo. – Philip

  21. Helena Stone // July 10, 2017 at 9:55 am // Reply

    Apart from all your (very valid) points, people should remember that writers and other artists have always been political creatures both in their (published) work and outside of it. It is anybody’s duty to speak up when they witness wrong being done, when injustice becomes ever more rampant, and evil turns into the new normal. Don’t let them silence you, and don’t feel the need to explain or (god forbid) apologise. The world is a very scary place right now and I see it as my duty to do what I can to take a stand against those who are trying to destroy not just the hard won rights and freedoms but also our planet as a whole. Thank you for a very well worded post.

3 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Why you can’t read gay romance and support Donald Trump | Parker Williams World
  2. Reflections on a National Day of Mourning and the Duties of an Artist – Brad Vance Author
  3. Brad Vance – WROTE Podcast

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