Why Gay Representation is Important

Anyways, here’s what I’ve been up to the past few days. I made some incredible strides with Nighthawks, the sequel to Bloom. I also did an interview with @Unm4sk3dPodc4st  because they’re amazing. And I’ve been reading a bunch of great books. 

I’ve also started on my new, new, NEW story that I’m doing in a CINDERELLA ANTHOLOGY!! It’s called “Call me Eli” and it’s my LGBT take on Cinderella with a trans MC. (Though no Cinderella will ever be as good as the one with Brandy in it. FOR REAL).

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The point is, I write a lot of gay stuff. And man, growing up being gay was hard. I’m a child of the 90s. I didn’t have much representation. 

Which was incredibly difficult, considering my family was very religious. I grew up with this family who was homophobic and racist and abusive and it took me a long time to break out of this sort of box they’d shoved me into. 

The first time I ever came out, I didn’t actually even come out. My brother found out from some asshole at my high school that I was dating a girl and I considered myself gay or bisexual or something. Then he told my abusive mother. I never even got to come out on my own. 

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After she called me all sorts of bad names and asked me if I was fucking all of my female friends. She forced me to quit my job because freedom “made me gay”. Then she made me break up with my girlfriend. THEN she forced me out and I lived with my brother for a little bit. 

And trust me, my eldest brother was no picnic either. He constantly called me a loser and told me I needed to be medicated. He also called me lazy and unmotivated and a piece of shit. So. YEP. Everyone in my family is REALLY this delightful.

I kept talking to my girlfriend. Even though my mother was trying her damndest to take everything away from me. She cancelled my phone, cut off the internet, wouldn’t let me take my computer to my brother’s. It was a nightmare. 

Eventually, I went right back into the closet and pretended to be straight. I legitimately did break up with my girlfriend and my mom let me move back in. And let me tell you, my life has been one gigantic circus of trying to win this woman’s approval. 

But now, sitting here at my computer writing this post to tell you guys my story and why gay representation is SO fucking important, her approval means less than shit to me. 

She’s told me “I’m proud of you” more times than I can count. Because I got out and she wanted to bring me back in. I’m on the other side of what were the worst years of my life. I moved 3,000 miles across the country. I have a wonderful partner. I have everything. 

Now that I’m sitting here, alive, and well, and beginning to heal. I want to give back. I want this new generation of young ones to have the representation they so desperately need. 

So that’s it. That’s why I do it. That’s why I write gay literature, that’s why I write female characters (ESPECIALLY FEMALES IN STEM CAREERS), and that’s why I write POC and trans characters. No one should EVER have to feel as alone as I did. 

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And no more of these tragic gays. There is already too much suicide and self-harm and mental illness and homelessness among the gay community. What we need now is hope, acceptance, love, and even curiosity. 

In other words, if you’re homophobic, transphobic, acephobic, Anti-LGBTQIA+ in ANY way. Don’t read my books. I don’t want to hear about your bullshit. I don’t want my characters, who are seriously like my children, to be bullied by people who didn’t even try to understand them. 

And I don’t want ANYONE in the LGBTQIA+ community to ever feel like suicide or self-harm is the answer. I feel very strongly about this and I will continue to write literature that normalizes the LGBT community. So, like, buy my books, I guess :P. http://desdemonawren.com 

Now that I’m in the writing industry, THIS is my biggest pet peeve

I’ve made a lot of wonderful friends now that I’ve broken into the writing industry, but there’s one thing that bothers me.

I’ve been doing author takeovers and that’s when you promote your book and do giveaways on someone else’s book release or whatever. Anyways, I won 29 books in the past few days. I love book freebies. I just do. I spend more of my meager paycheck on books as it is. If I can get them for free I will eventually read them.

However, most of these books are romance. Which is fine, I like romance, especially gay romance or romantic comedy. Did I receive any of these in my freebies? No.

Out of the 24 authors that signed up to do this author takeover, I was the one one who wrote gay lit.

Let me repeat that for emphasis: Out of the 24 authors that signed up to do this author takeover, I was the one one who wrote gay lit.

This upsets me because I became a writer to provide representation for the LGBT community without all that nasty fetish bullshit. Now that I’m here there are almost no LGBT authors I know personally who don’t write fetish.

I don’t understand why it’s so hard to find a wlw book that’s well-written and isn’t thinly guised erotica to pleasure men.

When I wrote Bloom: A Monster Love Novella, the plan was to write a book where I had well thought out female characters with real personalities and wants and needs. Now I’m losing out and being crushed by erotica. Straight erotica.

There’s sex in Bloom: A Monster Love Novella if that’s what you want. It isn’t the kind of sex erotica has. It’s awkward and sweet and they talk about it before they have sex because that’s what sex is. Awkward.

Recently, Malinda Lo posted a twitter thread about how hard it is to write for a marginalized audience. Malinda Lo writes books for lesbians and I absolutely adore most of her titles. I own every book she’s ever written and she is a huge influence for me. I wish there were more people like her.

I’m going to keep trying and keep pushing despite this. I don’t want to live in a world where there aren’t books to represent people who deserve representation.

That’s why I write books with:

  • POC characters (despite a lot of my white friends thinking it’s weird that, despite being white myself, I crave diversity in TV shows and books)
  • Lesbians
  • Transgenderwomen
  • Transgender men
  • Women in general (There are not enough women in books and that is a shame. And the women that are in books seem to only want to serve their male love interest. WHY?)
  • Gay men
  • Asexual men and women
  • People with mental illness
  • Agendered people
  • Bisexual and pansexual people
  • Demisexual people
  • Intersex people
  • Gays who aren’t tragic
  • Books where LGBTQIA+ is normalized and no one bats an eye about people being trans or gay or bi or anything.
  • Stories where my characters aren’t defined by their genitals or who they decide to fall in love with (or not fall in love with), but are instead defined my their actions.

I could go on guys. I really could.

And I’m not going to stop writing books like this. I won’t do it. Not for all the money in the world. Representation is important and I will fight for that until my dying breath.

It is a shame more people aren’t on my side.