We are still being killed.

“A massacre at an Orlando gay nightclub early Sunday morning has been described as a “domestic terror incident” with at least 50 dead and 53 injured, officials said, making it the worst mass shooting in U.S. history and the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil since the events of Sept. 11, 2001.” (x)

If you don’t think LGBTQ people are still at risk just because we are allowed to marry, you haven’t been paying attention. This is the DEADLIEST terror attack since 9/11, and it specifically targeted people of the LGBT community. This massacre didn’t happen in some foreign country. It didn’t happen in a place you consider “backwards” or “regressed.” This happened HERE.

The other day, I had someone ask me, “What’s it like moving around in the world as a lesbian?”

This is what it’s like. It’s fear. It’s suspicion. It’s not knowing who you can trust and who you need to hide from.

I am very out and very proud — but I still have to make decisions every day about who I come out to, what language I use, and who I associate with. If I’m telling a story, I have to decide if I say it’s about my “girlfriend” or my “friend.” When someone asks me if I have a boyfriend, I have to decide if I’m going to correct them or just say “no.” If someone says something hurtful or hate-filled, I have to decide whether I feel safe enough to say something or if I have to keep my mouth shut.

This is constant. In any interaction, these decisions are being made. I am assessing my safety. I am deciding if this person will try to hurt me — physically, emotionally, sexually — if I tell them this. Because people think you’re disgusting or you’re sick or you need to be fixed. And that’s just wrong.

Help DEATH DEFIANT compete in the Bisexual Book Awards!

Hey everyone! If you’re seeing this, I’m running a fundraiser to send my book to the Bi Book Awards, and I would appreciate it so much if you could help me out with either a couple dollars or even just sharing this post! Death Defiant is so important to me as my first novel, and this kind of exposure for an LGBTQ fantasy novel would be so great.

Thanks for anything you can do! Click here to help.

Trope of the Week: Depraved Bisexual

basic instinct

This person is insane and probably murderous — and they’re bisexual, the icing on the depravity cake! TVTropes.org points out

This is a very different phenomenon from the Psycho Lesbian trope. Whereas the Psycho Lesbian is usually violent or deranged out of unrequited love and/or jealousy, the typical Depraved Bisexual is bi because, well, why not? Their willingness to sleep with everyone they can is just one facet of their being Ax-Crazy.

And if they’re not murderous, then they’re still manipulative, mean, and vindictive.

Why this can be bad: This is essentially always bad, mostly because of what TVTropes.org says. Many writers make their depraved killers bisexual only because they want to show just how “bad” their villain is, and all that does is present bisexuality as something hypersexual and evil. Bisexuals already face their own brand of oppression, and they definitely don’t need you to add more content like this to their lives. The big reason this character is so detrimental to the representation of bisexuality is not only the reason stated above, but also that this character is often the only bisexual presented to the audience, therefore linking the sexuality (bisexual) and the morality (evil) together. On top of this, writers like to think that bisexuals will have sex with anyone, when this isn’t true at all. If you’re heterosexual, will you have sex with anyone of the other sex? Probably not. Bisexuals have standards, likes, dislikes, turn-ons, turn-offs. They’re not insatiable nymphomaniacs. They’re just people.

How you can fix it: Think really hard about why your crazed villain needs to be bisexual. If it’s like the above (to show how depraved they are), just stop. If you continue to insist that this is “just who they are,” then you need to work on making sure they aren’t the only obvious bisexual in the work, otherwise they’ll become the token stand-in and representative of the entire sexuality.

Bottom Line: Depraved bisexuals sure as hell better not be the only bisexuals in your story, nor should they be bisexual because they’re depraved. And remember: bisexual does not mean “will sleep with anyone.”

Review: The Dark Wife by Sarah Diemer [1/5]

the dark wife

When Hades leaves,” Pallas whispered, “the light goes with her.”

Title: The Dark Wife

Author: Sarah Diemer

Genre: Fantasy, Rewritten Mythology

Rating: 1/5

Blurb:

Three thousand years ago, a god told a lie. Now, only a goddess can tell the truth.

Persephone has everything a daughter of Zeus could want–except for freedom. She lives on the green earth with her mother, Demeter, growing up beneath the ever-watchful eyes of the gods and goddesses on Mount Olympus. But when Persephone meets the enigmatic Hades, she experiences something new: choice.

Zeus calls Hades “lord” of the dead as a joke. In truth, Hades is the goddess of the underworld, and no friend of Zeus. She offers Persephone sanctuary in her land of the dead, so the young goddess may escape her Olympian destiny.

But Persephone finds more than freedom in the underworld. She finds love, and herself.

I really, really, really wanted to like this book. Persephone and Hades as a female/female couple! How could this be bad? I honestly believed there was no way this could even be less than a mediocre book.

But oh how I was wrong.

This book is just bad. Plot and characters both can be described as “flimsy.” There are a dozen plot holes, and that which doesn’t have a plot hole is cliched in such a way that you know exactly what’s going to happen. On top of that, the characters themselves are one-dimensional and can express only up to three emotions maximum. The romance feels forced, too quick, and Persephone spends paragraphs describing why Hades is beautiful and perfect and flawless, and yeah, I get she’s a Goddess, but the thing about Greek gods is that they’re all flawed.

When it comes to what the characters feel or believe, you’re told all of that information and given no reason to believe it. Gratuitous details are spent on all the wrong things while the plot details and motivations that do need more details are left to flounder. There are also copious half-baked plots that probably would have made for better stories than this one.

This might have at least been bearable if the writing was good, but it’s not. The prose is overly flowery and at first gives the impression of being good because it’s full of big words and long sentences. The truth is that the purple prose acts as a cloak to disguise the fact that many of the words being used don’t make sense in context and that the writing is actually very poor. Because of this writing style, it exacerbates the melodrama of the piece, taking it from semi-okay to completely eye-roll worthy.

I wish I could say that this was better. I really do. But the fact of the matter is that it’s not even mediocre. The only good things I have to say are good cover, queer characters exist, and I like stories that play with mythology. Unfortunately, that’s it.

Trope of the Week: Camp Gay

He’s white, thin, upper-middle class, and every girl’s best friend. He loves shopping, and if he sees you wearing something tacky, he won’t hesitate to let you know. Diva to the extreme, this gay is the most prominent example in contemporary TV and fiction, and if you’ve got something more fantasy on your hands, then just swap out the fashion-loving for some extreme sass, and you’ve got yourself quite the character.

jack

Why this can be bad: This is overwhelmingly the number one representation of queerness in media worldwide. Like every stereotype, there’s some truth in fiction; there are gay men who act like this and look like this. But oftentimes a character like the camp gay is created to fill a quota, and he’s boiled down to the traits commonly associated with gay people by straight audiences. These characters never go beyond these superficial traits, and they often exist either as an accessory to the straight, cisgender main character or have no goals of their own, instead choosing to drop everything to help the MC reach theirs. This character is one-dimensional, rooted in stereotype, and never fleshed out.

How you can fix it: Diversify your queer characters. Queer people are more likely than straight ones to live in poverty or be homeless. Queer people of color experience significantly more violence than queer white people. Queer people have poorer health and health insurance. And those topics don’t even touch on the diversity of queer personality and social patterns. Your queer characters should be as varied in appearance and personality as your straight ones, and there’s more to queerness than being a gay white male. Don’t get me wrong: you don’t have to make a statement about trans homelessness with your characters. Just keep in mind that these characters can — and should — vary widely on all planes and socioeconomic spectra. The gay, white, upper-middle class man is not the only type of queerness in the world, and even among them, not everyone is a Beyoncé-loving, showtune-singing fashion mogul.

Bottom Line: Stop giving in to stereotypes about gayness and queerness, and start writing your queer characters as people first.

Can’t believe I woke up today to discover that same-sex marriage has been made legal in all 50 states. I honestly didn’t think it would happen, and I’m still kind of shocked, but I’m proud of my country and happy to see us heading in the right direction.

This isn’t the end of homophobia or queer issues. 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ and violence against trans people rose 13% last year. LGBTQ people of color are more likely to be murdered than any other group in America. Same-sex marriage doesn’t mean that I’ll finally feel safe holding my girlfriend’s hand everywhere, and this doesn’t mean discrimination against me will stop.

But it’s a step in the right direction. As the Supreme Court acknowledges this right for same-sex couples, we come closer to acknowledging the queer community as human. The war is not over, but a battle has been won. We cannot allow this to make us complacent. We must continue to struggle forward and tackle the larger issues and use this victory as fuel for our fire.

Congratulations to all of my fellow members of the LGBTQ community. We won this one, and I’m proud of all of us: those who are out and proud, those closeted because they fear for their lives or backlash from their peers, those who are somewhere in between because they can only trust a precious few with this information. I am proud of you just for existing, and I’m proud of you for being alive, and I hope today grants you some joy and hope for the future.