Links: Wednesday, August 20th

August 20, 2014 Links 0

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Today’s Links:

  • The rest is drag – Alexis Hall continues the conversation that E.E. Ottoman started about LGBT fiction and straight writers and readers and compares m/m romance to drag. X is never exactly like Y, of course, but the similarities are pretty striking, now that it’s been pointed out to me.

    Of course, not all LGBTQ romance written for a straight audience is necessarily about educating that audience with regards to queer issues. And this is the kind of LGBTQ romance – and, by that I almost exclusively mean m/m romance – that I have most the difficulty with. As well as those stories which try to speak to queer people, and those stories which try to speak about queer people, there is a third category which uses the trappings of queer identity (especially gay male identity) to explore fantasies or fears or other issues relevant to the author or the reader. You get a remarkable number of writers and readers in m/m who specifically say they write or read it because they want to escape from the gender dynamics of heterosexual romance or, indeed, of conventional, mainstream society.

    It is this third category of (primarily) m/m romance which I think is the most visible and most problematic. It’s also probably the hardest to talk about because it gets into some very complex intersectionalities. Women are, after all, a marginalised group as well and it would be equally problematic for me to turn round and start telling them how they are and are not allowed to explore their sexualities and experiences. Nevertheless, these stories also perpetuate a culture which erases and marginalises queer experiences and which treats queer people as existing merely as decorations in a heteronormative world.

  • Queer Romance Month – Set your bookmarks for this blogging event starting October 1st. There are a ton of interesting people participating.

    Are you queer, queer-aligned, queer-writing, queer-supporting? It doesn’t matter, we want you. This is a celebration of queerness, allyship, and love.

    Are you a writer? Please, write for us. We’re hosting posts on theme of ‘Love is Love’ throughout October. Are you not a writer, but you have something you want to say on that theme? Wonderful. Write for us as well.

    Are you a blogger? Please support what we’re doing: talk about us, talk to us, blog about us, display our badge. Join the conversation and the celebration.

    Are you a reader? Please talk with us and about us, and come back and visit us often. We’ll have new content available every day in October.

  • We all know how it works – Romance author Moriah Jovan talks about why sex scenes in romance have value to women and girls who belong to religious traditions that value chastity and abstinence.

    I read [a comment once] on a Mormon women’s writer’s blog bemoaning explicit sex in books. If I recall correctly, it was one where a bunch of the Deseret Book-published writers gather, because it was a “name” who said it. I don’t remember if my book was the one under discussion or not. Didn’t matter.

    “We all know how it works.”

    What struck me then and still does is that, No, we don’t all know how it works, especially the girls who’re told not to do that. I wanted to say something, but I’m not fond of walking into lions’ dens for the hell of it. This, that no, our girls don’t know how it works, is a ginormous problem. Not only do we not teach them what it is, what they’re supposed to be abstaining from, we teach them they have to dress so as to keep the boys from wanting to make them do it.

  • What Happens When Evangelical Virgin Men Get Married? This Secular Female Sociologist Found Out. – An interesting look at how men who stayed virgins navigate sexuality once they’re married.

    In 2008, sociologist Sarah Diefendorf spent a year attending a support group for young Christian men who’d pledged to remain abstinent until marriage, getting to know the 20-something bachelors whose lives revolved around an evangelical mega-church in the southwestern United States. Studies have found that teens pledging abstinence through large-scale national programs like True Love Waits and Silver Ring Thing are no more likely than their peers to remain virgins until marriage, but small peer groups may be more successful. “In these small groups, the men would really talk and grapple with issues of sex and sexuality,” Diefendorf, a PhD candidate at the University of Washington, told me. All 15 men in the group kept their pledges (as far as she could tell). But their struggles with sexuality didn’t end on their wedding nights. Diefendorf followed up with the men five years later, after they were married, to see what kind of issues they were still facing.

  • My Boyfriend Has A Disability, Our Relationship Doesn’t – A woman who dates a man with spina bifida shares her thoughts on dating a disabled man and the ignorant things people say to her about it.

    I met my boyfriend three years ago on Twitter. We were following each other during that time, then one day tweets turned into GChat conversations, and GChat turned into Skype dates. When I moved back to DC last summer, we took it offline and soon after started dating. He was even cuter in person, funny, smart, intriguing, and he happened to be disabled.

    When we first started dating he opened up to me about living with Spina Bifida and how it manifested for him. As time went on, my feelings started to grow for him and started really caring about him deeply. But I still had my concerns: What would people think about my disabled partner? What would my family say? What if people stare at us when we’re out on a date? How can I support him when he needs me?

  • ‘This Fight Begins In The Heart’: Reading James Baldwin As Ferguson Seethes – A quick piece from NPR about the parallels between Ferguson and James Baldwin’s account of Harlem in the 40s.

    It is early August. A black man is shot by a white policeman. And the effect on the community is of “a lit match in a tin of gasoline.”

    No, this is not Ferguson, Mo. This was Harlem in August 1943, a period that James Baldwin writes about in the essay that gives its title to his seminal collection, Notes of a Native Son.

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An ice hockey fan from north of Boston and the genre's most beloved troll, Ridley enjoys reading contemporary and historical romance, as well as the odd erotica novel. As someone who uses a wheelchair, she takes a particular interest in disability themes.

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