Friday, May 16, 2014

Writing in the Closet (HAHAT - Giveaway)

Welcome to Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia 2014! Today is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (or IDAHO, as it's called). Even though the names don't contain "Biphobia," we're fighting against that as well.

I've thought long and hard about what to write about this year. The purpose of the Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia is twofold: To spread awareness of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic discrimination, and to stand together against discrimination of our LGBT books. I'd like to address both today.

There's been some nasty development of LGBT rights (or lack there of) in the world since last year's hop: 

Russia passed an anti-gay law that prohibits all “propaganda” of homosexuality to minors. That means that people can’t do a gay pride or hold an LGBT poster out on the street because someone might take a picture of it and post it on the internet where a minor might see it (this actually happened and the sign-holder got arrested). As a result, violence against LGBT people in Russia has increased (watch this video at your own risk). The Olympic Committee decided to let Russia host the winter Olympics despite their charter’s principle 6 that says “Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.” Way to stick to your guns, Olympics Committee. Athletes and audience risked fines and possible imprisonment if they wore anything to the games that could be considered LGBT support (basically rainbow stuff). Some did it anyway, either discretely or blatantly. Power to the ones who did!

I posted about Uganda’s “Kill the Gays Bill” last year, and the Ugandan parliament has accepted the bill. The first thing the papers did was post a list of known LGBT people who are now in grave danger not only from the police but also from the general public. This law is inhumane, to say the least! It’s extremely hard to fight it because apparently the majority of Ugandans support this law. All I can do is continue to spread the word and donate money. I'm making another $50 donation to Icebreakers Uganda in honor of the day.

On the other hand, defeats are often met with victories. Russia, for example, watched the Eurovision Song Contest (the largest song competition in the world) and saw Conchita Wurst win. That’s the beautiful lady with the beard. Conchita was born a man but identifies as gender neutral. So, a lot of Russian minors watched a gender neutral person win, despite the creator of Russia’s anti-gay law 's insistence that Russia boycott Eurovision because of Conchita, claiming that Eurovision was gay propaganda. Conchita’s speech? “This night is dedicated to everyone who believes in a future of peace and freedom. You know who you are. We are unity. And we are unstoppable.”

That’s right, Conchita!

Some of you would be amazed to know that a lot of authors of LGBT literature write in the closet. Some can’t tell their bosses because they might get fired, some can’t tell their families or they might get ostracized. Some readers can’t even tell their significant other that they’re reading LGBT literature. These are mostly heterosexual people, by the way.

Copyright: NinaMalyna via DepositPhotos
I’m halfway in the closet, so to speak. My friends and family know about my books and fully support me. I think that most Icelanders would support me, however, I live in a small town and that’s why I’m afraid to fully come out. Twice this year, families have been driven out of town because of social media bullying by the inhabitants. Once because a man was posting naked pictures of himself on the internet where he was playing with his butt (or putting stuff up it). People went nuts online even though the guy wasn't targeting anyone with those pictures, the national media got involved (it's a small country...) and he ended up moving away. A more recent example is a teacher who was found guilty of bullying a student. The teacher's entire family – including his two young daughters – was bullied so bad that they've sold their house and are moving to the city (again, the national media got involved). This is why I’m afraid to announce on my private facebook account that I a) write, and b) write books that contain erotic elements. If you’re different, you’re talked about and it can either become a quiet gossip or turn into vulgar media violence and disdain. I don't care if I get talked about, but what I fear is that my young sons will get bullied. As you can see, my town doesn't exactly have a good track record and it appears that the national media (albeit the more gossipy papers) loves to shine a light on my little home town. I can only see the headlines: "Single Mother of Two Young Boys Writes Porn" and a quote in the gossipy paper "I'm outraged. My kids have been playing with her boys!" I don't know, maybe I'm just being paranoid. I'll never truly know how people will react until I reveal it. 

So, the question remains, do I risk my sons getting bullied or do I come out and announce that I’m a proud writer of gay-male romance? It’s a difficult choice, one that I keep debating in my mind. Some days I feel like writing a coming out post because it’ll be liberating and I'll be able to stand tall, but other days I can’t bear even thinking about it because of my 6-year-old sons. Unlike LGBT people, I do have a choice here. I can tell you this though: If I lived in the city, I would've announced it ages ago. Gotta love the anonymity in populated places.

So, this is a bit disjointed post, but I wanted to include bits from both purposes of the hop. Now for the giveaway part: 

I'm giving away eBook copies of every book I've written that contain the subject of homophobia (internal or external) to one winner. That's a copy of:

A Life Without You (internal homophobia)
Black Hurricane (internal)
Hot Hands (external) - this one is actually free for all
Cold Hands (internal/external)
Grade-A-Sex Deal (external)
Welcome Brother (external)
Little Stalker (internal). 

That's seven books of twelve that contain the subject of homophobia, so obviously the subject is dear to me. What you have to do is leave a comment below and a way for me to reach you (disguised email address, e.g. emailaddress at gmail dot com, or a link to your facebook page). I will use to choose the winner on the 25th and contact him/her myself.

There are 130 other people taking part in this hop, so please check them out: