Thursday, May 17, 2012

No Fear in Love


There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear.” 1 John 4:18

This isn't a blog post about religion, even though I've started it with a quote from the New Testament. No, my topic today is homophobia, as part of a 'net-wide blog hop by authors of gay-oriented fiction to raise awareness about the issue.

These days, any discussion of homosexuality seems to generate a lot of anger and hostility. The typical rhetoric tends to be militant, whether supporting or opposing the rights of people to pursue sexual relationships with individuals of their own gender. When a state votes to legalize gay marriage, GLBT activists celebrate a “battle won”. When a court rules that a gay couple can't adopt children, jubilant anti-gay organizations vow to “continue the fight” against the abomination of homosexuality. Either way, there's a strong tendency to consider people on the other side of this contentious issue as “the enemy”.

Now, I believe that adults should be free to choose their sexual and life partners without any constraints related to gender. I think that two men or two women who are attracted to one another should enjoy the same rights , privileges and protections as a male/female couple, that this equality should be legally guaranteed, and that the relevant laws should be enforced. To me, this position seems rational and fair.

However, I understand that many people on the opposite side of this debate hold positions based not on reason but on emotion – specifically, fear. After all, that's what “homophobia” means, literally – fear of homosexuals. You can't argue away fear. And treating someone who harbors that kind of fear as the enemy won't help change that person's beliefs or feelings – if anything, it's likely to make those feelings more extreme.

What are homophobes afraid of? In some cases, their own sexual curiosity or repressed desires. In many cases the fear is based on misinformation or ignorance. Some homophobes believe that most gays are pedophiles, and thus fear for their children's safety. Some subscribe to the popular but ridiculous theory that homosexuals are more sexually voracious or extreme than heterosexuals, and thus somehow obscene, dirty or dangerous. Some are simply afraid of the unknown. Men who love men (or women who love women) are strange and thus threatening.

Of course many homophobes cite religious arguments for their opposition to homosexuality. Personally, I think this is just a convenient justification, masking the underlying fear. And some people truly hate gays and lesbians, considering them subhuman and worthy of extirpation. Even that kind of hate may be rooted in fear. In any case, that's why legal protections for GLBT people are so important.

I'm not sure what sort of intervention is needed to deal with extreme homophobes, the sort of people who perpetrate hate crimes. However, for less extreme cases, I believe that the solution is love.

Love? Oh come on, Pollyanna! What sort of pastel fantasy world are you living in?

I don't mean love in the romantic or erotic sense, but more in the sense of the Golden Rule. To reduce the amount of homophobia in a society, anti-gay individuals need opportunities to really get to know gay people. Only specific, positive experiences with real homosexuals will be effective in counteracting the stereotypes and myths about homosexuality in general. The more homosexual neighbors you have, the more you enjoy their company, the more you see that they're just people, not some alien, sex-crazed demons, the less strange and “icky” the whole idea of same-sex relations will become.

I'd like to believe that in some small way, my M/M fiction and that of my colleagues can play a small role in helping to diminish the fears of homophobes. Of course, M/M romance has become wildly popular, even in the conservative heartlands. The fact is, there's not much emotional difference between a gay romance and a heterosexual romance. Both deal with the growth of a loving relationship in the face of challenges. The specific problems encountered by M/M couples might be somewhat different, but the emotions are predominantly the same.

Although our characters aren't “real” gay people, they're far more realistic than the stereotypes that feed homophobia. To the extent that people can accept gay lovers in our fiction, they're more likely to be comfortable with homosexuality in real life.

But what do you think? Am I overly optimistic? Leave me a comment and I will enter you in a drawing for a copy of the M/M erotic romance anthology Gaymes, which includes my story Crossed Hearts. Be sure to include your email address in your comment if you want to part of the giveaway. I'll draw a winner on Monday the 21st of May.

And please visit the blogs of some of the other authors participating in the Hop Against Homophobia. You'll find a full list at: http://hopagainsthomophobia.blogspot.com


19 comments:

Sal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sal said...

I think that the problem with literature that contains any same sex relationship is that it's not widely available in the mainstream shops. We have already seen in places like Amazon that the minute something comes up that they are the least bit squicky about they will take it out of circulation rather than court controversy. BUT that shouldn't stop people like you wrting the books that you want to write because I feel that it gives comfort that such relationships can be wonderful and accepted.

What is needed for all homophobes is for all people, (gay, straight, bi, transexual), who believe that all people have a right to be who they want to be to GET OUT AND SHOUT OUT and let the world know how we feel. To allow ourselves to get angry where we see actions that are taken against the sexuality of people and the right to express that sexuality.

As for me, I have a dream that one day everyone will be able to be accepted as a human being and everything else won't matter at all. Now that really is being overly opptomistic! BUT it's something to aim for!

My email address is - flubber2kool@gmail.com

KimberlyFDR said...

I believe love can triumph over hate and that it always will!

Thanks for participating in the blog hop.

kimberlyFDR@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

I think your books do have a role to play. As they are read by the likes of me, i become more aware of issues facing people in the LGBTQ community and then we follow this blog (or find info elsewhere) and then next time we come across a situation, we can hopefully cause people to stop and think of their actions, even if its only one person
Suze
Littlesuze@hotmail.com

kerry said...

thank you for sharing this with us today. I think this is an important cause that needs the spotlight shining on it.

musings-of-a-bookworm@hotmail.co.uk

Anonymous said...

I think m/m can open minds, absolutely. I know this hop has taught me a lot already...

vitajex(at)aol(dot)com

Lisabet Sarai said...

Thanks to all of you who have commented so far. I like to think that each of us M/M authors can make a small contribution. But I really do believe that we need to fight against the temptation to demonize the people we're trying to influence.

Foretta said...

Thank you so much for participating in the hop. I hope that this helps to spread the word and that one day a hop like this will no longer be needed. I have shown many of the post to my nieces and nephews. We recently have been discussing how damaging bullying is and how innocent remarks can make you be seen as being a bully. One of the things that makes me mad is when I hear...you're so gay... pisses me off. These post have helped them already. I heard my nephew stand up to someone that called someone else a hurtful name... I was so proud. Thank you all for helping by sharing hurtful and/sad memories and your personal views/message.
I pray one day for equality for EVERYONE not just some.
forettarose@yahoo.com

ilona said...

Literature containing homosexual love is fine to teach people who are willing to learn. However true homophobes wouldn't even contemplate looking at the book, let alone reading it, so unfortunately it doesn't really help where it's needed :(

I hope one day it will be taken for granted that love comes in many forms and all of them are valid.

ilona
felinewyvern at googlemail dot com

SusanR said...

If you are overly optomistic, then so am I (at least about this topic). I agree with you wholeheartedly!

PaParanormalFan Renee said...

Hello Lisabet,

I do feel that eReaders gave people more freedom to purchase books they would normally not have at your local book store; it broadened their horizons quite a bit. Since then I have also noticed an increase in the number of people that have joined M/M Newsgroups & Blogs, they are an excellent place to find new Authors in the M/M Genres & information that they would normally not ask person to person.

You are Absolutely correct when you stated that there’s not much emotional difference between a gay romance and a heterosexual romance; there’s a loving relationship, feelings, emotions, the good times together & also the difficult times to work through. True, M/M & F/F Couples do have to be subjected to the stereotypes that feed homophobia, their difficult times can be much more trying on their relationship, than a M/F Couple.

I believe everyone deserves to be Openly Happy in Life, to be with the Person who Loves & Completes Them, without having to be subjected to the ignorance of some close-minded people. True Love does not see Race, Gender, Socio-Economic Status, etc….if people understood that, there would be so much more Happiness in this World.

In my opinion, Authors have been such a Great Asset in reaching out & helping people experience & accept gay lovers with your Wonderfully Romantic, Erotic & Emotional Writing; making it more likely for them to be comfortable with homosexuality in real life….We Could Hope, Right???

I would very much appreciate the opportunity to be considered in your very generous giveaway for a chance to win a copy of the M/M Erotic Romance Anthology, “Gaymes”, which includes your story, “Crossed Hearts”.
Thank You for participating in the Hop Against Homophobia.

Take care Lisabet & Stay Naughty,
PaParanormalFan Renee
paranormalromancefan at yahoo dot com

N.J. Nielsen said...

I have learnt a lot from reading everyone's posts and I like the people who are optimistic. The world needs more of us.

normanielsen@bigpond.com

Crissy said...

Hey Lisabet!! *waves* Great post! And what a way to start out this article. "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear." I love it!!! Perfect love!

mortis.crissy@gmail.com

wulf said...

Thanks for participating in this great hop. I'm enjoying all the posts.

penumbrareads(at)gmail(dot)com

Shadow Sterling said...

Lisabet, that was a great post. I am not a talented writer like yourself actually I do not write books at all.

I write for a gay European adult studio. http://shadowsterling.blogspot.com/2012/04/studio-i-write-for.html

Yes I do have to view porn for my job but you know what? Gay folks and straight folks have sex and make love exactly the same way, yep it's true! Some of the parts might be different but they kiss, caress, fondle and embrace exactly the same.

If some of these people who are still fearful of gay people would see what I see they would truly know, love is really love.

This is a cause I feel strongly about and I wanted to let you know I appreciate the opportunity to be included.

Shadow Sterling

gigi said...

Thanks for participating in the HOP.

gisu29(at)gmail(dot)com

L.M. Brown said...

Just stopping by visit all the blog hop participants. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

I believe that by teaching the younger generation to love instead of hate eventually homophobia and any other kind of discrimination will come to an end. I don't think it will be in my lifetime but hopefully one day.

lmbrownauthor at gmail dot com

Erica Pike said...

No, I don't think you're being overly optimistic. I'm sure there are tons of people who will disagree, but I also believe that I'm helping by writing m/m. Sure, *some* stories may not be 100% accurate, but yeah, they're far better than the current stereotypes and reading these stories, people will see that love is love.

Thanks for taking part in this, Lisabet :)

Erica
eripike at gmail dot com

Lisabet Sarai said...

My warmest thanks to everyone who took the time to visit and comment.

I've chosen a winner for the giveaway. LITTLE SUZE will receive a copy of the GAYMES anthology. Congratulations, Suze!

By the way, if you'd like to receive updates on all my giveaways, please join my Yahoo group, Lisabet's List:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/lisabets_list

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