Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Hurt or Pissed?

     So… today I sit and I cry. This Easter Sunday, the time of rebirth, the time of rising, I sit and I cry. I remember… I remember my Jim who lost his battle with AIDS. I remember the time… I remember…
     Because…
     Today I was so upset, so angry, so… just so persecuted. I feel so hurt and betrayed. I feel marginalized by a lesbian, a person that I fought for, a person who I was arrested for. This person told me to sit down and to shut up; a person who told me that my opinion didn’t matter and who hurt me to my very core. Me. I let this happen. It is my fault that I let this person into my inner sanctum.
     I am better than this! I am stronger than this… or so I thought. It is harder to fight the fight when it comes from within I guess. I fought for all our rights, gay, lesbian and bi. I stood, I protested, I yelled and I screamed. I passed out pamphlets; I gave out condoms, I… I was there. I… thought… I felt… my voice mattered.
     And now, I’m told that within the M/M genre to sit down and shut up? I’m told that my history, my feelings, my… existence does not matter. My contribution, the love that I had for another man, my Jim, our romance, our love that lasted for seventeen years is… is immaterial… is what? Not worthy of your acceptance? That you write about gay men and make money off our lives and you have the unmitigated gall to tell me to sit down and shut up?
     My start…
     I began writing gay fiction to supplement my income that was forced upon me because of a disability. I needed this money. I wrote because I needed to do something. Anything. I did not start writing gay romance as romance. I wrote what I know. I wrote stories that I wanted told. I wrote from my heart and the things that I’d experienced. I wrote… I wrote to keep me alive. I wrote because I needed a new purpose. I wrote because it was fun and exciting. I wrote because it gave me life. I wrote for me. I wrote my life.
     And now…
     I write for what? To be spit on from some cis heterosexual who has no clue what I’ve been through as a gay man? I write for some lesbian who I was arrested for so that she and her wife could have equal rights under the law? What cause did I give so much time to, to be treated as a lower class person, in a genre that I know so much about?
     Note: Gordon Merrick – The Lord Won’t Mind – sixteen weeks on the New York Times bestseller list in 1970. A gay romance, the first of a three part series. The M/M genre started by who? You have a degree? In what… fantasy?
     I turned my computer off. I turned my phone off. I turned… off…
     I watched ‘Milk’ with Sean Penn. I cried. I remembered all that suffering. I felt again everything that I experienced over thirty years ago. I knew what I was fighting for and this was all pre-AIDS. And then AIDS destroyed my life and ended so many lives.
     I am sorry that you, Ms. Megan Derr had such a bad experience. I’m sorry that a gay men made you feel… less than… whatever. However, how dare you tell ME to sit down and shut up? How dare you tell me and countless others to be silent when it was we, those of us who gave our time, our lives, so that you could marry a person of the same sex? How dare you put men down in your obvious hatred of anyone with a penis? How dare you lump every gay man or is it men in general, into your realm of hatred?
     In the end…
     I feel pity. I feel sorry for this poor unfortunate soul who knows so little of gay history. I feel sorry for anyone who buys into this shame, this abomination, because that is what is it. This self-gratification of sexual titillation of gay men’s lives is nothing more than voyeurism if the reader has no respect for others personal lives, the struggles, the battle that was and is still being fought just to be able to love who we love.
     Execution is still the penalty for homosexuality in numerous countries. Today, in Chechnya, they are rounding up gay men and torturing them to give up the names of other gay men, meanwhile stating that there are NO gays in that country.
     Meanwhile, the Kindle Alexander’s are quite okay with gays being rounded up and dumped into the Outback of Australia and let them kill each other off while THEY make money off very intimate details of their/our lives, not very realistically if I may add.
     I will say this…
     Tragically, it only goes to show how much we have lagged behind. We, the gay male community and those who support us have to go to truly gain equal rights. Not gay rights, but equal and human rights to be who we are. To be able to love those who want to be able to love and not be ashamed by the simple gesture of holding hands, to sneak the quick kiss, to exchange those special glances without being bashed in the head, or in this case, the gut-wrenching forums of social media by those WE have supported, by those who we thought were standing with us. NOT standing behind us, ready to push us in front of the proverbial bus.
     In closing…
     I weep because I see how far we as a human race have come and how far we have regressed. Lives matter, no matter the race, the gender or the… ____ YOU fill in the blank. Correct me if I’m wrong: ‘Love Thy Neighbor’. We are everywhere, no matter the gender, no matter the race.

NOTE: I wanted to really rant and give y’all a good what-for’ but… 
That’s all I’ve got… for now. I am going to be taking some time off since I have house guests coming this week and quite frankly, I just need to step back. 


Sunday, April 9, 2017

Let Me Piss Some People Off..

     So… I’m sitting here as it’s about to turn midnight and I can’t sleep. There has been something gnawing at me for the better part of a week and I think I’m go to throw caution to the wind and just speak my mind. I know I’m going to piss some people off and well… tough. Suck it up buttercup.

     NOTE: I have said it before and I’m going to say it again. If you want stop bullying towards LGBT kids, then gay history needs to be taught. Only when ignorance is shown to be just that, only then will it be stopped.

     There was something said by a M/M author this week that at first, I shrugged and said, “Well, that’s nothing new.” and proceeded to go on my merry way. Mostly because I was really busy this week and didn’t give it much thought. But… it lingered there in the back of mind. And as I was lying in bed, trying to get to sleep, it just kept making me more and more angry to the point where I gave myself a headache and got up to write this.
     Now then, let me be perfectly clear here: I am in no means attacking this author for making this identity statement. However, I would like to point out a few things to all the women, and there have been quite a few, who have said to me that they identify as a gay man, especially in this genre.
     They clearly have no clue as to how insulting this can be to gay men, especially those who are as long in the tooth as I am. I am going to try and temper this and be as logical and as forthcoming as I possibly can and not insult too many people, which I seem to be able to do without even trying. It seems I have that talent, or so I’ve been told.
     First off, there have been gay people for as long as well… there have been people. I am only going to give the bit of history that I can attest to, since I lived it.
     Back in the sixties there was a group, founded out of San Francisco, if you can imagine that, who decided that homosexuals deserved to be treated equally and basically get homosexuality off the list of mental illnesses. They dressed in business attire and walked around carrying signs stating that they were not sick and that this was not a life style choice and blah, blah, blah. They got a little recognition but mostly they were pretty much ignored.
     They implored gay people (this was before lesbians broke off and decided they didn’t want to be lumped in with the men) to not try and shove their sexuality down people’s throats and to act like the normal moral population around them. Yeah… well, I think we all know that didn’t work.
     Here come the ‘70’s and the revolution was upon the establishment. Kent State happened, Viet Nam was in full swing and young people were really tired of being told they were wrong and basically immoral. Bras were burned, Roe v Wade was judged and damn if our country wasn’t changing and fast.
 Then Stonewall happened. Drag queens were on the national news, riots happening and… there you have it. It got right up in everyone’s face, drag queens, butches on bikes and the whole sordid queer community got right up in America’s face. The fight was on and let me tell you, it wasn’t pretty.
     I can attest that being chased down 10th Street in Atlanta by rednecks with baseball bats wasn’t exactly on my agenda that particular Saturday night, but it was on theirs. By the way, those aluminum bats hurt just as much as those wooden ones, in case you wanted to know. Eggs, rotten veggies, stones, bricks… yep, those hurt too.
     I can’t even tell you how many gay murders happened that were never reported by any news agency. Who cared? It was just another dirty faggot. Many gay bashings were never reported because there was just no use in it, so why bother. We learned to deal with it. We fought back when we could, but most of the time it was by cowards who ganged up on one or two gays and beat the every-loving shit out of them. For them, it was just sport.
     I don’t know of a gay man alive who hasn’t at one time or another held their breath, afraid that they may have said the wrong thing, or were terrified of… being themselves. Oh there may be a few who maybe in the twenties and never had to be afraid, but chances are, those are a very few.
     Back in the ‘70’s, ‘80’s and even 90’s there was a good chance of losing your job, getting kicked out of your apartment or disowned by your family if it was found out you were gay. This was a real fear and justifiably so. It happened. I saw it. I was there.
     Then we had AIDS. The President of the United States refused to say the word. During his whole term, he only said the word once and that was because he was shamed into it. But he only said it that one time.
     Our government turned their backs on us. Health insurers turned their backs on us and refused to cover AIDS. Families, friends turned away and those who didn’t were just afraid of us. Hairdressers started losing customers. Waiters were no longer needed. Not that they were sick, they just happened to be gay. People were terrified of catching ‘the gay disease’.
     It was the gay and lesbian community that pulled together and supported each other. That’s not to say there weren’t some good straight people who stood there with us, but they were a very small minority. I knew some fantastic nurses who tended to our sick and dying who went far beyond the call of duty. They became family and fought the fight right alongside us. But as I said, they were very few and very brave souls. They also lost a lot during those years, just by association.
     It was our own community who had fundraisers to pay for rent, food and medications. It was the gay community that educated and looked out for one another. Not the government. Not our neighbors and in many cases, not our families. It was us, our own that took on that job and quite often that was all.
     I cannot begin to tell you how many friends and loved ones that I lost during those years. As many of you who know me, I don’t even send out Christmas cards because of it. (This past year I did send out a few for the first time since 1990.) That is how hard it was for me personally.
     So when a woman, who is my age or younger who says to me “I identify as a gay man,” I cringe. What I want to say is… have you ever been beaten with a bat? Have you had to sit there and hold the hand of the man you’ve loved for the past seventeen years die, drowning, his lungs full of pneumonia, for which there is no cure for and no one but you gives a whole goddamn? Have you ever attended a funeral once a week for a full year? Have you ever had to call all your friends and see if you couldn’t find a place for a young kid to live because his parents just kicked him out or left on the side of he rode because his parents found out there were gay? Have you ever been afraid twenty-four hours of the day, looking over your shoulder constantly?
     This was a very real life for me and for many gay men. So when you want to say so casually, that you identify or feel like a gay man, I would really appreciate it if you would consider all the things I’ve said and think long and hard first. Does the reality of history still make you feel the same?
     I think the thing that really struck a nerve with me and what got to me the most was this one author did a semi-apology after the identify thing and then bragged about their book sales going up; book sales that depict gay men’s lives.. sort of. Of course this was only after they got called on the carpet for it. I felt as if someone had just spit in my face. Yeah, that hurt and pissed me off.
     Now, I think that I can safely say that we, the LGBT community greatly appreciate all the support that our friends and allies give us. We truly do. Our communities are stronger and much better for it. We feel safer now than ever before… for now. (I’m still holding my breath on that one for the time being.) We thank you. I thank you from the bottom of my heart, I really, really do. But please, before you make such a broad and casual statement, think about what you’re saying and who your audience is. There is a lot more to gay men than just a rosy romance with a lot of fucking in it.
     Normally, this is where I tell everyone to go and do something nice for someone else. Today, I’d think I’d like for everyone to just take a step back and do a little self-reflection. Gain a little peace, as I plan on doing.
     Have a grrreat week y’all,
     Max


Sunday, April 2, 2017

Let Me Explain...

     So… I’ve not posted a blog in a few weeks. Why? Well, to be honest, I didn’t have much to say. There is so much political upheaval and discourse around that I haven’t felt like doing much of anything. That and I’ve been on a diet and that always makes me grumpier than I already am.
     But...
     There’s been something going on recently that makes me want pick up my biggest cast iron skillet and bonk someone over the head with it. Grrr… there are times when I’m afraid I’m going to chew my tongue off from staying quiet. This whole being nice goes against my grain. Hell, I’ve always had a hard time sticking to the rule of ‘if you can’t say nothing nice, keep your fucking mouth shut.” That really is difficult for me.
     Let me explain…
     Thursday and Friday of this week, I asked two simple questions and asked for feedback. The question on Thursday was:
So, let's talk cheating...
is cheating...
a. having sex with someone other than your partner?
b. going behind your best friend's back and stealing their ideas?
c. copying others work?
d. convincing others that your side is the only true side when having a dispute with someone else.
     Wow… I wasn’t expecting such a response. The majority of you said all of the above. A lot of you delved in a bit on the first one with it being an open relationship. Some said that while D was underhanded, dirty, gaslighting (whatever that is) and just wrong, but didn’t think it was cheating. Of all the responses, only two (I think) were men. That’s a pretty overwhelming majority saying that all would be considered cheating.
     Then on Friday I followed up with this question: Okay, so yesterday I asked about cheating, that got a lot of good response, Thanks for that! Here is a follow up question.
     Once that trust has been broken, can you get it back? How willing would you be to trust them again?
     Whaooo Nelly, old onto yer horses!
     Damn, when y’all git your dander up, you sure enough go for it. At this precise moment, (with only two men chiming in) 98% of you said that trust could not be regained. Wow! I think most of you jumped to the conclusion of cheating sexually on a partner. Some of you gals are harsh. LOL
     Now I’ll explain…
     Sometime ago, I had a friend, someone I considered a close friend do me dirty. Of course she doesn’t get it, or does she. Deep down, I think she does. Anyway, it was a real breach of trust, especially under the circumstances and previous conversations. It was backhanded, underhanded and even sidehanded if you ask me. Backstabbing? Maybe not quite that far… at that point, but yes before all was said and done, I’d say it was.
     Now, let me also add that this wasn’t necessarily the first time either. I shared a story idea and I’ll be damned if she didn’t turn right around and write the damn thing. I let it go. I didn’t say anything. But from that point on, I didn’t share story ideas with her. For the most part, I just felt used, used on sooo many different levels. With so many of you saying that trust is a major issue for you, I don’t feel quite so bad in turning my back on this person. I actually feel even more justified.
     What the…?
     ‘Sigh’ This person has started making overtures to win me back over. It’s not going to happen. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice and your ass is done. Unfortunately, I’m just too trusting a person. It has come to bite me in the ass so many times, and I never seem to learn. But once it does, I’m done.
     The funny part…
     Oh hell, you would not believe the private messages I got after that first post. Lawd have mercy… LMAO Ya gotta love people in this genre. They can be so kind and so loyal. I do love y’all. Some thought I had somehow slipped up and gotten a boyfriend who then cheated on me. Yeah… no that didn’t happen. I’m tellin’ y’all now, I’m almost virginal! I promise you that!
     Then some thought I was going to write a book about it. It wasn’t an idea at the time, but now… I’m not sure. Maybe? I had one fellow author just up and tell me not to do it! It’s be a huge mistake. I’d never recover from it! Yeah, well I was told that about doing a book about incest too. Funny that the thing was a huge success and still sales well. Anyway, now y’all know the whole story.
     Moving right along now…
     Is there anyone out there who doesn’t know I’m going to be doing a book tour? Well if you didn’t, I’ll tell you now. Hey, y’all, I’m doing a little book tour. Upcoming Travel Schedule:
London – May 5 thru 10
Paris – May 11 thru 17 I will be doing a book signing on the 13th so please, come find me.
Venice May 18 thru 23 – Party with readers on the 20th (strippers appreciated! He he he)
Me time May 23 thru June 19)
Barcelona June 16 thru 19
Berlin June 20 thru 25 Euro Pride Con. Hope to see a lot of y’all there!
Birmingham, UK – July 1 for ShiMMer book con. If you would like to pre-order books for any of the cities listed, please follow this link. I cannot guarantee books will be available if you don’t.

     So there ya go. If you want to find me in any of these fine cities, just let me know and we’ll do a little get together. Y’all know I’m always up for a cup of coffee.
     That’s about all I got for now. Go be happy. Make someone else happy. Have sex.      Have a grrreat week, y’all,
     Max