Monday, July 29, 2013

Is It Really Getting Better?

Sometimes, it just doesn't get better. Even with DOMA going away and Prop 8 being dismantled, reality is tough. Bullies are fierce, worming their way in under defenses, negating positive messages that parents might be giving, if the parent's are even aware there is an issue, and stomping on the souls of kids everywhere.

When I read that Carlos Vigil, a gay teen from Albuquerque, New Mexico, took his own life, I cried. In October 2012 I was in Albuquerque for Gay Rom Lit, a reader conference where fans of gay literature can meet their favorite authors. It hurts to hear that a young gay man in that city felt so overwhelmed that the only option he had was dying. I was just there to celebrate gay literature and yet I couldn’t help this one kid who needed to take to heart the message that it gets better.

The damage wrought by bullies and perpetuated by government is pervasive. When countries like Russia pass laws making it a crime to even say the word gay, people are hurt. Yes, England has passed laws making gay marriage legal, and yet discrimination still happens in that country. Even with DOMA dead, we still have issues here in the USA. Around fifty percent of Americans support gay marriage, but that means about fifty percent don't.

I live in the south, the Deep South, where corn pones, and sweet tea are a staple at dinner. Churches dot the landscape of every city and people talk about God openly. The bigots feel perfectly comfortable expressing their disgust about gay rights. There are pockets of acceptance where gay men and women can be themselves, talking about their partner or their same sex spouse without fear of being bashed, but the opposition is strong. Kids are taught that gay people aren't acceptable, but soulless creatures hell bent on destroying "traditional marriage". Parent's talk about hurting gay couples and the kids take heart, trashing gay people because they honestly have no clue that their words are evil and harmful.

It reminds me of my childhood when there were no black families that lived on the "Right" or white side of the tracks. Then one black family dared to buy a house on The Hill. Scandal hit the city. Property values would plummet and we'd all have to move out of town because they'd "ruin" the neighborhood. That was thirty years ago. The neighborhood wasn't ruined. The black couple were normal people who went to work, had kids, and supported the local football team. They wanted a chance to live like everyone else and they took a leap of faith, moving where they were unwelcome only to become part of the neighborhood. After a few years, no one cared, or they didn't voice their displeasure about the couple. Their kids were accepted at school and people stopped complaining.

But racism didn't die out when black couples began moving to predominately white neighborhoods. Many black children had to work twice as hard as their peers to achieve the same recognition. Even today, the barriers of race are harsh realities in many areas of the countries.

Today, gay people are the scapegoat. They are blamed for everything wrong in society. Weather systems, which have been happening for millions of years, are blamed on gay people. Every part of the bible is twisted by pastors, giving them ammunition to support the pastor's particular bent on sin and how gay people are the root of all evil in our current society. Hope is taken away, and no matter how many times we say It Gets Better, reality steps in and the kids don't see anything changing.

Recently, I posted on Facebook about Steve Grand's music video, All American Boy, and one poster took exception, saying that Mr. Grand's video was a step back for gay men and not a step forward. His assertion was that the images in the video that portrayed a gay man being attracted to a straight man only fed the fears of straight men and would create backlash. That any ground gained by having a gay role model for young men would be negligible because of the overwhelming negative effect this video would create.

But if young gay boys are to find that life gets better, they need to have role models. Not everyone has to like Steve Grand's music or agree with the message of his video, but based on the support on his page, many men have found themselves in similar positions of wanting the unattainable, longing for what they couldn't have and now there's a song about it, just for them. Add to it the fact that Steve Grand is another successful gay man, it gives hope to those who long for something more than hiding behind a façade of being straight, concealing their sexuality by trying to act like everyone else, never drawing attention to themselves or pursuing their dreams the way that they want to pursue them.

Eli Lieb is also another new music artist that has released a video featuring a gay theme. I like that Eli Lieb and Steve Grand have come on the scene at this moment, showing the world that gay men singing about gay men is perfectly acceptable and even valued. I wish Carlos Vigil would have stuck around. I wish Carlos could have seen that he wasn't a freak and that he was perfect the way he was. We've come a long way, almost to the point that coming out isn't a big deal, but we're not there yet. There's more to gay equality than marriage equality. Our gay sons and daughters need equality in school and at recess. Our transgender friends need acceptance without having to deal with which bathroom to use or if they can even use the restroom without being arrested.

The issues of the gay community are spread wider than any one specialty group. More money needs to be given to gay charities. Services need to be developed. HIV education is lacking based on the number of young gay men contracting the virus.

While the spotlight is on the gay community, it's time to work even harder. Yes, constant work on the issues is exhausting, but life doesn't stand still. Young gay kids at risk need support. Older gay couples need support. Gay men and women in the Bible belt need support. Gay marriage may be more acceptable now, but there is much room for progress, improving the lives of all gay individuals so gay teens really see that it does get better.

The Pope is Throwing Gay's A Bone But How Rotten Is It?

The Pope is Throwing Gay's A Bone But How Rotten Is It?

The Pope has come out saying "Who am I to judge a gay person of goodwill who seeks the Lord? You can't marginalize these people." And yet that is exactly what he does when he says that homosexual acts are sinful. The Pope goes on to say that "... they should not be marginalized because of this but that they must be integrated into society."

Exactly what does the Pope mean when he says they should be integrated into society and that homosexual acts are sinful? He wants homosexuals to be like everyone else. It's not okay for homosexual men to continue having sex with other men. The Pope is not okay with gay marriage or gay families adopting children. This isn't a blanket okay for gay people. The Pope is acknowledging a problem inside the church and trying to camouflage it, inciting people to believe the Catholic Church doesn't have a problem with gay people.

Later, the Pope goes on to say that lobbying this orientation is wrong. "The problem is not having this orientation. We must be brothers. The problem is lobbying by this orientation, or lobbies of greedy people, political lobbies, Masonic lobbies, so many lobbies. This is the worse problem." What does that mean? To lobby is to influence the government to change. So he wants us, the people to sit down and shut up. You aren't supposed to bring up the "gay agenda" again. You aren't supposed to ask questions or request special treatment, like gay marriage.

Gay's are supposed to be integrated into society, live their lives exactly as straights, which means no gay sex, and stop asking for things like gay marriage.

This is ridiculous. Pope Francis is marginalizing gay men and women, telling them that they aren't going to hell if they have homosexual thoughts but only if they act on them. If they want a marriage, get a straight marriage because they are supposed to be integrated into society. In practice, this is no different than what the church said before. Gay men and women aren't allowed to have relationships according to the Catholic Church and gay men and women need to stop asking to have equality, integrate with society and stop being gay. People see Pope Francis's statement as a win, but it's a total failure, disguised with pretty words to make people feel better.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Get Away From Me You Ugly Beast - Or What Is Beauty

Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder but what does that mean when our society is shut down, unable to feel emotions beyond lust and the need to have what we want right now. Few take the time to get to know someone enough to see past the physical manifestation of beauty or lack there of. We shortchange any relationship unless the person is physically appealing to us.

If you've read Dale Cooper's article in the Huffington Post, then you have a basic understanding of what I'm talking about. We've become a society of robots, looking for the perfect robot to meet our physical needs but no longer interested in feeling anything above release then moving on.

Yes, physically attractive people are nice to look at but that doesn't mean they will be good partners. Of course to find a partner, you need to recognize that you need a partner. Loneliness filters through our lives, leaving us bored and unable to settle at night. We blame insomnia or we become workaholics, focusing on gaining money instead of understanding our fellow man. We develop a tough outer shell, praying that no one gets close enough to ever hurt us again because instead of growing from our pain we've given up, becoming half human, no longer willing to participate in life.

Pain builds character. If you never take a chance on loving someone, your life remains hollow. Too many people settle for hollow existences, barely surviving without medicating our lives to extreme, thinking that cocaine or booze will heal our ripped out hearts.

People fill up their lives with things, convincing themselves that they are happy. They buy new toys, have sex with hot bodies that they pay for either through illegal prostitution or legal prostitution where they date someone only because of their looks and buy their time with gifts and fancy meals, not because they want to spend time with the other person, but they need the satisfaction of having a pretty person on their arm.

Delving deep into a relationship, throwing off the shackles of fear and avoidance, is the most satisfying and terrifying adventure you will ever experience. I have to mention an article I did with Bobby Momenteller inMarch of 2012. Bobby's body is amazing, but there is more to Bobby than the way his muscles are sculpted. If Bobby were 5'5" and weighed 300 pounds, no one would give him a second look on the street. Few people would talk to him unless they had to and fewer people would want to date him. Bobby is a fascinating man who gets immediate respect and attention because of his body but if you took away the beauty, he would still be Bobby.

Why do we put ourselves in this box, where the ideal man or woman must fit a certain look? Before we even reach adulthood we chain ourselves to an ideal look, selling ourselves short, making life difficult and harming our future. If we see a gorgeous guy with an ugly woman, or the opposite, a beautiful woman with an ugly guy, we wonder how they wound up together.

There is more to life than the hollow shell we've allowed ourselves to experience. Attraction is a strange beast, but forcing our attraction to only be to those who we deem perfect stunts our ability to achieve happiness. The number of couples who get divorced after a few years when the man realizes that the beautiful woman he chained himself to is a shell, unable to carry on a decent conversation, is astounding. People pick their mates based on stupid criteria instead of thinking about what they really want in their future.

No one is perfect. If you are looking for the perfect person you are going to fail. When you set strict criteria for the people you date based on looks you close yourself off from experiencing the real beauty that is inside of a person. Airbrushed models look good in print advertisement because someone has changed their appearance. The ideal human specimen may look pretty, but do you really want to be stuck with someone who has a personality as thin as the paper the model is displayed on? You might luck out and find a person of substance who also is physically pleasing, but remember, the body can change and be exercised into a more pleasing shape, rarely does a person grow on the inside enough to become pleasant to deal with if they are a real bitch to begin with.

We all fall into the beauty trap, unable to distinguish between real beauty which comes from the inside and never fades, and fake beauty that grows dimmer with each passing year. If you are single, I challenge you to step outside your box and find someone based on more than just their outward appearance. Don't settle for worthless hookups where you and the other person treat each other no more special than a blowup doll. Find a relationship that means something where you and your partner experience fulfillment and not just sexual release.

Where did all of this come from? The vid with Dustin Hoffman. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

In Response to Jessewave's Rant

Jessewave wrote - "Why are M/M readers treated so disdainfully? Are we not on par with het romance readers? M/M romance has been around for a decade, so why can’t our authors get it right? Clearly we are not respected because if we were this wouldn’t happen, and so often. Would authors insert graphic gay sex scenes in het romances? Not f*****g likely, unless the book is a ménage or a bi romance, and do you know why?"

Authors of M/F romance don't insert M/M sex into books because of discrimination. They aren't allowed to. Many publishers actually require authors of M/M books to write M/F under a different name. Plain old DISCRIMINATION, that is why M/F romance books don't have graphic M/M sex.

As a straight woman, I can walk down any street with my partner and hold hands, never fearing retribution. I never have anyone tell me I'm disgusting, or sick. I'm never questioned about why can't I just try to be different. When I was in San Francisco for Pride, no one, and I mean no one discriminated against me because I was straight. Some people were surprised that I was just writing partners with LE Franks and not romantic partners, but every one was nice. Gay men and lesbians have to be careful in almost every situation. Sure, at SFPride the love was flowing and the "anything goes" atmosphere was alive and well. However, in NYC people ran into trouble.

Gay sex scenes are not included in M/F romance not out of respect for the reader but because the reader would throw a fit based on hate of gays. Gay hate, though less than in the past, is pervasive and though some people may have accepted that gays exist, they don't want to be presented with the truth that gay men like to suck dick.

Authors write. If they include a M/F scene in a M/M book, it's because the author thought it was needed, not out of disrespect for the reader.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Working Hard

Did you love Working Stiff, find out what happens with Josh and Zach in Working Hard. Available at Amazon ARE and B&N

Josh and Zach may have chemistry in bed but can they survive once the reality of living together sinks in. Josh's new job makes demands that pull him away from Zach. When one of Josh's old friend starts to worm his way into their relationship everything gets tough.


Working Hard
Sara York

Chapter One

Josh Rand raced up the sidewalk to the house he shared with Zachary McCaffrey. Not much had changed in the few days he'd been gone. The winter weather hadn't hit North Texas, and fall wasn't a big deal with the temperature barely changing since summer in Paris, Texas. The grass still showed a little green and few leaves were on the ground. It was nothing like New York, and that's why he liked it. Josh worked his key into the lock and pushed open the door. The house was quiet but he hoped he'd caught Zach before he left for work. "Zach, I'm home. Zach, are you here?"
Silence greeted him as he raced from the den to the bedroom. His shoulders slumped as he realized once again he'd screwed up. Zach wasn't home and it would be late in the day before he saw his man. One more ding to their relationship, soon it might be too many for Zach to forgive.
He'd tried to get home on time, which would have been last night, but his plane was delayed by storms that blew across the state, downing trees and flooding roadways. Thank God the snow stayed north of them or he'd still be stuck at the airport. This was exactly what Zach feared would happen once he took the job working with corporate. Only four months doing the work he really loved and he was fucking up. Did Zach despise his job now since he was failing at their relationship? He'd made all sorts of promises and swore he'd make time for them, but there was the project in Dallas followed by one in Lubbock and Austin. He was here then there, always on the go. Something needed to change.
He had an hour before a conference call with the Houston office, and he needed to go through his emails, but also he had to get the plans finished for a multi-plex they were pitching next Thursday in Fort Worth.
He dropped to the bed and closed his eyes, rolling to Zach's side and burying his face in the pillow, breathing deep. His lover's scent filled his nostrils and he sighed. Tonight, he'd make it up to Zach.
Josh pulled out his phone and dialed Zach, hoping he would pick up. The phone rolled immediately to voicemail and he knew he had a hard sell to get them back on track. He swallowed down his fears before speaking, "Zach, I finally made it home. I'm sorry I didn't get back last night. I want to spend some special time together tonight, just you and me. I have a call in a bit that I have to be on and then I'm going to work hard for a few hours, but I really want to treat you tonight. Please call and tell me when you think you'll be home. I love you."
He hung up and wondered if he had pushed too hard and done too much wrong to make it right. When they moved in, they really didn't know each other that well. They'd tumbled into bed rather quickly once they hooked up and then he moved in. He should have waited but moving in had made sense. They were both saving money and they wanted to buy a house somewhere, maybe Houston or Dallas, depending on how Zach's job went. One thing was for sure, he wasn't tempted to move back to New York City, no matter how lucrative the offer. The aggravation of living in the city was more than he wanted. Sure, the parties and bars were plentiful, but the cost was too high, monetarily and psychologically. The city took a toll on people, leaving them wrung out and on edge. He preferred the slow pace of the south, with backyard parties and country living.
His phone vibrated and he checked the caller ID, glad to see that Zach was calling back. He answered, speaking before the phone was to his mouth. "Zach, I miss you so much."
"Thanks for calling. I couldn’t answer earlier. I didn't mean to send you to voicemail so fast."
"I thought you were mad."
"I'm not, really."
"Thank God. I was so angry when the flight didn't make last night."
"Babe, we both knew life would get difficult going into this relationship."
Josh sighed and sunk down, snuggling his head against Zach's pillow. "Thanks, so about tonight. Go out or stay in."
"Yeah, I've got plans for you."
Josh palmed the front of his pants, his dick growing hard as fantasies swirled through his mind.
"Josh, you're awfully quiet. What are you doing?"
"Fuck, you're at work. If I tell you what I'm doing, you won't forgive me easily."
Zach chuckled and Josh knew he was smiling. "Okay, tonight, we'll talk about it tonight. Now get your hand off your dick and save it for later."

Heat flooded Josh's face and he pulled his hand away from his cock. "Okay, later. Bye babe." Josh hung up and headed to the shower, washing quickly. Before he stepped out of the spray he thought about jacking off, but he wanted to save it for Zach. Work took priority and he dove into his project, waiting for the conference call to start as he began to sketch the final elements of the design.

Available at Amazon ARE and B&N