Since we’re taking part in the ‘Hop Against Homophobia’, we thought this would be a good moment to say a little about discrimination and prejudice as we’ve experienced them personally.
As you’ve probably gathered, most of the people involved in Manifold Press are significantly over the age of 21 and have been reading and writing M/M fiction for a considerable number of years. During that time we’ve encountered quite a lot of anti-gay sentiment, one way and another, and we’ve had our literary preferences described as ‘dirty’, ‘perverted’ and just about every other epithet you can imagine. Even though most of our output is not especially steamy, we are often shunted into the genres of ‘erotica’ or ‘adult’ work simply by virtue of the participants being men and the presumption that sex between men is somehow less acceptable to the general taste than heterosexual sex.
Whilst we’re quite prepared to believe that the majority of the world is heterosexual – or at least thinks it is – we don’t feel that in any way invalidates the lifestyles of those who are not. We’ve been told some utter falsehoods about gay people in the past, by people who thought they knew what they were talking about – that gay men don’t kiss, for example, or that gay sex is always rough and painful and always involves violence. We hope these ill-informed views are on the decline, and we’re trying to do our little bit towards promoting understanding through our books.
To us, gay men are neither disgusting creatures to be reviled nor wondrous beings to be fetishised; they’re just men who happen to be gay. They live, love, laugh, work, eat and sleep just like anybody else; they have the same everyday concerns as the rest of the world – money, health, their own safety and that of others, the list is endless. That we choose to read and write about them should be of no greater importance than if we chose to read and write about cooking or art or dogs or railway engines; this is simply what we know about and what we like to do.
The prejudice encountered by M/M authors is a pale shadow of that encountered by people who are gay, although it’s part of the same phenomenon. We have never understood why genuine love and affection – or indeed the honest exchange of sexual pleasure without emotional commitment – should be anybody’s business but that of the people involved. We do not consider ourselves politically-minded in any way, and we are certainly not a campaigning organisation, but when we’re given an opportunity like this to be part of a protest against homophobia we are only too glad to stand up and be counted.
Please comment on this post to enter a draw to receive the free Manifold Press book of your choice, the winner to be announced on 20 May.
ETA: If you have difficulty leaving a comment here, please leave one on the equivalent LJ post and we’ll include them all in the same draw!