“Burn it and salt the earth with it so it will rise no more.”
That’s how one review on Goodreads read this week. I have to say, I’ve pretty much never had anybody hate my writing that much. It’s at once kind of awe-inspiring, terrifying, mystifying and baffling.
When I started to write OUT, I really didn’t think about who would be pleased or displeased. I just had an idea that I really found engaging and interesting, and I went with it. But I honestly didn’t expect the negative comments to come from the pro-LGBT camp. I expected right-wing Christians might object to it because it paints conservatives in a rather negative light. I figured the Anglican Church might be a tad upset that I chose to use the fictional sect “Anglicant” for my model religion. But so far, neither of those groups knows the book exists, I suppose. I’ll get that hate mail another day.
No, this reaction is coming from people who have decided the book is homophobic, that I am some anti-gay activist writer seeking to paint all LGBT people as evil, and they’ve totally managed to miss the point.
The gay community already accepts gay people. There is no need to convince them. The people who object to LGBT unions are people in the majority, specifically straight people. I purposefully called the groups in my book Parallel and Perpendicular because I didn’t want people to forget that it was fiction, that it wasn’t about the gay citizens of our world today.
It is an opportunity for people in the majority to step into the shoes of the minority. What if straight people in our world were assaulted, sent to reconditioning camps, outcast, disowned? How would they feel? That was what I wanted to explore in OUT. It wasn’t designed to give people ammunition to target LGBT people. Is it realistic to think that this world would ever come to be? No. It’s called speculative fiction.
From what I’ve seen, the people who are most rabidly protesting the book haven’t even read it. (To be fair, a couple have read it, but I think they decided before they even cracked it open that it was a homophobic diatribe. With goggles like that on, I doubt they could see it for what it really is. If someone comments “I’ll read it, but there’s no way it’s not a homophobic book”, you pretty much know their opinion is not going to change.)
These same people will rail against narrow-minded individuals who won’t consider same-sex marriage. They’ll condemn those who can’t see things from their perspective. But they’re doing the exact same thing.
In the writing business, we call this irony.