If you’re gay I’m not asking if your family and friends know that you like people with the same bits, but are you “out” with regard to your reading material?
Do you openly admit to friends, coworkers and family that you read m/m? If you write it, does everyone know the types of stories you write or are you kind of vague about it all?
I noticed in our discussions on sharing books, many people said “None of my friends read the type of books I do.” Is that because they have no interest or because they don’t know?
I’ll be honest, I used to keep it pretty quiet (and I’m still not running around with a rainbow flag screaming “I read m/m romance”) but I’ve started to open up more. I guess for me, even straight romance has a reputation that it’s not “real” literature and I fell into the “if you’re not reading Oprah’s book list, you’re not reading something worthy”. Duh.
It started I think with someone at work. The conversation in a bookstore went like this:
Allison: “What kind of books are you reading?”
Me: *deer in the headlights look* so I bit the bullet and said “Gay romance”
Allison: *odd laugh* “Really?”
Me: “Yeah, I’m kind of into books with lots of sex these days.”
Allison: “They have lots of sex?”
Me: “Oh yeah. Well, I mean not ALL of them of course.” (trying to avoid coming off like total perv)
Me: “Do you like paranormals? Like werewolves and vampires and stuff?”
Allison: “Well, I’ve read some vampire stuff.”
Me: “I have one you might like, it’s about werewolves, I’ll lend it to you but I want it back.”
So I gave her J.L. Langley’s Without Reservations. I haven’t gotten it back yet nor heard any comment on it. But she willingly took it. That was kind of my first step into the light.
With some of my on-line friends I started dropping hints and now they kind of expect me to chime in on certain subjects with my “literary expertise”. My daughter knows what I read (not the details obviously) but I will mention “I read a book about a guy who had a fight with his boyfriend about X” so it’s obvious I’m reading about two guys. I also got her to read Vintage: A Ghost Story which is YA and she really enjoyed it.
My parents? Ummm. I don’t think my Mom would get it AT ALL. My Dad would be clueless. My Mom doesn’t even get why I read so much. No sibs to explain it to.
So how “out” are you? If someone asks what the last book you read was do you say “Hot Man Lovin’ 3” or do you just say “a romance novel”? If you keep it quiet what do you think people would say or do if you came out of the m/m closet?
My family and friends are only aware that I read a lot. Not what. Guess that they think I read what I used to before, thrillers, mysteries,sci-fi and some romance.
I told them I read books on the computer. They don't get that. So I see no point in telling them what I read. Also I don't think they would understand why I would like to read m/m. It is so alien to them.
Like Ingrid, everyone knows that I read a lot and all of them know that I read romance.
My close family know that I read m/m romance, which I guess is pretty obvious since the Mumma drops in to the blog. LOL. And my baby brother thinks that I should rename the blog “Kris 'n' Gay Books”. *sigh* We're so PC in this family. *G*
None of my – well, the virtuals do 😉 – friends know however. Quite frankly most of them don't get that I read romance so I don't really see the point in telling them that I read m/m.
My husband, kids (24,21 & 20), sister, cousin and 3 nieces know I read M/M. Sadly none of them are interested in reading it.
My super old-fashioned and somewhat intolerant parents would never understand so I'll never let them know thats what I read. Bad enough they never really approved of wasting time reading romance books when I was growing up.
When people comment on my e-book Reader and ask what I'm reading I usual say a romance novel but I don't specify it's m/m. It's actually the same response I've always given, I never specified m/f romance so I don't see why now I should say m/m romance anyways.
I do sometimes wish I had someone “real” as opposed to only online that I could talk about my books with but not enough to put it out there and possibly have to deal with other people's stupidity 🙂
Quite frankly most of them don't get that I read romance so I don't really see the point in telling them that I read m/m. *g* Telling that you read romance is unbelievable for some, m/m is a big step further.
So it brilliant to meet other people here on the blogs and the other ones who like to read it as well 🙂
Who understand that a GFY with a HEA will never end up on the DNF pile *g*
“I do sometimes wish I had someone “real” as opposed to only online that I could talk about my books with but not enough to put it out there and possibly have to deal with other people's stupidity .”
I hear you, Lily, although I talk to my Mumma and baby brother about all of my books, regardless of genre, and they just have to grin and bear it. LOL.
I have evil plans for the conversion of the Mumma. She read “Hero” and loves the choose your own m/m stories. She was given a pressie during the week of Sean's “T & D” so I have high hopes. 🙂
“Telling that you read romance is unbelievable for some, m/m is a big step further.”
Oh yeah. Most of my friends are associated with the field in which I work which is pretty academic. (Another) Quite frankly they're literary snobs. While they are reading Oprah's crap, I mean, book list, I'm reading fantasy, urban fantasy, romance and romantic suspense… and never the two shall meet.
Also, my closest bfs and I have had huge arguments about epublishing where I've told them they're elitist because they think ebooks aren't 'real'. This, of course, has nothing to do with me being a shit stirrer. 😉
“So it brilliant to meet other people here on the blogs and the other ones who like to read it as well 🙂 Who understand that a GFY with a HEA will never end up on the DNF pile *g*”
It sure is!!! Even when they have to later explain to their Mummas what GFY, HEA and DNF mean. LOL.
I think for most of us it seems like we just don't want to have to justify our choices in life and unfortunately even reading het romance often needs to be justified. Why do people care so freaking much what other people read? Its all good right? If you're reading rather than doing drugs, kicking kittens or robbing banks?
And I think that's it for me. I wouldn't lose my job or suffer any repercussions if I became a best selling m/m author (HAHAHAHAHA riiiight) or talked 24/7 about my book choices but it just seems unfair that I should have to justify my choices, so most of the time I don't even throw it out there to avoid the issue unless I'm pretty confident that the person I told will accept my choices. They don't have to be converts to the cause but don't make me feel somehow inferior for my choices.
“Why do people care so freaking much what other people read?”
Tam, I totally agree. I never go up to people and ask them what they are reading. Yet people, random strangers even, feel it's ok to question what I'm doing. Really people, it's none of your business!!
All my friends and family know I read…my family doesn't actually care enough to ask what it is that I am reading, which is fine 🙂
I do sometimes wish I had someone “real” as opposed to only online that I could talk about my books with…
As for m/m romance – three friends know. Two of them, including my best friend, just aren't that into it, so we don't really talk about it. However, one friend, who is also a work colleague, and I discuss it (I even pimped the blog Kris 🙂 She broached it by mentioned that she had just finished reading Wicked Gentleman (Ginn Hale)…and I said I had heard of it and wanted to read it, so she lent it to me. Both of us were so relieved to have someone to talk about the books with! So, I'm really lucky!
Fascinating post Tam! Really thought-provoking 😉
“They don't have to be converts to the cause but don't make me feel somehow inferior for my choices.”
My response to the “you read romance??” scrunchy face comment is either a cheerful “yep, sure do” or, if I'm in a bit of a mood (which I'm sure will come as a shock to you all because I'm generally sweetness and light), “at least it's not that esoteric, pretentious crap that you read, you try hard”.
Kris: Snarky? You? Never!! LOL
Your Mumma should LOVE T&D, I think it would be a great way to introduce someone to the genre if they are feeling a bit unsure.
This is a great topic! I'd say that none of my friends or family know I read m/m. That's just a guess but no one's said anything.
For the longest time no one in my family would admit to my reading romance. I mean hello, my entire Amazon.com wishlist for a while was filled with the newest m/f romance names. It's not a shock people. But it was like a dirty, never acknowledged secret and I never said anything.
Considering that I am a voracious reader, it is also never a topic since I also read a tremendous amount of literary fiction, sci-fi, mystery, and so on. I can talk about the latest books in several genres so my family and friends tend to stick to that.
I still get teased quite a bit about what do I do in my free time.. read romance novels? tee hee.
Yea, if only you knew and I still managed to read more award winning books than they did this last month. Why can't I like my romance and smut too? I'm pretty sure if they knew I had gone further into romance with M/M, I can only imagine the comments then. In some ways, reading mainstream romance novels has become more accepted but since I don't read much m/f romance anymore the acceptance doesn't affect me much.
Still in the closet with my romance smut ..
The Mumma speaks…
Yeh, yeh… I am gonna give it a go (pretty soon), and certainly will read Sean's pressy.
I definitely don't have a problem with what Kris reads, but yep, the boy child has a tendency to talk about Kris's “gay” reading in real cheezy terms.
As an English teacher I have enough trouble talking about what I read. (Nora, Linda H, Linda LM, Maggie Sefton and some others) I talk about reading for relaxation, and their comments are somewhat smart arsey. My comment is usually somehere in the region of… “Well when one of my students wants to discuss the “canons” then I'll pick ipt up and read it again!”
I have trouble getting fifteen year olds to read, let alone discuss Shakespeare, Austen and Dickens.
So (after sounding somewhat like one of the girl child rants), and getting back to stepping out of my little niche, I will read Sean's book after I finish marking the exams.
Orannia: You pimped me?? Awwww. 🙂
Cool that you have a physical body to talk to about books… and what a great book to bond over. Too bad the Mumma is not into fantasy or I'd be pimping even more to her. LOL.
Tam: I thought it'd be a surprise. 😉
Before the pushing and shoving and the insults to each others Mummas happens, I also manage to get in a couple of “just because you bought it in some obscure bookshop and a whole 10 people have read it doesn't mean it's good” as well as “yeah, well when was the last time you actually ENJOYED a book, let alone understood it!” It usually ends when I call them a book snob. We Aussies don't much like being called snobs. LOL.
Oh, sorry Sissy – typo – “pick it up…” and “Sean's book, after…”
The English teacher wanted me to fix it up!
Kassa: You mean that you've never had or been able to use the 'I'm in the middle of reading a book' to get rid of a family member?? I love it when they ask what your reading. For some reason I always seem to be in the middle of reading a sex scene. 😉
It never fails to get the baby brother off the phone quickly when I start talking about a smoking hot m/m scene or asking him whether it's true that a guy loves it when… MWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!
*whispers* Mumma still hasn't learnt how to delete and re-post. 🙂
“I definitely don't have a problem with what Kris reads…”
*Phew!* Cos you know I would totally change my habits for you, right Mumma. *snort*
I did indeed pimp you 🙂
…at least it's not that esoteric, pretentious crap that you read, you try hard.
ROFLOL! I have so wished to say something like that on so many occasions!
It's oh so satisfying, Orannia. *GRIN*
There are a couple of issue here, I suppose.
Like many of you I'm known to like reading. Quite a number of my friends know I read romance, bringing it up occasionally as a reason for hilarity. I've managed to convert one friend to historicals but even she refers to them as 'trashy' and 'bodice rippers' (which pisses me off no end).
The second issue is reading m/m romance. Hub knows (although I didn't tell him for ages) and is completely bewildered as to why!
I haven't told any of my other friends. This is mainly because I work in a church and many of my friends are Christians. To be honest I worry that if I tell some of them about my m/m reading they may wish to 'counsel' me and/or pray for me to be purged of my sinful ways. I don't think reading about about gay romance is particularly sinful (or rather that it's about as sinful as reading het romance anyway), so I don't want to go down that route!
This comment has been removed by the author.
Let's try that again without the typos and misspellings…
“Kris 'n' Gay Books”
LMAO! Your brother is such a wit!
Jen, do you realise that's the second time in a week you have brought up the issue of purging? Do you have something you want to tell us??
Srsly tho I imagine it would be extremely awkward – and scary – to even think about bringing up the subject of reading m/m romance in your work environment let alone ACTUALLY doing it. The stuff of nightmares.
“LMAO! Your brother is such a wit!”
HE thinks he is. LOL. We did think about changing the name and seeing how long it would take before anyone would notice. One of us talked the other out of it – can't remember who now – on the basis it might offend some who couldn't take a joke.
Awkward, yes. Scary, not so much. My boss (the vicar) is a lovely person and very non-judgemental. We've had some very interesting and open discussions on homosexuality and he didn't once call me an infidel!
Telling him about my m/m reading habits may be a step too far though. He's one of my friends who comes up with the occasional 'hilarious' comment about me reading romance books.
Thinking a bit more about this. I think it all ties in with other people's expectations of you. If you are an intelligent person (which I think we all are here) then people expect you to read snooty high literature. When they find out that you don't, then they can't cope with that change in image and so react by teasing you about it. I do get rather fed up about this, so why add fuel to the fire by telling people about m/m reading?
As Tam said, it's nobody's business but mine what I choose to read or watch on TV/film or which music I listen to, so why should I share it with others?
I am glad u did not change the name to Kris n Gay books, because in the middle east the word gay is marked to be blocked…off topic (I tried buying a book from author Gayle Wilson and they would not let me access it on amazon or any other site.) so if u change i get blocked!
I leave my books with my siblings when I'm out of the country so they know i read m/m but we never talk about it.
I got one of my brothers to read the Suzzanne Brockman series and he liked it. The other brother is one of those who talks down on romance books, so to get back at him during a large gathering when he was making fun of the group of us who read them,I explained ( using my knowledge of human anatomy and experience as a healthcare worker) that the human male was created to have gay sex because of the position of the prostate. And since it's the male 'clit' that means they are meant to have gay sex…. I will never forget the look on his face,lol… and that was the end of that.
My hubby knows but none of my friends know yet. I don't know why I haven't told them since they would not be surprised coming from me… I explained to hubby that just like some men like the thought of two women together, women like the thought of two men together. He gets it now.
Suzi: I think that's a great way to put it to men who don't understand the appeal. If men thing two girls together are hot why wouldn't women think two men together are hot? Putting it in porn terms they understand might simplify things. LOL
I'm “out” to just about anyone who will listen. *g* Most of my friends know I have a blog that reviews M/M romances, although I drew the line at giving them the URL. Maybe soon. My family (adult spawn) know — I 'fessed up to my daughter when I wouldn't give her my Twitter id. My son has been aware of my reading material for a long time – he bought a book on a flight that he had seen on my bookshelves, and did he get a shock!:DDD
It's no big deal to tell friends — they'll just think you're a perv but so what???
On the other hand I read books that some may consider “elitist” because my brain doesn't function in only one direction (I'm sure that most of you have similar tastes in books and it's nothing to be ashamed of either)*g*.
I think it all ties in with other people's expectations of you.
I do understand your reservations because of your work and also your environment.
However, as someone who has long ceased caring about other people's expectations of me personally (except my family and and a few very good friends, and even then only a few of them) as opposed to professionally, I'm quite happy to share that my reading material consists of men doing other men.
Toronto is pretty gay friendly (probably the most accepting City outside of San Francisco) so the environment is conducive to being open. I have a few friends who have been gay couples for many years which helps because I don't have to restrain myself when I'm with them.*g*
I'm not ashamed of what I write by any means, but common sense dictates who is and isn't in the know. Longtime real-life friends know what I write and could care less — and when I say “care less” I mean to the point where they remind me not to get too full of myself over this whole author thing! I also don't go around announcing what I write (or which name I'm writing it under) to the general public, but that's moreso for privacy reasons.
My parents know I write spicy romance that includes homoerotic elements. My highly openminded father knows my pen name and book titles, even, but doesn't read my work because ew, I'm his daughter! My mother is trying to figure out my pen name, but she tends to play openminded, then freak out without warning, so no pen name for her. I
My 6-yr-old knows what I write “books for grownups” but is fairly insulated from what I do. My 17-yr-old son jokingly calls me a “pervert” but also high fives me on acceptances, reviews and such. And then there's my 14-yr-old yaoi fangirl daughter who writes fandom slash. She and I openly discuss our stories minus the dirty parts, with the agreement she can read my work when she turns 18 if she cares to go there.
Only 1 of my “real” (read: non online) friends knows that I read m/m. Well actually 2, but 1 says she gets the heebies and chooses to ignore the fact. Whatever.
My hubby knows that some of my books are m/m but doesn't understand it AT ALL. He just cannot get why I enjoy books about 2 men. I look him in the eye and say romance is romance. He will continue to be bewildered, I'm sure.
As for my parents. Uh, no. Nor will I probably ever tell them. My mother, the minister, would probably understand (though I choose not to tell her) but my dad would more than likely look at me as though I'd grown two heads.
Suzi: You'll be blocked? No changing blog names for me, then. 🙂
LOL. I LOVE your story about explaining to your brother in front of a large crowd about the prostate for all intents and purposes being the male version of a clit. I'm definitely keeping that one in reserve for use against my baby brother and the Daddy. Too funny!
“I explained to hubby that just like some men like the thought of two women together, women like the thought of two men together. He gets it now.”
Oh, and that one too! 😉
“My son has been aware of my reading material for a long time – he bought a book on a flight that he had seen on my bookshelves, and did he get a shock!”
“I read books that some may consider “elitist” because my brain doesn't function in only one direction.”
*snort* I keep waiting for my friends to throw this accusation back in my face when we're arguing about romance. Surprisingly no one has yet mentioned my collection of histories. *G* Told you – call an Aussie a snob and it shocks the argument right out of 'em. 😉
Jen & Wave: *apols for the typos I am doing this one-handed because of a huge grey kitten on my lap*
“I think it all ties in with other people's expectations of you. If you are an intelligent person (which I think we all are here) then people expect you to read snooty high literature.”
My own experience has definitely been an example of this. I've already shared some of my responses to either disbelief or disparaging remarks. Hee hee. I think I already admitted to being a shit stirrer, but I'm also someone who is more than prepared to discuss / argue / etc something that I believe in, especially when I get such great enjoyment out of it like I do reading romance.
At the end of the day however, my expectation of my closest friends and family is that they accept me for who I am including my so-called odd tastes. If they don't, well, they can get stuffed. 🙂
Katrina: Your family sounds wonderful. I imagine that it must be pretty terrific to get this kind of support… high fives and all. 🙂
“… but common sense dictates who is and isn't in the know…”
I think that holds true for not only the authors, but the readers of m/m romance in many ways. I share the fact I read m/m romance with those close to me who I know are very accepting of everything I do, even if they don't always fully understand it.
My baby brother and I have had some very interesting discussions about m/m romance. When he got really angry about the discrimination associated with the fact that m/m romance was not sold on the shelves alongside of m/f romance, I realised this was yet another example of just how awesome my family really is. *GRIN*
Tracy: Did you see Suzi's explanation to her hubby? Maybe you could try that on yours. LOL.
I had a similar conversation with my family about why I liked readning m/m romance. Besides it being extrememly hot romance ;), I went on to say that I liked how a lot of the time the r/ship dymanic was more balanced in m/m than when it was in m/f. They actually got this pretty much straight away and understood why it would appeal, especially to me.
Great post Tam!
I think Im “coming out” so to speak for as my reading M/M is concerned. Within my circle of family and friends, they probably think I just read “intellectual” thing but Im an advocate for reading PERIOD. Who cares what you read. Read what you enjoy, you know?
I will say that I kinda like the forbidden fruit aspect of M/M like its a dirty new secret..I dont know why..;-) But I am and have told my fellow gay friends about yaoi and M/M..
“… but Im an advocate for reading PERIOD. Who cares what you read. Read what you enjoy, you know?”
Well said, Ozakie!