White people should not write fiction for audiences of color, or should they? #amwriting #asmsg #LGBT #amreading

White people should not write fiction for audiences of color, or should they? #amwriting #asmsg #LGBT #amreading

Empathy is needed to write about someone else’s fate and life

In this week’s Author Cave video I talked at length about how I find it problematic when minority authors demand an exclusivity of sorts to write fiction about themselves. I react instinctively against that sort of arguments. Maybe it is because I am a liberal (the European definition) and not a socialist. I think that at the core, we, as humans, all share so much more than that which divides us. But I also believe that the differences we have are individual, and must be explained as such, not because of what group we belong to (which is normally what socialists refer to when explaining the world).

Today, I feel compelled to also write about this, because of something I’ve read in a blog post the other day:

 

 

It is particularly the first point that had me stupefied. What is the difference between a book about people of color written by John Ashcroft or a book written by John Adams? See, you don’t even know which of the authors is of color and who isn’t. They don’t exist. I’m trying to make a point.

The problem isn’t the writer’s own ethnicity. It is their ability for empathy. Empathy to understand the plight of the people (or person) they write about. A good author should be capable of writing about ANY human being, no matter who they are. However, in order to do so, they’ll need to do research and get to know who they are writing about. I could make countless examples of great novels written by white authors about people of color, but I will not, simply because I’m sure there’s an equal amount of examples of bad novels. Am I then contradicting myself? No! Here’s why.

More books doesn’t necessarily equal more diversity

There are, increasingly, a lot of bad books out there. The ongoing development in the publishing industry, the rise of self-publishing, decreasing prices on books etc. all lead to fewer publishers / agents who vet manuscripts, less money invested in editing and proof reading and more and more manuscripts being uploaded straight from the author to Amazon et al. Anyone can write anything. Overall, this is a development we should celebrate, because it democratizes writing as a form of artistic expression. However, it also, inevitably leads to people searching their luck in writing, not to express themselves or an idea, but to simply make money. I recently wrote about one such author. And from a freedom of speech and enterprise point of view, even that is acceptable. It was the catphishing I was opposed to.

For the rest of this post, let us therefore disregard “bad” authors and ask ourselves: should great authors only be allowed to write about their own little group? My answer is still a forceful no. For two reasons mainly:

  • It is divisive. How can we ever hope to learn about the plight and lives of others if all we do is look within ourselves?
  • It is limiting. Because the consequence of majorities not being allowed to write about minorities will automatically lead to minorities not being allowed to write about the majority either. This is problematic not only from a philosophical point of view, but also economically.
  • As I’ve written before, the identity of the author should be irrelevant to the story. A great book lives on its own merits.

Allow me to explain. As a liberal, I truly feel and believe that if we use our empathic abilities more, to get to know each other, to better understand each other, thus tearing down the walls that stand between any dichotomy out there: white – non-white, gay – straight, young – old etc. But it’s worse than that. And I’ll use the romance genre as an example. The het romance genre is huge. Those novels are sold everywhere, even at our tiny grocery stores here on our island. They are translated to many languages, including Swedish, only spoken by some eleven million people. Many authors make money on the back end of that huge market. By comparison, the M/M market (i.e. gay romance) is tiny. Hence fewer authors. If gay authors were only allowed to write M/M romance novels, but not het, they’d be excluded from the potential opportunities of writing to a much larger market. The only people gaining from such a “rule” would be the het majority.

What’s the solution?

I believe the best way to move forward is not to exclude certain groups from writing about certain topics, or even to “prefer” one’s own to write about a certain topic, but to encourage more minority members to write in the first place. I am not naïve. I do understand that racism, misogyny, trans- & homophobia etc make it difficult for minority writers to be published by the large publishers who are largely in the hands of cis-white men. I also understand that minority members enjoy fewer opportunities to study and that fewer have the opportunity to set aside time for the arts. However, just because we can’t easily walk to the moon doesn’t mean we can’t get there at all. In my corner of the world (North America & Europe), the white man is the dominant part of society for now. That will only change gradually. One of the reasons why I write gay fiction is because I feel that I want to be a part of that diversity, adding more books for my “own kind”, but I also write about people who are not cis, not gay, not white, people who are disabled etc. Writing diversity, to me, is about empathy, not ethnic & group membership.

I do understand the call for books “written by my own”. It is a desperate cry after having read miserably written books by people who clearly have no clue what they do. They have no empathy, they completely lack the skill (or interest) to do research and get things right. However, I am convinced that if books were published without the name of the author on the cover (which is tested successfully in many HR departments when recruiting people, to give diverse people a shot), we would focus on that which is relevant: how the book is written, rather than who wrote it. We’d easily be able to sort good books from bad books without applying this sort of “reverse racism”, misogyny, trans- or homophobia, where white people can’t write fiction about people of color, women couldn’t write about men, and trans people couldn’t write cis fiction. I’d not want to live in such a world.

What is your take? Let’s have it… This is an important topic!

Have a good weekend.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it with others. I love to connect with my readers, I really do, so feel free to interact with me on TwitterFacebookYouTube, and/or Instagram.

Hans

PS: A first version of this post was headlined with two important words in the wrong order. While explained as a factor of English not being my first language, that is no excuse and I sincerely apologize for hurting anyone’s feelings. It was certainly not my intention.

#MondayBlogs: dead (or illegal) because of who I am, not what I do #LGBT #asmsg #resistance

#MondayBlogs: dead (or illegal) because of who I am, not what I do #LGBT #asmsg #resistance

Who you are is still more important than what you do, what you achieve!

But before we get started with today’s topic and just how deplorable it is that we still assign more value to who we are than what we do, I feel compelled to share this excerpt of Emma Lazarus’s poem The New Colossus, framing the importance of Lady Liberty guarding the doorway to the “new world”, the promised land, America:

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

– Emma Lazarus, 1883

Nothing symbolizes the promise of America like the Statue of Liberty, as she stands proudly in the harbor of New York. Yet never before has this promise been as threatened as it is now. Photo: Private

Yes, there is a connection to today, as we, the world outside the promised land, once the land of the brave and the free, are no longer certain that we may set foot on its soil. Mind you, to a degree, this is a first world problem, as many people never even dream of setting foot in America. There are also significant numbers of people who wouldn’t want to. Yet ever since the declaration of independence in 1776, American has been the promised land. More than paradise, America was the land of opportunity, of freedom, a land where what you do is more important than who you are. Rich or pauper, skilled or hard-working, anyone had equal opportunities, or so it seemed.

Sadly, we all realize that in reality, this was never the case. America was the promised land for primarily Europeans, and even there, differences were made. And as George Orwell so eloquently wrote in his Animal Farm, all animals are created equal, but some animals are more equal than others. Hence, Germans, English and Scandinavians were at the top of the pyramid, and if you had money, even more so. Italians, Spaniards, the Irish, not so much, contrary to popular belief when even a black president traces his roots back to Ireland… But far below came Asians, and the indigenous Peoples needn’t even apply. They were slaughtered or put behind bars, aka reservations. Africans were welcome, though more as machinery to fuel the progress of America. Not even seen as humans.

Today, the distinctions between Europeans is largely erased, but new frontiers have opened, while many of the old still remain. If you’re “red”, “yellow”, “brown” or “black”, you’re still not quite equal. To add insult to injury, another dimension is added: the Abrahamic faiths are divided amongst themselves, with primarily “Christians” kidnapping “Jews” against “Muslims”.

Traveling to America these days means that not only you’ll be judged by the color of your skin (which is of course no news to anyone), you’ll also be judged by your faith (or lack thereof, atheists are no more welcome than muslims in a true theocracy!), and your political convictions. It is a sad world we live in, no doubt. The other night, I had this strange dream about just how illegal I am, just based on who I am. There is nothing I can do about it, but just by virtue of my “genetic” makeup, I am either dead or illegal in so many places in the world.

As a gypsy, I may not be “dead”, but I am most certainly at risk for my life in many places in Europe. From Moldova in the east to the Adriatic Sea in the west, all across the Balkans, gypsies (Roma & Sinti) are persecuted, discriminated against and killed for literally no reason. Thanks to the breathing hole provided by the membership in the EU, many gypsies regularly travel to Northern Europe, where at least they are “safe” (there have been many reports of hate crimes here, too) and can beg for a living. I am proud of my gypsy heritage, even if it’s only 25% of my genetic makeup.

Born gay (yes, I was really, truly born that way), I am dead in eleven countries, were my husband and I ever end up on their soil: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen, Nigeria, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Mauritania, and the United Arab Emirates. So no visits to Dubai for me any time soon, nor would I ever be able to fly Emirates or Etihad, no matter how good their service may be. Add to that list all the many countries (72 in 2016) where a visit of mine would end up with jail time. This also includes Bangladesh, where gay men recently were slaughtered, for lack of a better world, by extremists, even though the law only prescribes lifetime imprisonment… The irony!

As an atheist, there are even more countries where I am dead! A whooping thirteen countries would kill me if I ever ended up on their soil and they knew about my belief in science and humanism: Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. This kind of excludes any more trips to the Maldives for me… Sad! I rather liked that country.

This satirical cartoon is spreading virally. No wonder. There is still hope for America, as long as Lady Justice prevails…

Now, there is of course nothing that says that I’d end up dead merely for switching flights at Dubai Airport. At least not automatically. But, mind you, I do usually travel with my family, and so it would be hard to hide who we are. Sadly, the recent attempts by the new American regime to also allow its border patrols to check for people’s social media accounts, search our phones will increase the risk of being stopped at the border, at random. Not just because of who you are, but also because of what you believe. Freedom of speech may be a civil right for Americans, but it does not apply to foreigners, hasn’t since the Patriot Act came to be. But after the recent elections, the respect for other people’s convictions, the most basic democratic value, seems to have evaporated. We’ve already seen Canadians (the most peaceful of people in my humble opinion) stopped at the border, simply because they opposed the current regime.

I plan several trips to the U.S. this year, but will they let me in? I don’t know. We’ll see April 27th, when I board my flight to New York to attend this year’s Rainbow Book Fair. I do have a valid ESTA, but in the end, it will be up to the local immigration officer to let me in or not. I’ve never before had to worry about this. I have lived in the U.S., studied and worked in the U.S., I have family and loads of good friends all across the country, and it is no exaggeration when I say I love America. I love what America stood for, as so beautifully expressed in the original Pledge of Allegiance:

“…the Republic for which it stands, one nation, with liberty and justice, for all!”

Not some, for all! Seems America’s forgotting the most important two words of the entire pledge…

Have a good week, and let’s hope that Lady Justice will keep us safe!

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it with others. I love to connect with my readers, I really do, so feel free to interact with me on TwitterFacebookYouTube, and/or Instagram.

Hans

PS: Today we also celebrate the 100th national day of the Sami people. Still they are no closer to independence than they were 100 years ago. I wish my Sami friends and the people of Sápmi all the very best for the future. Another people oppressed because of who’re they’re born as…

America, quo vadis? #resist #LGBT #ASMSG #resistance

America, quo vadis? #resist #LGBT #ASMSG #resistance

Every morning brings new nightmares from Washington

I wake up every morning, and this week was no different, looking at the news. Lately that has been a painful thing to do. I’ve woken up to a country rapidly descending into chaos with presidential edicts and congressional action that makes me wonder about the priorities of the new regime:

  • Allow for companies to drill for oil and gas in national parks. This alone would have Teddy Roosevelt spin in his grave. He was Republican!
  • Draw a pipeline through sacred Indian lands, violating the only non-immigrants in America. And the XL one, well, oil is so yesterday, and what about all the lands destroyed in its path?
  • Allow for corporations to dump waste in streams. I’m like why? Is this the most important thing Congress has on their table?
  • The muslim ban. No one from the seven countries has killed any Americans on American soil. But oddly Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia and Afghanistan aren’t on the list. Besides the horror of singling out an entire religion like that, it also signals that for this regime, money is more important. Just look at where Trump has his business dealings…
  • gag orders for federal employees
  • the executive order to build a 15+ billion border wall against Mexico and having the U.S. tax payers foot the bill. I laugh at the so called proposals to let Mexico pay it, by levying taxes on imports. No, that’s Americans paying for the wall.
  • Not mentioning the 6 million Jews on Holocaust Memorial day. I mean yes, there were plenty of others killed, and those of us who belong to such minorities, Gay men, Gypsies or Jehovah’s Witnesses, we’ve fought for decades to be mentioned, too. But not mentioning the main group? Come on… I have no words.
  • According to a High School year book, the Trump’s nominee for the SCOTUS was chairman of a “Fascist Club”? Say again?
  • Yelling at the Australian PM and hanging up on him, making sure the Mexican President feels all warm and fuzzy (I’m sarcastic!), taking the British PM by the hand (I guess she must’ve been glad he didn’t take her by the pussy…)
  • On a state level, legislation is afoot that makes you chill to the bone. Just today I read that women in Arkansas now need the approval of their husbands or parents to undergo an abortion or their doctors could face a law suit! Really?
  • I could go on and on, and it’s only been two weeks.

And while Trump said on Monday that he wasn’t planning to withdraw President Obama’s 2014 protection against LGBT discrimination in Federal contracts, we now read that an order, to basically turn American into a Christian Iran is well underway. So he won’t have to rescind the Obama order, he’ll simply replace it with an order that will make life for the LGBT community and women in America a living hell. And how does that create jobs?

America, the new Iran?

When the Ayatollahs and mullahs overthrew the despot in Teheran, America was appalled. The theocracy replacing the old regime was seen as a sign of hope by many locals, but very soon the country disappeared under a veil of darkness, and the U.S. was its fiercest critic. Yet by enacting this so called “Freedom of Religion Act”, the U.S. would essentially be doing the same thing, putting Christian orthodoxy in front of the word of the law. America would no longer be a democracy, but a theocracy. Now I understand that for millions of Americans, this is a promise of a great future, but I doubt that most would enjoy living in a country like that.

And among all this, it seems the regime has lost sight of their most important promise: jobs. With the exception of the Keystone XL pipeline, I haven’t seen a single proposal creating jobs, not one. But every step taken so far, has been of great symbolic nature to small parts of his constituency. It shows the world and the American people how active their president is, and ruling by executive order, just how little he cares for the constitution. And Congress? I’ll take my fifth and leave it at that. But safe to say that whatever was a “go” last year is no longer valid this year in terms of how people act on Capitol Hill.

It’s hard to watch a country with institutions as proud and seemingly healthy whither away so quickly. Some look the other way, some are frozen stiff from the shock of it all, some applaud the change, particularly white fundamentalists and fascists, while some take up the fight and try to resist. For those of us who love America but live elsewhere, it’s hard to do anything. But we hurt and we feel frustrated, not to mention afraid. We’ve seen where this can lead, and how quickly it can happen. The repercussions for the world would be dire, because America is not just any country.

I have no hope to pass on today and I am fearful of what is to come, particularly the “Freedom of Religion” thing scares the living daylights out of me. These are dark hours, but resist we must, for our children’s sake. What else can we do? My American friends are calling their congressmen and -women to lobby them, demonstrations are organized, but it all won’t change the basic fact that neither the GOP nor the White House seem to care much about average John Doe, the ongoing dismantling of the Affordable Care Act shows as much. So what will work?

As always I welcome your ideas, suggestions and input. Particularly from those who felt that Trump was the “solution” to all of America’s problems. Do you still feel the same? And please be civil.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it with others. I love to connect with my readers, I really do, so feel free to interact with me on TwitterFacebookYouTube, and/or Instagram.

Hans

Really meaningful and eye-catching title for SEO-bots goes here #MondayBlogs #amwriting #LGBT #amreading

Really meaningful and eye-catching title for SEO-bots goes here #MondayBlogs #amwriting #LGBT #amreading

And this is – of course – the space for the all encapsulating subtitle, very important for the SEO-grabbing search bots

Have you ever felt that you had so much to say, yet didn’t know how? So many topics to choose from, so much injustice around the world that fuels your anger? Yet while you’re all wound up about this and that, you also feel that the double-cold your battling is leaving you powerless and void of energy, You feel as if you’d much rather spend another day in bed, under the warm comforter, sleeping away illness, misery and the Trump presidency, all in one cure?

Sadly, life, which means getting up at six thirty in the morning to get your child out of bed and into clothes so he looks presentable at school doesn’t work that way, particularly not when he proudly wears those new pajamas you bought, in the style of a fire fighter uniform, complete with reflecting bands on arms and legs. It was a hard struggle and necessitated the need of a little white lie to coerce him into a pair of jeans and a sweat shirt. Afterwards, he ate some breakfast and I made my husband some coffee, while catching up on more misery in the news and online. More senseless death, more terrorism and this feeling of what is the world coming to?

When America Was Great Still…? Leave it to Beaver, CBS 1960, but where are the blacks, gays, natives, Latinos, etc? We existed alright, but our existence wasn’t recognized. As much as I loved watching this show, today it is a symbol of what we’ve overcome…

It feels to me as if we are in the middle of a huge cultural war, a war fought between the past and the future, a war between white privilege on one hand, with promises of a revival of the fifties post-war economic boom and seeming social peace and the modern world the other hand, a more “brown” world, where people of all color and creed live side by side. I totally understand that for some, it is a frightening concept. In Russia, the rich, who have always been rich, dream of a world that resembles that of the nineteen fifties Soviet Union, where everyone had a job, there was no unemployment and the rich and powerful ruled, just as the czars had before the revolution. The only difference was that the czar was not a Romanov, but an apparatchik. In Europe, leaders of the far left and far right also dream of a past that really didn’t exist, ever, except in childhood memories or stories from our parents and grandparents, happy vacation pictures. In America, the Trump regime dreams of June Cleaver at her stove and wants to bring back those “Happy Days“. Yet they weren’t as happy as Hollywood portrayed them. Why else did  we have so much terror back then? The IRA in England, the Red Brigades in Italy, the Baader-Meinhof Group in Germany? Why did we have so much social unrest? Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., or Malcolm X to name a few? Why did we have riots and an entire generation’s uproar against the world of June Cleaver? 1968!

Trump, Putin, Le Pen, there’s one in every country. Some smarter than others, some more successful than others, but they all dream of taking their countries back to a time and place that never really existed. Too many were excluded, to many were not part of the dream. Millions starving in Africa, exploited by the fast-growing west, millions in the middle-east barely getting by while the riches of their oil-rich soils ended up on tankers west-ward bound. Millions starving in China, India, while their governments tried to counter-effect the remnants of a colonial rule with different measures that left the people wanting. But June Cleaver’s smile was perfect, as was her hair and front yard.

I look at Happy Days or Leave it to Beaver and I wonder: where are the blacks, the Latinos, the Asians, the Arabs? Or the indigenous Peoples of America? The Gays and the Lesbians? If that is the society Trump wants, then I say good luck, because America will never be like that again, because it never was! The America of today is that of Rogue One, and although I haven’t had a chance to see it yet, the mere fact that the nazis are going bonkers over a colorful cast makes me hopeful for a better future, at least in Hollywood.

No, you’re not a MAN, No, you’re not a GAY man, and no, it was not a rumor; and by Jove I hope you have more respect for your husband Hector than you showed him by making him look like an imbecile who doesn’t even speak English… Oh yes, screen dumps exist for a reason (this post and others were later removed.)

I don’t know were our nations are heading. It seems that for now, we’re taking the proverbial step back, after taking two steps forward in the past fifty years of my life. 1968 was the promise of social change, of a better world, for everyone, including women’s rights in relationships. There will, I guess, always be a struggle between the past and the future, between “conservatives” and “progressives”. However, I am hopeful that given the way the world is developing, that we are going to win this struggle, too. The forceful reactions to the first days of the Trump regime are leaving me slightly optimistic. The rule of the white heterosexual man is over. Donald Trump may very well be the last of its kings.

In other matters. Last week I helped bring down a catfish, a woman who impersonated a man in order to sell books. Like I said last week, it is perfectly okay to use a pen name, even a pen name of a different gender. Others have done it before, out of choice or need. I mention Karen Blixen’s “Isak Dinesen” as an example. However, Mrs Perez went far beyond simply using a pen name. She pretended to be a man, she pretended to be a married gay man on top of that, faked a heart attack (!!) and spread hatred against women and minorities on her Facebook author page. Why she did that we’ll never know. There is a part of me that feels sorry for her, for her need to have to go to such lengths to earn a buck or two. I also believe that unconsciously, she tried to be found out. Why else would she leave bread crumbs from her alternate persona “Byron Rider” all the way to her home address in Pasadena, TX, where she resides with husband and daughter? All we had to do was follow the trail, from Rider’s Amazon page to her het profile of Cait Perez, to Ms Perez’s website, where she had listed her home address. Not the smartest con, but maybe a desperate cry for help?

Sadly, when such frauds are discovered, people are hurt. Fans who had purchased books and who had invested emotionally in the author (who turned out to be someone entirely different) were left wondering if there is anyone out there who is who they pretend/say they are. People who had been genuinely shocked by her feigned outrage and the ensuing “heart attack” were in shock (as some of the comments on my post last Friday show.) Unfortunately, the next step up is a witch hunt for others, and authors and artists who are on the fringes, thematically or in terms of their convictions, become victims of suspicion, and I’ve already seen more than one post and e-mail wondering about him or her. I have no doubt that there will be more Byrons out there. But let’s not turn this into the Spanish Inquisition. Like I said Friday, don’t trust everything you see, check your sources. But on the other hand, if we, as a society lose that basic trust in each other, we are only making things worse, and will ultimately aid those who stand to profit the most from distrust. This is particularly true for those of use who belong to a minority, or two.

So let’s not. Let’s keep faith in humanity.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it with others. I love to connect with my readers, I really do, so feel free to interact with me on TwitterFacebookYouTube, and/or Instagram.

Have a good week!

Hans

 

Trust is great, but these days, we must be cautious about what we believe! #asmsg #amreading #LGBT

Trust is great, but these days, we must be cautious about what we believe! #asmsg #amreading #LGBT

Thinking about the content of this post kept me awake last night

This post could be about three topics:

  • The continued development of the Trump regime (and the impact on the LGBT community)
  • How gullible some people are online
  • the special responsibility LGBT artists have toward our own

Oddly, all these topics are connected, and it all started with a question from a friend online about an author of gay romance. The question is valid: “How can you write gay romance and root for Trump?” Now I understand that a LOT of people voted for Trump, including gays, lesbians, trans people etc. Naturally, I respect their decision. I may not like it, and I’ve tried hard to understand it, but ultimately, I don’t get it, because I weigh my politicians differently.

I understand that many people believe, genuinely, that Trump would make America great again. And I understand that to many of them, the loss of industrial jobs, jobs that don’t require a college education, to Asia, or Latin America made America anything but great. There are a lot of people who lost to globalization. The blame falls on both parties, Democrats and Republicans alike, since both parties favor a globalized economy. So do I btw, but politicians failed to explain how globalization works and they failed to make sure to bring their domestic work force up to speed, to improve education etc.

When I look at a political movement, there are certain things that are important for me, and at the forefront are how they respect my and other minorities’ civil and human rights. All else is irrelevant at least at first. It is the litmus test for any politician in MHO. I understand, as difficult as it may be, that to others, priorities lie elsewhere. The gay man who’s been married to a woman all his life, who has kids and who’s never really known what it truly means to come out (when his parents were still alive and could’ve ostracized him), to be a pariah; to the super rich investor from California who’ll always float above the law by virtue of his fortune, log cabin republicans etc. I get that. But when I suddenly hear about a person who makes money off the back of my people, writing books about us, and still wholeheartedly supports a regime which vilifies us, with a VP who thinks we should “better resign from jobs with god-fearing Christian companies, before we have to force you out with legislation!”, party friends who have already sued to discriminate against married LGBT couples (Texas), to just name two examples, then my tolerance ends. Yes, and I say this emphatically: said author is more than welcome to hold any conviction they may have, and to vote according to their heart’s desire. However, it doesn’t mean that I or anyone else must share their conviction or buy their books.

Because how can I support someone who so openly and without reservation supports a person who threatens the lives of my friends and family, and who surrounds himself with men (and a very few women) who vehemently fight against women’s rights, who think that blacks and Latinos aren’t worth the same as whites, and who think that the LGBT community needs to put in its right place, a regime who in less than a week has trampled on the very constitution they hold dear, issuing gag orders, vilifying the free press, ordering the destruction of sacred indigenous lands, show no respect to our planet or the environment, to just name a select few… How could I? I can’t! And I won’t.

But it doesn’t end there. And this is where it gets difficult. Again, anyone may write anything and publish whatever they like. However, I also believe in honesty, transparency, because it builds trust. I do not wish to accuse anyone, but when that same person, this Trumpista, author of gay fiction lies about who they are, then I start to ask questions. Here are just a few:

  • Why would anyone use a photoshopped picture of Kevin Spacey (!) and claim it to be them? Why indeed…
  • Why use a picture from a scientific experiment as a second picture and accept compliments for being so “handsome”? And why don’t people react, because clearly the two profile pics look nothing alike? Are y’all blind?
  • How can an author publish thirteen (!) books in less than a month? (and nothing since?)
  • How can that same author, on their profile page on Amazon write a bio and mention that they also write F/M fiction, an author who’s published ten (!) books in less than a year, yet who does not have any Facebook presence? Even though their M/M counterpart publishes many times daily? Do they not want to sell their F/M books? Why not push them as vehemently as they push their M/M books? Or their Trump convictions?
  • How likely is it that one person writes twenty-three books in sixteen months? And why doesn’t the F/M author profile mention the M/M project (which at the time was a future endeavor?)

Why would anyone photoshop a picture of actor Kevin Spacey and pretend to be that person? Why?

Lots of questions, not a single answer that I can come up with that makes sense…

I am asking questions. Who knows. There may be perfectly good and logical answers to all of this.

I have my doubts. Why? Maybe it’s because I find it so difficult to reconcile being a Trumpista with being LGBT and claiming to support our cause when you voted for a guy whose closest people absolutely despise us (Pence), want to roll back marriage equality (Pence, Carson) or even put us in camps. Said author claims to be gay and married to a man (yet their profile says “Domestic Partnership”, which never even existed in the state where they claim to live, but that’s just another detail in a story that does not add up. There’s more, but I’ll leave that for now.)

My friend’s initial question hit a nerve. The author in question suddenly suffered (within minutes after posting an outraged post) a “heart attack”, a heart attack so severe that they were released from hospital care within less than a day… A question to medical staff: what heart attack gets you out of a hospital in less than twenty-four hours? None I presume, but I might be wrong… There were so out of it that they posted gibberish online yet magically managed to change their profile and background image? Who suffers a heart attack and worries about their Facebook profile? Just asking…

What does amaze me though is how gullible people are these days, how quickly they fall for almost anything said online, taking things for granted, not asking questions. Mind you. You can accuse me of being naïve, too, at times. I’ve fallen for some pretty bad people in my life. Maybe I’ve finally learned my lesson.

And the assumption of innocence is of course always to be treated with respect. Even said author is innocent until proven guilty of lying and deceiving. All I can prove is they they lied about using a fake photo as their own.

Maybe there are perfectly good explanations about why someone would lie so blatantly. Like I wrote on Monday, some authors are forced to use pseudonyms, are forced to be in the closet. I’ve been there, I used to lie to everyone I knew. I had a pretend girlfriend, I had pretend straight sex (and bragged about it) when I was a teen. I was an expert at lying. Before I came out. Why a proud and married gay man would need to fake his profile picture is above me. The other ‘allegations’ are merely questions, because something just doesn’t add up.

This has most certainly been a most interesting week, but not a good one. People are afraid, women, blacks, Hispanics, native Americans, hell, the whole planet is holding its breath, wondering what Trump and his people will do next. And this is just a reminder to Americans: they can do infinitely more damage abroad than they could ever dream of doing domestically. Just by signing the executive order to halt all aid to women abroad he’s threatening the lives of tens of thousands of women and children!

Why writing this post? Well, trust is great. However, with all the fake news, alternative facts, falsehoods and lies being spread on a daily basis, we have to be careful about whom we trust. This example, while possibly perfectly legitimate, shows that a certain degree of “doubt” is in place, and that we have to make sure to have alternative sources to things we see or hear. Things may not always be what they appear to be, and even honest people can be duped and spread false news online. Add to that the unpleasantness of working in an industry which has seen its fair share of frauds in the past year, fake authors, plagiarism and what not. To be careful about who we trust and what we believe is only sensitive. I’ve thought hard and long about whether or not I should write about it. Maybe I’m doing myself a disservice, by asking these questions of a fellow author. But these are extraordinary times. My people are hurting. We can’t risk to be duped.

What’s your take on all this? Do you have any answers?

Have a good weekend,

Hans