Are your books LGBTQ+ friendly?

I get asked this a lot, so I’m finally going to answer it in detail. Buckle up!

Your first foray into my books may make it seem like maybe not. I mean, we’ve got Rear Admiral Parfait (who is clearly very bad at remaining in the closet regarding his sexual preferences), Queen Arthur (who is King Arthur, though he likes to wear women’s clothing…note that his queen likes to wear men’s clothing, too), and a few characters (Ensign Brand Jezden and Gaheris, to name two) who do not seem very pleased with non-cis people.

To be fair, Rear Admiral Parfait can be a bit over-the-top, but he’s an all-sexual, meaning he’ll have sex with women, men, aliens, potted plants (okay, not really), and so on. And, yes, it does rub some people the wrong way–pun intended–but he is who he is, and everyone on the Platoon F crew knows it. He is based on an actual person Chris and I worked with a long time ago. The fellow, who shall remain nameless, he knows about the character and has said, “Hey, that’s me!” … though he did leave off the “Oooh!” when he read Parfait. He actually thought Parfait was the best character in the books, and was very happy that the crew accepted him for who he was and encouraged him to quit trying to hide it.

As for Arthur and Gwen, it just goes to show that not even the leaders of an entire kingdom, those revered for having saved the kingdom from utter devastation, are immune from prejudice and intolerance.

So are you saying your books are woke?

Man I hate that term. It’s such a politically-charged, ignorant word that’s intended to spread division and give a reason for people to dislike each other on the sole merit of perceived morality. Politicians utilize it to get votes. They don’t give a flying crap about anyone other than themselves and for sating their hunger for power. So, they latch on to terms like “woke” in order to further the divisions in order to get themselves reelected.

But, hey, it’s the sad reality we live in right now.

And so I’ll answer the question: I don’t consider my books to fall under the stereotypical umbrella of that term. My guess is that some people will consider me woke and some will consider me anti-woke. 

So do you hang out with the LGBTQ+ community these days?

Honestly, I don’t hang out with anybody these days, regardless of their community. LOL!

Seriously, though, I honestly feel more comfortable hanging out with members of the LGBTQ+ community than with certain other communities. The LGBTQ+ community contains some of the most caring, compassionate, and honest people I know. Some other communities (who shall remain nameless) who claim to be caring, compassionate, and honest are often the most intolerant people I know. Not all, obviously. I don’t want to brush that stereotype on everyone.

But ask yourself this: Which groups tend to vilify anyone who isn’t exactly like them?

Are you gay or bi or something?

The question is as irrelevant as the answer. It has no bearing on anything that should make any difference to anyone but me.

Since you asked, though, I’m cis.

Again, though, it makes no difference what I am, what you are, or what the lady down the street is. We all are what we are. Straight, gay, queer, trans…who cares? The same goes with race, nationality, color, creed, and so on.

You do you, be yourself, and let others be themselves. Each person has the right to live their best life, not just those deemed “normal.”

A person is a person is a person…unless that person is a robot, of course…then they’re my favorite. hehe

So, wait, are you saying your books are making a positive political statement for the LGBTQ+ community?

My books always have the message of “Be whoever the hell you are, no matter what other people think!” hiding under the surface.

To me, people should be free to express themselves, be themselves, and live as their true life without fear of persecution. If that’s offensive to you, you’re probably not understanding the true nature of my books.

To make it clear: My co-authors and I are never intending to bash people who dress in drag, who are LGBTQ, or who are marginalized due to being considered “different.” In truth, if you read between the lines, we’re typically bashing the people who are intolerant, doing our best to show their ignorance.

To be further clear: We absolutely allow the intolerant ones to express themselves, but they’re not praised for their prejudices. And if they cross any lines, the other characters with surround the person being attacked.

In our view, nobody should be attacked for living their true life, assuming they’re not hurting anyone.

But don’t you poke fun at gay people and those who dress in drag?

I poke fun at everyone.

  • Nobody writes to me to point out how I poke fun at Ensign Jezden about his ignorance regarding his intolerance.
  • Nobody writes to me to point out how I poke fun at Merlin for the way he talks down to those who aren’t as intelligent as he is.
  • Nobody writes to me to point out how I poke fun of Zeus’ struggle with impotence.
  • Nobody writes to me to point out how I poke fun at how Veli wants to hold dominion over everyone and everything.
  • Nobody writes to me to point out how I poke fun at Teggins for the level of greed he has, to the point where he will literally order the death of someone who has taken something from him.
  • …and hundreds more.

Does that mean all those things are acceptable?

But, again, if you read more deeply into my stories, you’ll see that those who are intolerant, those who speak down to others, those who seek to diminish or destroy others in my stories…well, they all get their comeuppance at some point!

Hopefully, you’ll also notice those who are merely different than others also find their exoneration and the support of their peers.

What about trans people? What’s your stance on that?

My daughter is trans, so I’m obviously highly sensitive about the topic.

I’ve seen firsthand what she’s gone through. If anyone thinks a person would “choose” to live that way, they have sorely flawed thinking. It’s not an easy life, but even with the ridicule, the prejudice, the threat of violence, the difficulty in getting healthcare, and so on that she faces on a daily basis, she’s happy with who she is for once in her life.

As a parent, I’m thrilled she’s finally happy with who she is. Why would any parent who loves their child want to try and destroy that, or allow anyone else to do so?

So you’re saying you’ve always been 100% accepting of all this stuff?

I wish I could claim that to be the case.

There was a time where I was intolerant. Not actively intolerant, but I certainly shied away.

I was raised in an era where “different” was frowned upon. It was part of our identity to be intolerant of anything that was different. I’m not proud of my past intolerances, but it’s my reality and I’m not going to pretend it wasn’t once that way. On the plus side, I am happy to be continually growing out of them.

Part of my allowing the characters in my book who harbor prejudices is because they’re a reflection of who I once was. Watching them grow is a reminder how I did as well, and continue to do so.

But some of your characters are clearly intolerant, right?

Many of my stories (co-authored or not), will contain people who are prejudiced or just downright ignorant. That’s the reality of the world, regardless of the era you’re living in. To avoid people like that is to hide the plight of those who have to deal with them. But I will always make sure those characters who are intolerant have a chance to grow into acceptance, and that the other characters–those who are of the accepting sort–will work to educate them along that path throughout the stories.

Some may never change, or may barely change, which is also reality. Sorry. That’s life and we (unfortunately) have to deal with it.

~~~ Wrap Up ~~~

So there it is, my answer to the question I get more than most on the LGBTQ+ characters in my books.

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