Rolling Stone magazine

Has anyone seen Rolling Stone magazine this month?  They interviewed me a couple of weeks ago.  I told them in no uncertain terms that I didn’t write porn, that (from what I could tell from my fan mail) more than half of my readers were gay men, that I didn’t write for straight women only and wouldn’t know how, that there were gay men and women of all sexualities in m/m romance, and that of the four authors of Running Press’ m/m romance line, I was the only straight woman.  They seemed interested and surprised about this last fact, so I thought for sure that bit of information might make it into the article.  I asked them to assure me that they would not put the article out under a title that suggested m/m romance was gay porn for straight women, and they said that no, of course they wouldn’t.

I haven’t seen the resulting article, so I can’t tell whether any of that got through or not, or whether I might as well have saved my breath.  Despite asking if I could see the article before it went out, that never happened.  I can’t subscribe to the online magazine in order to read the article because it insists I need an American address and post code.  But the title of the article appears to be “Man-on-man porn for straight women” so I don’t hold out a lot of hope.  Is it as bad as it sounds?

I suppose it was naive of me to think that I might actually be listened to and believed.  After all, what do I know about m/m romance, right?  But it makes me angry.  And it makes me angry because at the same time that this is going on, I’m getting emails from men saying “I just found your book.  I’m so delighted to know there is romance out there for people like me.”  “I’ve wanted to read this kind of book for years.  Now I’m going to go back and finish my own.”  And I hug that kind of feedback to myself, because that’s what I want my writing to do.  I want it to tell the world that gay men want and deserve love, that the love between two men is as holy as any other love.  That gay men can be heroes too, and above all that there can and should be a happy ending for you, even if you’re gay.

Right at the moment, that’s clearly a message that’s every bit as needed as it ever was.  I can’t contribute a video to the “It Gets Better” collection but I can write stories that teach people to believe that a happy ending is possible – that despair isn’t the only option, that God loves them, even if some of his followers claim otherwise. And I’m sorry, but no matter how many times we go through this argument, I cannot believe – in a world that so often tells people there’s something wrong about being gay – that it can be wrong of me to write stories that say no, the world is wrong, gay love is every bit as powerful, as romantic, as wonderful, as human and as divine as straight love and it’s worth celebrating.

The absolute last thing I want happening is for gay men to read these articles and think that my books weren’t written for them.  They were.  They were written for anyone, everyone, who thinks that a story about two guys falling in love with each other sounds like a good thing.

And yes, that does mean that they are also written for straight women.  I happen to know from my own personal experience that slash and m/m romance can be a catalyst for straight women readers to think through their own prejudices and to go from being unsure about LGBT rights, or not to having thought about them, to being supporters of LGBT rights.  Perhaps it doesn’t work that way all the time, but it works that way enough of the time to be worth doing.

So, to me, there’s a good result of m/m romance no matter who writes it, no matter who reads it.  We have a genre here that is being written and read with enjoyment by gay men, straight women, bisexual men, bisexual women, lesbians, genderqueer people, transgender people, maybe even some straight men too, who knows, and I’m sick of people trying to force us all back into our pigeonholes, and disappearing the LGBTQ people in the genre in the process.

And to that end I’m angry that yet again the mainstream media appears to have chosen to ask me for my opinion only to ignore it.  Why bother?  Why bother asking me if you’re not going to listen?  Equally, why do I bother agreeing to talk to them if they’re not going to listen?  I should learn better.

But maybe I’m getting all irate for nothing, and the actual article is better than the title would have me believe.  Does anyone know?

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JoAnne Soper-Cook
13 years ago

I haven’t seen the issue, but we do get them at the library so I’ll keep an eye open and if it shows up I’ll take a look.

I agree 110% with everything you said. Absolutely and completely.

Sal Davis
Sal Davis
13 years ago

I have a friend who DJs for a Dallas radio station. I’ll ask if they have a subscription.

That title is just awful.

Monica Krasnorada
13 years ago

I loved this. Thank you for posting.

13 years ago

I do really hate the attitude of any book being for certain people and not others. Books are for whoevere wants to read them.
I’m gay and I really appreciate books written that celebrate gay love.
And whether a book is written by a man or a woman, a good book is a good book. I’ve read lots of gay male fiction written by women, and a lot of them have been very good. No one should be told what kind of stories they can read or write!
Sorry that Rolling Stone did you wrong Alex. Hopefully some people will read that article and be interested enough to read the books or read up on you and other m/m authors and learn the truth for themselves.

Lori Hawkins
13 years ago

“I want it to tell the world that gay men want and deserve love, that the love between two men is as holy as any other love. That gay men can be heroes too, and above all that there can and should be a happy ending for you, even if you’re gay.”

This is why I write. As an an ethnic minority growing up in the ’60s and ’70s I was starved for media examples of “my story”, an affirmation that I exist, that my local culture accepts me as part of them. The LGBT community deserves no less.

Belinda McBride
13 years ago

This issue of Rolling Stone is called “the Hot List” and everything has the word “Hot” in the title.

Alex, the title of the article is:

Hot Broken Paperbacks
M/M Romances

Around 2007, amateur online scribbler and UK housewife Alex Beecroft discovered a burgeoning small-press genre called “M/M Romance” – books in which men fall in love, get it on and get it on some more in ass…orted historical settings. Today, Beecroft (alongside writers Erastes, Laura Baumbach and Donald Hardy) is one of M/M’s premier authors, and women just like her abound in her audience. Says Beecroft, “There are straight women who just don’t connect with society’s construction of what it means to be a woman.”


[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Sloan Parker, Serena Yates. Serena Yates said: Just read a great blog from @Alex_Beecroft, about some of the mainstream media's attitude to m/m romance: […]

DH Starr
13 years ago

I am perplexed by this issue. I mean, I’m happy that m/m romance is a topic of discussion, and the genre itself isn’t under fire…score one for use gay men…well, much more than score 1, but the whole issue of who writes the stuff makes no sense to me. I mean lets think about this, if an author can get inside the heads of their characters and portray their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors believably, who cares what the gender of the author is? My favorite m/m authors to date are women and when I writ to them one of the comments, and I stress ONE of them, if how impressed I am with the accuracy of their descriptions. I also comment on the emotions, the plot, how I couldn’t put the book down, etc.

Let’s imagine for a second I had the first clue of what two women would do to one another and how their bodies would respond, am I banned from writing f/f romance because I’m a gay man? Hell no!!! I won’t write it not because I’m opposed to it, I real all forms of romance, but because I know I wouldn’t be able to convince a discerning reader when writing a love scene.

That should be the basis for judgment in my opinion. Is the sex and love believable? If it is, keep writing.

Thanks for this article Alex!!!


Kathy K
13 years ago

Alex, wow! What a thought-provoking–and otherwise provoking as well–blog. And the comments are wonderful as well.

I read romance–any kind of romance and yes, M/M is a fairly big part of it. I also review books that I love. Personally I hate it when distinctions are made at all whether it be in gender, sexuality, nationality, beliefs, whatever. We’re all indiviuals and it’s important that respect is part of the way that everyone is treated. To pick out one element and run with it…. Well, it may widen the audience but I think it also does a disservice.
It’s like romances–of any kind–and how difficult it is to admit, proudly I might add, that I read romance; at least 75% of what I read falls under this classification. And yet people–even family members–get this look on their faces as though I’ve done something entirely gauche such as spit up or something. I want to tell them, no demand, that they have no right to judge just because of their ingnorant perceptions of the genre.

And oh my… I think I found another hot-button topic. *whew*

Thank you for letting me blather on. I’ll go quietly… now.

13 years ago

This was great. Good for you, Alex, in being determined to get your point across. 😀

Alex Beecroft
13 years ago

Thanks, Mitch! It was an honour to be in ‘Out’ but it was a bit of a scary experience being interviewed by a top NY reporter. Way out of my league!

Alex Beecroft
13 years ago

*g* The tea rooms were one of the best bits. If you ever get the chance to visit Peacock’s Tea Rooms in Ely, do! They do amazing food, and just about every variety of tea under the sun 🙂

Mitch Leigh
13 years ago

I’ll have to check with you on all the best secrets. We were just in London last year, but only made it to Bath, with I loved!

Alex Beecroft
13 years ago

You’ll have to tell me about Bath, though, because I’ve never managed to get there. Often wanted to, but somehow it’s never happened.

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