Clarification on policy about discussing M/M romance?


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Clarification on policy about discussing M/M romance?

Dec 15, 2018, 4:59 pm

Is there a difference in this group between: "M/M romance written by and for straight/cis women" and M/M romance written by straight/cis women for everyone? Is the author's motivation a judgement call based on what the book looks or feels like? Are M/M romances by straight/cis women allowed to be discussed if they "contain complex, well-written LGBT+ characters"?

I mean, I think I know what type of books you are talking about, I have read some of them; but since they are boring and annoying to me I try to avoid them these days. However, I do sometimes read and enjoy romances by straight/cis women that involve two men, so either those particular romances were not written exclusively FOR straight/cis women, or I am reading and enjoying stuff that I'm not supposed to by the author's intention. Of course it is hard to tell for sure what the author's intended audience is, unless she actually tells us somewhere.

Examples of some straight (I assume), female romance writers:

KJ Charles is, I assume, writing for everyone, because although her first few books are all M/M romance (well, fantasy/mystery romance), she writes blog posts about inclusivity and has recently written a genderqueer MC (An Unsuitable Heir), and a novella with a lesbian couple (The Price of Meat), and is planning at least two lesbian romance novels and another nonbinary MC (unreleased). Therefore, I do not feel bad for enjoying the majority of her books which have M/M romances in them, especially as several have trans side characters and people of color (in Regency/Victorian historical fiction!).

Heidi Cullinan is borderline, to me. I do enjoy a lot of her books but most of them are pretty conventional M/M romances. She identifies as a queer ally and makes efforts at inclusivity by writing some main characters with disabilities. I have not followed closely enough to know if she has written other gender combinations yet, although there is one drag queen MC (Tough Love) who identifies as male but is definitely gender-nonconforming.

JL Merrow: I enjoy some of her work, but I suspect (based on some complicated reasons, I might be in error here) that she is primarily writing for other straight women. If (hypothetically) I wanted to discuss JL Merrow here, I would try to make sure it was on topic for this group, for instance by discussing the way queer people are portrayed in the books, or why they might or might not be worth reading by queer people, rather than debating how sexy the characters are or whatever it is you are specifically trying to avoid here.

And this is not even getting into the number of excellent M/M romances written by lesbians....

Mar 6, 2019, 7:21 pm

Here are my opinions almost three months later.

The "M/M Romance... A cocky li'l group" is a better place for discussion of common themes, conflicts, and character types in M/M Romance. This group should be for discussions from queer reader perspectives without straight women claiming the genre as exclusively theirs. I think an example is that we should be able to discuss mpreg involving intersex and trans characters here, while realistic mpreg typically becomes an argument in M/M Romance groups.

"And this is not even getting into the number of excellent M/M romances written by lesbians...."

Who are queer or--for those uncomfortable with the term--a part of "LGBT".

Mar 4, 2021, 2:49 pm

A Message From Your Group AdminAfter taking on group administration for Queery, I have revised my opinion and the group description. The following note has been removed.

There are plenty of places to discuss M/M romance written by and for straight/cis women. This isn't one of them. Same goes for 'teachable moment' YA novels. When posting, please focus on books by and for the LGBT+ community.

Why? Other than how the requirement was confusing (see >1 amaranthe: again), it's no longer true. Discussion about M/M Romance and LGBT+ YA books seems to be infrequent on LibraryThing. M/M Romance... A cocky li'l group has seen little more activity during its existence than Queery has. That subgenre of Romance increasingly overlaps with other genres, and as it does, the audience and identities of authors within it have expanded. A "teachable moment" also no longer has the meaning of cishet authors trying to teach cishet readers what to think or how to act toward queer (mostly, it was gay) people.

I would prefer if instead of keeping to ourselves, unsure of what's allowed, we talked about the changes, accomplishments, and fun stuff in publishing. As long as (1) topics are about main characters or people who seem to be queer in books and (2) conversations aren't catering to heteronormative perspectives at the expense of everything else, I think we're good here.