I’m a multi-genre author who has written several gay (m/m) romances, and one lesbian story in a polyamory fantasy series. I never intended to — like many writers I followed the nagging muse. I never considered the idea would lead to more titles, or that I would need to speak on the subject, to stand on any type of soapbox. A writer’s opinion like anyone’s is his or her own business; I sometimes write contrary to my beliefs, sometimes in keeping. I usually adhere to the golden rule of never discuss sex, religion, or politics. There’s always the exception. When invited to write for the blog hop — like with that first story — I decided to let the words flow.
Do follow the rest of the authors on the hop by clicking the link.
The gay people I’ve known have been much like anyone — wanting a home, a partner with whom to share their life, to have love. I believe one is born gay, that it’s not something someone chooses. I’m not sure I adhere to the Kinsey Scale (developed by Alfred Kinsey in 1948) as a way to describe sexual orientation. Sexuality can be complex. I’m unsure any ‘scale’ can suffice. I’ve known gay men who have had good relationships with women but felt something emotionally was missing. I’ve known gay men who find the thought abhorrent. For some, sex with the opposite sex is as impossible as is (for some) sex with the same sex. Objections often seem to stem from personal dislike and/or religious doctrine. Both state and church have changed its opinions throughout history. Once, these institutions condoned slavery. Now they know better. History documents scripture as edited and censored, scribes ordered to excise whole (blacked-out) passages. Language no longer has the same meaning leaving such teachings open to mistaken interpretation.
”The church is always trying to get other people to reform; it might not be a bad idea to reform itself a little, by way of example. – Mark Twain
Regarding the current disagreement concerning the use of toilets for transgender people, I can see both sides. I understand women living with the fear of mixed gender toilets. I am not going to belittle the fears of any woman who may have been violated. I equally appreciate parents feeling uncomfortable. These concerns are genuine, but they are also lacking, not considering the subject on a broad enough basis.
“The grocery store is the great equalizer where mankind comes to grips with the facts of life like toilet tissue.”– Joseph Goldberg
I imagine many LGBT people live with the same fear of attack as that being discussed by heterosexuals, may be as much, if not more, at risk. The feared situation already exists…for everyone. Sexual predators are already out there. A sign on the door isn’t necessarily going to keep such a person out, particularly if washrooms are isolated. Abusers bear no external markings. They wear no ‘badge of office’. They don’t don a certain uniform. A person likely to attack a child or a woman could be a next door neighbour, be married with numerous offspring. Just like the majority of heterosexuals aren’t offenders, LGBT people are not predatory. Predators come in all forms, genders, orientations, races, religions, economic levels, etc. Evil doesn’t differentiate, only people do.
“It’s not hard to tell we was poor – when you saw the toilet paper dryin’ on the clothesline.” –George Lindsey
I’m speaking as someone who has a nephew with special needs. I don’t usually discuss my family, but my nephew was born with a brain tumour. He’s now an adult but will always need protecting. At all stages of his life, when his mother has been out minus an adult male companion she’s faced the unenviable decision of what to do if there is no available disabled toilet. Fortunately, there often is — these days more so than ever — but in some situations those cubicles are still separated: segregated within ‘male and female’ facilities. She has categorically not been allowed in most of the male toilets and when she has taken her son into the female toilets, even when he was younger and even though from his appearance it’s possible to deduce he has special needs, she’s faced aggressive abuse. And I do mean aggressive. I’m not arguing for or against. I’m specifying that the situation many fear has existed for years; many have simply been unaware of it.
“Today, the degradation of the inner life is symbolized by the fact that the only place sacred from interruption is the private toilet.” –Lewis Mumford
The only true solution would be individual cubicles. I don’t mean rooms containing banks of separate toilets, rather — as I recently experienced during a weekend away where I went to a spa — a bank of individual ‘rooms’ to be used by the abled and lesser-abled, by children and adults, by men and women, and all sexualities, where people could go in alone, or have a helper if necessary. These ‘rooms’ were not hidden away but situated where spa personnel could readily ascertain if they were being used inappropriately. Naturally, such a solution means money so it won’t happen any time soon, if at all.
“Like when I’m in the bathroom looking at my toilet paper, I’m like ‘Wow! That’s toilet paper?’ I don’t know if we appreciate how much we have.” — Peter Nivio Zarlenga
Some won’t like this idea either. People can be notoriously private about their toilet habits — a polite reserve I am sure must seem droll to many continental countries where I’ve seen an abundance of ‘squat’ toilets, restrooms that use different hygiene methods (with or without toilet paper), plumbing that cannot cope with any type of ‘wipe-clean’ material, where the cost varies. I was once handed a couple of sheets of paper by a woman in Yugoslavia for a few coins, the cost of which and meagre supply made me grateful I was only there to spend a proverbial penny. The French seldom have separate amenities. Open air public toilets usually designed only for men and definitely living up to the term ‘public’ is a fine and rather disgusting example of which I’ve seen in Bruges, but can be found in other parts of Europe. I heard even the UK city of Chester tested a form of these a couple of years ago. Attractive they were most certainly not.
“European toilet paper is made from the same material that Americans use for roofing, which is why Europeans tend to remain standing throughout soccer matches.” –Dave Barry
The subject of toilets can be comical, but safety is not a LGBT issue. Some will argue, but I can only speak from experience, and I see a sad fact in a sad world — personal safety is a problem we all share, equally.
Giveaway: Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of one of my LGBT related books. Winner’s choice.
25 May 2016: And my winner is Chris McHart as chosen by Random.org. I’ll be in touch.