I’ve read a lot of articles recently, as research for some of my books, and I want to cover the issue of ‘Straight to Gay’ or ‘Gay For You’ stories.
I tend to do a lot of these, for one reason – I find the issue of sexuality fascinating. There’s so much in the media about how a person can’t choose their sexuality. I firmly believe this is true. But I also think that unless someone experiences an attraction or feelings for the opposite sex, it’s automatically assumed by most people and their families, that they’re straight. This isn’t always true and this is the aspect that I choose to focus my stories on.
I’m not saying that any straight person can ‘bend’ or ‘become’ gay. But I, myself, grew up thinking I was straight, just because I was attracted to boys. But that’s not the case, either. It took me until I was around 16 to discover that I was actually asexual and the only way I knew that was – and don’t laugh – because of an article in the New Scientist magazine. It had a 2-page article about Asexuality, which I had never even heard of before, and it all clicked inside my head. Why I never wanted to date, why I could be attracted to boys, but never actually want to do anything about it. Although I’m attracted to boys, I have no interest in having a relationship or the physical aspects that come with a relationship. I don’t have anything against holding hands or cuddling, but anything more than that is something that I can understand other people wanting, but that I don’t want for myself. It’s not gross or disgusting; it’s just not something that I’m, personally, comfortable with.
I have also experienced straight boys having ‘gay’ experiences with each other, during my teen years. This is been a really big inspiration for some of my characters. In ‘The Trade’, you’ll read about straight guys having explored with each other, during their teens, without ever questioning what it meant. I often heard that my guy friends had shared a physical experience, once or more than once, with another guy, while identifying as straight and sometimes even while dating a girl. In some of my YA stories, you’ll find that the friendships that my boys share with each other, sometimes lead to more and sometimes it freaks them out, so they put distance between themselves and any possible ‘gay’ feelings they might be having for their friend. Because, let’s face it, kids get confused, when they experience something new and unfamiliar. They don’t want to be different to their friends.
I want my characters to be real – whether that means hiding from, rejecting or accepting how they feel. Whether it means falling for a friend, exploring from curiosity or having an accidental, drunken encounter with another guy, these things all happen in real life and I want to explore the implications of them.
In my stories, my characters don’t go from Straight to Gay; it’s not A-B, like flipping a switch. Not for my characters. If they’re going to go from a life of identifying as straight, to suddenly being in a relationship with another man, then it’s going to be with some confusion, struggles and a huge identity crisis. Some of them are questioning their sexuality, before they enter the relationship. Some ‘assume’ they are straight, just because they find girls attractive, until they meet a guy who changes all of that, by being everything they’ve been looking for. Sometimes, it’s more about the personality or one touch or moment where there’s a ‘spark’, that makes them feel the way no one else has ever made them feel.
It’s not impossible for guys to ‘fall in love’, in a sense, with their best friend and I explore this issue, and others, in my writing. I don’t want my characters to be this block of personality and character traits that I’ve hand picked for them. They lead me through the story, so if they’re going to feel something for another character, that I never planned, then I’m going to let them follow that instinct.
These are some of the articles I’ve been reading: