Welcome to the blog of Shannon West and Hanna Hart, two authors of male/male romance and erotica. We love to talk about our books, and important issues to gay men!
Hi, I'm Shannon, and today's issue has to do with those men who keep it on the downlow. These are men who for whatever reason are leading two separate lives. In one life, they are straight men--or allow others to think of them as such) In their other life, they are who they were born to be. Why do they do it? Often it's because of their jobs. Those with careers like the Armed Forces, the Police Department, Fire Department etc. think they can't reveal who they really are. Their colleagues wouldn't accept or understand them. In the Bible Belt South, it mostly doesn't matter what kind of job a gay man holds down--he wouldn't be accepted no matter what he does.
Others say they keep things secret because their families wouldn't understand. Sometimes this extends to a wife. The general angst surrounding that scenario is that it is unfair to the wife they sneak around on, and that they never should have married a woman in the first place since they knew they were gay. Recently, in one of my books, Georgia Heat, a married gay policeman renews his acquaintance with a boy with whom he's had a passionate one night stand. After a great deal of soul searching, he decides to ask his wife for a divorce and be true to himself for once in his life. I received a negative review from a reader, saying she never would have picked the book up had she known that one of the main characters was a "low life scumbag who cheated on his wife." This seemed to be her only issue with the book.
Obviously, the main character had a hard time making this decision and admitted he never should have married a woman in the first place. But like so many others, including those in my family, he felt pushed into marrying a woman. It was only after the attempt at "normalcy" didn't work that he realized he'd trapped both of them in a loveless marriage. What should he then do? Stay and be miserable, or leave and allow them both a chance at happiness? There are no easy answers, and what better place to explore the issues than in a romance novel, where no human beings are actually hurt? If nothing else, it might evoke a discussion, and get the issue out in the open.
So where do you stand on the issue? Should a gay man involved in a heterosexual marriage "man up" and stay true to his commitment? Or should he bail and try to find happiness? Is it an either/or situation? We'd love to know what you think! Leave us a comment, or tell us your story.