Seven years ago I started writing gay-shaded fiction. My motives were several. I had been through hell when I realised I was gay, and I wanted to write about gay and bisexual characters in a way that celebrated their gayness, not denigrated it. I hoped that that would help young blokes who were struggling to accept their sexuality to be happier, and to believe that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being gay. To be honest, I also hoped to make some money. At the time my children were at pricey private schools and uni, and I wasn't earning much. Untold wealth hasn't happened, sadly! So far, I've made a princely $80, for my story Redhead.
I had lived a life quite outside the gay networks which exist. I knew no gay or bi men -- that I knew of; as with me, perhaps there were many that I didn't know of because they were closeted or "straight-acting". But the essence of a network is that it is known, if not necessarily obviously visible. What gay fiction I read didn't resonate with me. I travelled along, occasionally attracted to a man, always, so far as I could tell straight, never talking about what I thought I was or what I felt, and never acting on my attractions.
And then I started writing, and started posting my stories in online groups. And I started talking via email with other blokes out there, many of whom were bisexual, had been or were still married, who thought it quite ordinary that a man might be attracted to both genders even if he preferred one or the other. And I found that my own definitions shifted as I learned more. Remember, I'd been very ignorant. I'd had sex with a few men, fallen in love with one, and then met my wife and married her. But it became perfectly clear to me that I too was bisexual. Oh, I was for the most part emotionally and sexually attracted to men, but once I allowed myself to feel it, I was often attracted to women too. The labels and the boxes were too rigid and confining.
These days I have come to believe that whether you are gay or straight is absolutely unimportant. Of course, I'm not saying gay rights don't have to be fought for. Gays in many countries are still persecuted and murdered, and vile laws which discriminate still exist. And that should stop. But in most Western countries, gays if not yet equal, are certainly accepted in ways I never thought of 30 years ago. I'm not talking about the law and custom, though, I'm talking about my perceptions. I have gone through a transformation, where my intellectual acceptance of gayness has translated into a spiritual and emotional acceptance of my straight-shadedness, if I can call it that. A bizarre journey, but when you come to think about it, perfectly logical. Acceptance does that. It's liberating.
I feel tremendously free, free to think and feel what I want, untrammelled by convention or custom. I hope one day the whole world will regard it as irrelevant and insignificant as I now do, and accept that people will run the gamut from gay through all different bisexualities to straight and it won't matter to anybody. We shall overcome. And it will be wonderful.