17Nov/120

The Face of Gay 18 (Julie L. Hayes)

RECOVERED

One of the things I’d hoped to accomplish with this blog series is establishing some common ground between the GLBT community and everyone else. It’s that whole “If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? Wrong us, shall we not tell your friends and family just how badly you dress without our help?” I’m paraphrasing that last bit. The rest was made famous in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. In any case, there have been several contributors who aren’t gay, but whose lives have been touched either by someone in the LGBT community or through their interaction with the community.

I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the stories coming in where someone who’s straight and a supporter of the community has had backs turned on them by family and friends because of it. It boggles me. Okay, I’ll be honest…it also annoys me. I’m sure it’s more annoying for them. And with that, welcome to author Julie L. Hayes’s Face of Gay.

The Face of Gay 18 (Julie L. Hayes)

My name is Julie Hayes and I am an author.

This might sound odd to younger people, but I grew up in a time when (at least in my life) homosexuals were invisible, and being gay was a non-issue. Back then, race was still an issue, although segregation was ended, at least legally, you could still see it in people’s attitudes. Mixed race couples were still the exception, not the rule, and were likely to receive stares. As a white girl, I couldn’t even think about liking someone who wasn’t white; it just wasn’t done. I can even remember my father forbidding the house to my aunt when she dared to date a black man.

The point is that prejudices live long and die hard. Some ugliness in human nature is just difficult to root out, because it doesn’t depend on logic for its continuation. It’s nourished by ignorance and prejudice, and an unwillingness to view all people as people, and not some strange specimens from another planet.

Being straight, I certainly never expected any sort of backlash from this anti-gay sentiment that fills certain people’s minds, like cotton in a pill bottle—fuzzying their thinking processes. But perhaps I should have, looking back.

I first began to write m/m stories with my fanfiction. I have my daughters to thank for introducing me to the world of m/m love, and yaoi. I was an innocent, they were my guides. And once having found that world, I knew I could never go back. I began with fanfiction in the Harry Potter world. Remus and Sirius were my favorite couples (and I still believe their love to be canon). I hadn’t considered writing anything original until a voice in my head began to speak. He said he was a gay werewolf and would I write his story? I tried not to listen (I was supposed to be writing something else at the time), but he was persistent, so to humor him, I wrote down some information for him. That became the first chapter of To the Max, which was then followed by the rest.

I had been published before, back in the 90’s. Back before the Internet, when subbing writing meant printing it out and actually mailing it in to magazines, hoping for a positive response, a far cry from the quick emails we can send nowadays. If you were lucky enough to be selected, your recompense most likely to consist of copies of the magazines you were published in. That was all well and good, but it’s difficult to make a career out of that. And it doesn’t get you any closer to the big publishers.

The advent of the Internet and e-publishing changed everything. Made it easier to submit and to be published. I tried for a long time to get To the Max published and never gave up, never wavering in my belief that it was worth publishing. So of course I was extremely delighted and excited when Dreamspinner accepted my book. At that time, I was working for my brother in his office. It’s a small office. He put himself through Sanford-Brown college to learn accounting to make a better life for his family, and started his own company. By the time he asked me to work for him, he had an office, and was doing payroll and accounting for small businesses, as well as doing income tax returns for the public.

I started out part time and became full time in 1997, as office manager. It was mostly just the two of us, except during tax season, when there would be a third (for a few years, it was his son, my nephew). Things were good. I could have probably made more money elsewhere, but I enjoyed working for my brother. We got along great, and went through a lot of hard times together (including the break-up of a marriage on both sides). He bragged to people about the good job I did, and I know the customers loved me just as I loved them. Well, most of them.

He seemed genuinely happy when I got published. Now, let me say this, my brother is a born again Christian. And I’m here to tell you, these people can be worse than reformed smokers. They become like fanatics. But blood is thicker than water, right? Wrong.

We’d had discussions, often, on various subjects, and agreed to disagree on major religious issues. (I suppose I didn’t help myself when he yelled at me over the phone for having gone to see Brokeback Mountain and I, being tired and not guarding my mouth, said the Bible was just a book). But I didn’t expect what happened.

The day I received my print copies of my book, I took one to work, just to show him. I was damn happy and very proud of myself. I held it out to him, eyes shining, grinning from ear to ear. I didn’t expect him to read it. Hell, he doesn’t read books of any kind; sometimes magazines, but that’s about it. And those are either chess related or hunting and fishing. So I wasn’t prepared for his reaction. He refused to touch it. It was as if I’d just offered him shit. Then he went on to say I couldn’t discuss my book with customers. What the fuck? Unless they asked first.

I was so angry that I saw red, but realizing it was a business situation, I decided not to make it personal by going off on him (I’m the older, btw, and have been known to have a short fuse in my youth). So for a week, I kept our relationship on a strictly business basis, with him and his third wife (who was “working” there by then). I only spoke when it was business related. And then he had the nerve to get mad at me about that!

Finally, things came to a head one day when he approached me at my desk. I knew it was going to be bad. I could feel. He couched it as laying me off because business was falling off (which was somewhat true, as thanks to his own actions we lost our biggest client). But I knew the truth. My book was published in March of 2010. This was the beginning of June. I knew he was letting me go because of my book and its pro-gay, m/m content. And he let something slip, that I think I wasn’t meant to hear—that he’d heard about another book I wrote, Revelations. And I think a lot of the reason for my being let go was because he realized the nature of that book.

It’s been a rough two years since he fired me. At my age, and in this economy, jobs are hard to find. Either I’m too old, I’m overqualified, or I made too much and they think I need that much again. I’ve finally started working at temp jobs, for little money, but these aren’t steady at all, and can’t be relied on. Would I do anything differently if I had to do it again? Hell no. I’m proud to be an m/m author, and I will continue to fight for marriage equality with everything I have. I haven’t spoken to my brother since that day. Or any of my family, for that matter. I guess I’ve always been the oddball in my family, the black sheep. Luckily four of my five kids love and support me (even if my sons won’t read what I write), and that’s good enough for me.

So I guess that prejudice against gay people can extend to their supporters as well. All prejudice is wrong, of course, but I don’t wish any of them ill because of it. I believe Karma takes care of that. Those who hate will discover that their hatred only hurts themselves.

Thanks for letting me tell my story, Kage.

Please consider leaving Julie a little love in the comment section below. And, as always, if you have something you’d like to share for this blog series, please speak up and let me know.

The Previous 5 entries in the Face of Gay Series:

The Face of Gay 13 (amy with a lower case /a/)
The Face of Gay 14 (David)
The Face of Gay 15 (Kharisma Rhayne)
The Face of Gay 16 (Adriana D’Apolito)
The Face of Gay 17 (Rick Reed)

Original Reponses
Dorien
says:
November 17, 2012 at 10:24 am
Ignorance is ignorance, stupidity is stupidity, and bigotry is bigotry. There is frustratingly little we can do to change those qualities in others. Thanks to Julie for sharing her story, and for being among the growing number of heterosexual men and women who, like us, take some comfort in the fact that the times, they are a’changing.

Reply
Julie Hayes says:
November 17, 2012 at 11:27 am
You are so right, Dorien, they have to want to change and since they think they are right, that’s not likely to happen. Thanks for stopping by!

Reply
Angel Martinez says:
November 17, 2012 at 10:45 am
I’m sorry, Julie, and hope that someday your brother understands how shabbily he treated you. Not just a stranger, but family. Shame on him.

Reply
Julie Hayes says:
November 17, 2012 at 11:28 am
Thanks, Angel. I sincerely doubt he will. He really thinks he’s always right, although he also thinks he listens to reason.

Reply
Bobbie B says:
November 17, 2012 at 10:53 am
First of all–HUGS!!!!
Second–I am soo very sorry you have had this happen to you. Family is family no matter what and one day, he will end up regretting his loss and stupidity.
Third–Are you on Facebook or Twitter? I would love to find you and connect.
HUGS again!!

Bobbie

Reply
Julie Hayes says:
November 17, 2012 at 11:30 am
*hugs back* Thanks, Bobbie. Honestly, I don’t think they miss me. Not even my mother. But what can you do? You can either cry about it and be bitter, or you can move on and lead your own life, and let your happiness speak for itself.

I am on both Facebook and Twitter. Julie Lynn Hayes. My blog is Full Moon Dreaming.

Thanks for stopping by!

Reply
Vastine Bondurant says:
November 17, 2012 at 10:59 am
Oh, Julie, I pray for your brother, for his ignorance. And I pray for you, for your strength to get past the firing.

I hate it happened to you, but you were strong and you know who you are.

So good to see you, my friend, as always. ((((Hugs))) and thank you for sharing your experience.

Reply
Julie Hayes says:
November 17, 2012 at 11:32 am
Vastine! *hugs tight* Always good to see you too, my friend.

You know what a wise man once said – What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Yes, it’s a Zorg quote, and yes it goes back to Gary Oldman, as always lol But it’s still true.

Also, everything happens for a reason. Even if we don’t know the reason at first. But I believe it’s true.

Thanks for stopping by, Vastine. I’ll talk to you when I get back from Columbia, have a great day!

Reply
Lloyd.songal says:
November 17, 2012 at 2:32 pm
I wanted to read your G teaser yesterday but been so busy. Went to Gilberto Gill concert last evening, came home and crashed. Packing to go to FL
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!!

Reply
Patricia Logan says:
November 17, 2012 at 3:38 pm
First Julie, let me say, the loss of family sucks! An ignorant born again brother, now that I can relate to and so can a lot of my friends. I’m sorry because I know that you were once close and no matter how he changed over the years, there will always be the memory of how he “used” to be.

Second, your post is very poiniant to me at this moment because I just lost my born again brother about three weeks ago. No, he didn’t die, he just decided to sever ties with me in the worst possible way. He denied me my fathers inheritance to me. My dad died about a year and a half ago and just prior to that, he had moved a large sum of money from a CD that he shared with my daughter to one with my brother as the cosigner because my daughter married a drug dealer yadda yadda. Understandable.

When the CD came of age last month I called him and asked him how he wanted to send me my half. He refused my calls for two weeks until I called his employer to hunt him down. Bottom line… he sent me a letter telling me that they (the Christians in the family) (hey, when did I stop being a Christian? Oh, yeah… when I decided to write M/M) weren’t going to give me my half because the money wasn’t meant for me (the name change on the CD). I had to go to a lawyer to get my own inheritance from my ONLY (now ex) sibling.

Is it worth losing your only sibling because they can’t wrap their small minds around your need or desire to write M/M? In my case, yes. I will not compromise my beliefs for anything. F**K Them! Who do they think they are, labeling me or you?

Sorry that this happened to you Julie. I do know how it feels. It came right up and slapped me in the face. Do what you gotta do. Don’t look back and write it in to a book… oh you already did… Son of a Preacher Man 🙂 Yeah I got it, more than you think 🙂

Reply
Kage says:
November 17, 2012 at 10:00 pm
I had no idea that’s what happened to you, Patti. I knew there was something about an inheritance problem, but I didn’t ask because 1) you were going through it at the time and 2) it was none of my business. I had no idea your brother was doing THAT.

Reply
Patricia Logan says:
November 18, 2012 at 1:36 am
Sad but true my love. I now have you as a brother if you want me

Reply
Julie Hayes says:
November 18, 2012 at 4:56 pm
Patricia, I’m so sorry, that totally sucks. Why do people think it’s okay to act that way to anyone, but especially to family? Where is this much vaunted Christian love? Not that I’m tarring all Christians, far from it, I’d never do that. That is the haters’ purview.

As much as my brother would hate Son of a Preach Man, he’ll hate Revelations far worse. Far far worse. I’d love to be the fly on that wall when people ask him, didn’t your sister write that? Would you believe he told his customers that I left to write a novel? He didn’t dare tell the truth, not even say he laid me off, because it would have made him look bad, and he wouldn’t want that, Mr. I’m So Perfect. Thanks for stopping by, Patricia, and for sharing your story.

Reply
Katherine T. says:
November 17, 2012 at 9:22 pm
Julie-
So sorry your own blood chose ignorance and hatred over love for his own family. Kudos to you for being strong and sticking to your beliefs that all humans are entitled to love who they choose and that love is the most important thing. You are a better person because of it. Maybe some day he will open his eyes and see what he has lost. Until then, be strong and know you are amongst those who value love above all else.
Thanks for sharing your story. It has helped us all realize we are all rwallt the same. People just wanting to love and be loved.

Reply
Julie Hayes says:
November 18, 2012 at 4:58 pm
Thanks, Katherine, you are so right. And those who feel otherwise, have a little stone where their heart should be, and they’re missing out on a great deal. Thanks for stopping by!

Reply
Lloyd.songal says:
November 18, 2012 at 11:01 am
Julie-
I Applaud you for trying to take on the the religious right and very sad to hear that it was your own brother, who you were so close to through thick and thin, that was the one who hurt probably more than anyone else by not being supportive to you.
I love you for sharing your experience with this indignation and righteous type of condemnation that most people who do not agree are surprised to find pop out of the supposed loving, forgiving so called Christian. One hopes for a more forgiving lot one that might expect to be more understanding, accepting and forgiving.

Reply
Julie Hayes says:
November 18, 2012 at 5:00 pm
Lloyd, that is what I don’t understand. They say they have love for everyone, and follow the precepts of love, but when it comes down to actually doing it, they fail, with a capital F.

Love does not judge, love gives and accepts people for who they are, not who they wish they were.

Thanks for stopping by, Lloyd!

Reply
Penumbra says:
December 16, 2012 at 5:13 pm
Homophobic brothers, yeah I can relate to that. Mine doesn’t keep it a secret that he is either. We’re not that close, but if he ever found out I read gay books or watched gay movies I think explosions would fill the air followed by a deathly chill.

________________________
Kristoffer Gair (who formerly wrote under the pseudonym Kage Alan) is the Detroit-based author of Honor Unbound, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Sexual Orientation, Andy Stevenson Vs. The Lord Of The Loins, Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell, several short stories featured in anthologies (to be combined in a forthcoming book), the novella Falling Awake (also to be re-published under his real name), and the upcoming Falling Awake II: Revenant.

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