15Dec/120

The Face of Gay 22 (J.P. Barnaby)

RECOVERED

If all goes well, the next Face of Gay post on December 29th will be the last one for 2012 and I have something rather fun, festive and musically inclined planned for it. You see, we’ve attracted some readers who don’t always comment, but who pour over what you write each week. Some of them are names you might recognize and it’s become my mission to see if I can get them involved, one at a time.

All in all, this has truly been a year of meeting people both online and in person. One who I met for the first time many months ago is a fellow author, the indomitable J.P. Barnaby. She’s not only a breath of fresh air, but she makes me laugh and that’s something I appreciate a great deal. And like so many authors in this genre, she either reached out, caressed and touched lives around her or they’ve reached out and goosed her. We authors like that sort of thing…if the person doing it is appropriately gorgeous and well-endowed. But it’s not all about groping. It should be, but it’s not. Sometimes those whose lives we touch and are touched by have very dark beginnings. Welcome to J.P. Barnaby’s Face of Gay.

The Face of Gay 22 (J.P. Barnaby)

As an author, I have been approached many times by friends and acquaintances who have “a great idea for a book.” Usually, they are the run of the mill biographies—some with a more interesting life history than others, but none that would make a compelling romance novel. One, however, came to me and told me that I’d already written his story. He was my Little Boy Lost.

The story he told me broke my heart.

J and I started talking on Twitter because of a common love affair with a gay porn star. We’d talked in the chat room where said porn star was taking off his clothes and masturbating for the world and found our friendship easy and fun. I mean, why wouldn’t it be fun when you bond over a naked man? To support me as an author, J decided to read the Little Boy Lost series. As he read each successive book, I got private messages from him comparing his story to Brian and Jamie’s story. The parallels were strange and frightening.

His story started with the realization that he was gay while sharing kisses with his childhood best friend in a tree house in his back yard in a small town in Texas. In love for the very first time in his life, he hid the feelings away from everyone. But, as secrets tend to do, it got out. The preacher in his small town told him that his epileptic mother had had seizures as retribution because he had touched another boy’s penis. As a young teenager, with no LGBT resources, he believed the old preacher and renounced his attraction to other boys. Guilt and fear were pervasive in his life.

Around the same time, the other boy’s parents found out about their relationship and sent both teenagers to a “pray the gay away” camp. Frightened of his attraction to boys and unwilling to be parted from his friend, he went. J spent the next six weeks being told by camp counselors that he was wrong and broken. They preached everything from conversion to abstinence. One speaker even told them not to think of anything when they masturbated because even thinking of a woman was coveting her and against God’s law. In other words, nothing he did was going to be right.

At the end of his forced vacation, the attraction to other boys hadn’t gone away. They hadn’t “fixed” him. Rather than letting that “failure” dictate his life, he embraced his sexuality and became the gay man he’d been born. He still attends church regularly, but I think he’s found one that celebrates his life rather than damns it.

I was fortunate enough to meet J in May at a gay porn event here in Chicago. Now in his late 30s, he’s an out and proud gay man and an advocate for our community. He no longer lets fear of being gay rule his life, but embraces it and meets each day head on. I have to admit that I walked right up to him and hugged him tight. Even though he’d grown past the horrors of his teenage years, I wanted to let him know that someone out there loved him for exactly who he was—no more, no less. That’s the message I want every boy who reads my words and work to come away with. You are loved and even if your birth family doesn’t accept you, there is another family out there, who loves you for exactly who you are. Don’t ever give up because we are all around you, please just find us.

Women in our genre are often accused of not being able to write the gay experience authentically because we aren’t gay men. In this case, I have to say that I’m both thrilled and sorry that I got it so right. Brian and Jamie from the Little Boy Lost series went through Hell and back fighting for the right to be who they are, just as J and other boys have to do in life.

It shouldn’t have to be that hard.

If you’d be so kind, please let J.P. a little love in a comment below. Also, I’m hoping to see how far this series goes into 2013. If you have a story of your own or about somebody you know, please let me know and let’s get it set up for next year!

The Previous 5 entries in the Face of Gay Series:

The Face of Gay 17 (Rick Reed)
The Face of Gay 18 (Julie L. Hayes)
The Face of Gay 19 (Angel Martinez)
The Face of Gay 20 (Paul Bright)
The Face of Gay 21 (Thom)
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Original Responses

Katherine T. says:
December 15, 2012 at 12:15 pm
J.P.-
Thank you for sharing your story. I, too, support those in the GLBT community for the very same reason — everyone should be loved for who they are and have the same rights, regardless of who they love.
I wish more people would come to that realization. The world would be a kinder place for all if they did.

Katy

Reply
J. P. Barnaby says:
December 15, 2012 at 4:24 pm
Katy –

I agree, and we need more love in the world.

xo

Reply
Patricia Logan says:
December 15, 2012 at 4:27 pm
It’s interesting to me that gay men who read my books write to me and say, “you got it so right, are you sure you’re not a gay man?” On the other hand, the greatest critics I get are straight women who review the books and tell me… “that doesn’t really happen to gay men.” Yeah? I have too many gay friends that have shown me the very emotions that I put into the books. Where do people think these stories come from? Are they simply snatched out of the air or do they have some basis in truth and real life?

Good for you J.P. that you were able to touch this man’s life through your books. For evey fan that comes forward, there are many more who are also touched but don’t reach out to you. That’s a great great feeling. Good job.

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J. P. Barnaby says:
December 16, 2012 at 9:26 am
I’m happy that they find it when they need it. xo

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Patricia Logan says:
December 15, 2012 at 4:27 pm
Kage, you need to compile these FOG into a book. I’m serious. All of these stories need to be told

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Kage says:
December 15, 2012 at 5:13 pm
Let’s see what the New Year brings. I think I may go to every other week next year depending on reader interest and the number of submissions.

Reply

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Lloyd Songal says:
December 15, 2012 at 6:16 pm
I love the fact that LGBT people are telling people about their comming out stories. Thank you for shareing and helplng us to be encouraged to be a small part in telling our own comming out stories.

Reply
J. P. Barnaby says:
December 16, 2012 at 9:27 am
My own coming out (I’m bi) wasn’t nearly as traumatizing. My mom said it was a phase – 20 years later, I’m wondering how long phases really last. 🙂

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Penumbra says:
December 16, 2012 at 4:16 pm
Parents say they love their kids, and some say they do so unconditionally. But when a situation happens that tests that ‘unconditional love’ that love is really only “I’ll love you as long as you are the person I expect you to be, in the mold I make you into.” Then you also have clergymen with twisted ideas of God’s punishment because people are gay and the “pray away the gay” camps you mention. It tears my heart out that people aren’t loved and accepted for who they are and I try not to think about it too much because it always makes me cry.

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Lloyd Songal says:
December 22, 2012 at 3:23 am
Another comment I would like to make after just picking up my iPad, I usually use my iPhone, and reading J. P. Barnaby’s reply is that it seems to me that women have the ability to marry, raise a family then leave their mate and be happy with a woman for however long and then get back together with another male if they should so desire. Women seem to be able to do this with much more ease and attached stigma than men. Maybe just because it is a woman’s prerogative to change her mind; and people are just more accepting of this behavior because women contribute more to society, if only by the way of raising a family and then possibly raising another.

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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 recently re-published novella Falling Awake, and the upcoming Falling Awake II: Revenant.

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