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'09 Authors Insider Tips

Everything About Epublishing
by Angela James
Digital Publishing & Print
Common Myths of Epublishing
Ebook Formats and Devices


FictionCraft
by Louisa Burton
Compelling Characters
Point of View, Part I
Point of View, Part II
Learning to Love Conflict
Story Structure
Keep ‘em Guessing
Keep it Simple
Keep Your Writing Real
The Importance of Pacing


Literary Streetwalker
by M. Christian
New World of Publishing
To Blog Or Not To Blog
Meeting & Making Friends
Thinking Beyond Sex
Selling Books
Walking the Line
e-book, e-publisher, e-fun
Still More E-book Fun


Shameless Self-Promotion
by Donna George Storey
Our Journey Begins
Pitches and Bios
Websites, Blogs & Readers
Publicists, Press Kits and...
Viva the Internet
Adventures in Cyberspace
Promoting In the Flesh
Make Your Own Movie
Bigger is Better
Looking Back, Planning Ahead


Two Girls Kissing
by Amie M. Evans
Questions to Ask Yourself...
Tough All Over


The Write Stuff
by Ashley Lister
Ideas
Practice Makes Prefect
5 Books for Fiction Authors
Poetry In Motions
Six Serving Men
Ashley Lister is Anal
Stealing Ideas
Celebrating Poetry


2009 Smutters Lounge

Ashley Lister Submits
by Ashley Lister
Myths
Graduation


Cooking Up A Storey
by Donna George Storey
A Year of Living Shamelessly
Adultery, Exhibitionism ...
John Updike Made Me Do It ...
Story Soup: Forbidden ...
Lessons from Amazon
Naked Lunches ...
Erotic Alchemy
Secrets of Seduction
Are You a “Real” Writer?
Don’t Fondle My Sentence


Cracking Foxy
with Robert Buckley
The Passionate Taphophile
Havens on Earth
A Knight Without Armor
Jail-Baiting
Magic Carpet Rides
Getting Hammered
Keep It Quiet
Hang Around for a Spell


Get All Worked Up
with J.T. Benjamin
Worked Up About Why
Worked Up About Why, Part II
All Worked Up About Porn
The Catholic Church
Purity Movement
The National Crisis
The Future
About Homosexuality
Public Indiscretions


Pondering Porn
with Ann Regentin
Premature Ejaculation
Auctioning Off What?


Sex Is All Metaphors
by Jean Roberta
Who's Who Around the Table
Retro-Shame
Ritual Sex
Mixed Legacy
The Spectrum of Consent
Drawing the Line
Marriage without the Hype
The Distracting Smirk
Innocent Guns
Gardens of Earthly Delights


Provocative Interviews

Between the Lines
with Ashley Lister
Anneke Jacob
D L King
Kristina Lloyd
Lisabet Sarai
Mitzi Szereto
Portia Da Costa
Shanna Germain
Sommer Marsden
Susan DiPlacido


Guest Appearances

Marketing a Self-Published Novel
by Jeanne Ainslie

All Worked Up About Homosexuality

by J.T. Benjamin

 

J.T. Benjamin

Having written as often as I do about homosexuals and, specifically, my support for gay marriage, I’ve received several emails speculating (sometimes nastily) that I myself am homosexual. One correspondent in particular called me a “faggot lover” which I can only assume was meant to be an insult, as the correspondent also was looking forward to my slow, painful death from AIDS.\

For the record, I’m not homosexual, although I did spend one afternoon at the Focus On The Family Website reviewing a series of questions posted that addressed the possibility that one’s child might be gay. I answered the questions honestly. Yes, when I was a kid, I did get beat up a lot by other boys, yes I did hang out a lot with the girls, (because they didn’t beat me up), yes I did lack athletic ability, that sort of thing, and according to FOTF, it was clear that I was and still am a raging queer. The only problem with that analysis was and is the fact that I lust after women. A lot. I mean, I want to put women on pedestals only because that makes it easier for me to look up their dresses.

Still, despite my heterosexual tendencies, I’ve become an advocate for sexual equality, and I’m okay with that.

Why do I bring this up?

The other day, I was going through some of my old columns and old news items, some of which go back at least twenty years, and I’ve been struck by a shift in popular perception about homosexuality.

In the first place, when I was young, I confess I wasn’t even sure what being “gay” meant. Billy Crystal was gay on the TV sitcom “Soap,” which meant that he liked dressing up as a woman, and John Ritter’s character on “Three’s Company” pretended to be gay so he could share an apartment with two women. Having no idea what being “gay” meant, I was all for signing up for that gig if it meant having two hot chicks as roommates.

When I was seven or eight, I do remember having a friend named Pete who lived in a big house and in that house, his Great-Aunt Winnie shared a room with her “just-a-friend” Sylvia, with whom she’d been roommates for more than fifty years. Pete insisted that there was nothing unusual or untoward about Winnie and Sylvia’s relationship; they were just friends who happened to share a room…and a bed. At that age, I thought Pete was unusually defensive about his great-aunt and her “just-a-friend” Sylvia, (who were both sweet ladies). I didn’t see anything to be defensive about. It was, after all, a large bed. From a practical standpoint, it was perfectly natural that the bed be shared. I also thought nothing of the fact that Winnie and Sylvia kissed and held hands a lot. They just seemed like friendly people. Especially toward each other.

The bottom line is that, as far as I knew when I was young, being gay meant being something to laugh at on tacky 1970s sitcoms. I couldn’t have told you anything other than that. I didn’t know any people who identified themselves as being gay, and I certainly couldn’t have told you anything about gay people other than that they were…different. The stuff of bad jokes on TV.

Not like the rest of us.

Then came the Eighties. And the explosion of the AIDS virus. At that point, the common belief was that if a homosexual sneezed on you, your sexual organs would fall off. If you were lucky. We were treated to foam-at-the-mouth diatribes from the likes of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson that AIDS was a punishment from God for homosexuals’ degenerate lifestyle. The fact that non-homosexuals like Ryan White and millions of Africans also died from AIDS was just an example of how much of an abomination homosexuality really was.

Things got really ugly there, for a while. By the time George W. Bush took the Presidency in 2000, there were two armies at war. On the one hand, the Powers That Be, led by the Republican Party and the fundamentalist Christians I’ve dubbed “The Holy Terrors,” were doing everything they could to eliminate homosexuality from American life, complaining about everything from the Teletubby who carried a handbag (and who therefore MUST have been gay), to the notion that homosexuals are all secretly pedophiles who are bent on destroying the American Way of Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of heterosexual sex, so long as it’s between people united in the holy bond of matrimony. On the other side of the battlefront stood the forces of marriage equality, the people who pushed the “Gay Agenda,” the people who demanded the same rights heterosexual couples enjoy, such as the right to make medical decisions, the right to adopt children, the right to share property, and every other right that so-called “Normal People” enjoy.

And what’s the status of this “War Of Sexual Preference?” It’s hard to say. The California Supreme Court gave homosexuals the right to marry, only to have that right taken away at the ballot box last November. The war is ongoing. The state of Maine similarly gave homosexuals the right to marriage equality, and now there’s a ballot initiative to take that right away, as well.

Then, there’s the state of Iowa. Last year, the Iowa Supreme Court legalized gay marriage to great fanfare and tremendous uproar. For a while there, one expected to see the Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse bearing down upon a cornfield outside Des Moines. However, last month the Des Moines Register released the results of a poll which showed that 92% of Iowa residents admit that the legalization of gay marriage has had no impact on their own lives.

Of course, it’s not as if homosexuality has been completely accepted in modern American society. As I said before, homophobes in both California and Maine have decided to resist marriage equality kicking and screaming.

Then there’s Michael Schwartz, chief of staff for Republican Senator Tom Coburn. At last month’s Values Voters’ Summit, Mr. Schwartz recounted to an audience a conversation he’d had with a friend, Jim Johnson, who said that “All pornography is homosexual pornography, because all pornography turns your sexual drive inwards.”

Hey! Considering how much porn I’ve watched…uh, that is…STUDIED…STUDIED for research purposes…maybe I AM gay, after all!

And yet, last year Jared Polis, the first openly gay first-time Congressional candidate, was elected from Colorado’s Second District. Barney Frank, also openly gay, is one of the House Of Representatives’ most powerful members. (Congressman Frank came out after he’d been elected). And if that weren’t enough to suggest that homosexuality has entered the mainstream, Ellen DeGeneris is a judge on “American Idol” and Neil Patrick Harris has hosted both the Tony Awards and the Emmys.

I bring all this up because of something that happened to me last month. I found myself in contact with someone I haven’t heard from in twenty-five years. (Facebook is a wonderful thing). I’ve known the guy since we were both ten years old, and one of the first things he told me when we were catching up is that he’s gay. I hadn’t asked about his sexual orientation, but I didn’t object when he volunteered the information.

Two funny things about my old friend’s revelation. First, he wasn’t the kid in high school who spoke and behaved in what the rest of us perceived as an “effeminate” manner. He didn’t spend his time in the Drama Club or Home Economics class and he didn’t play the clarinet. He was in the jock clique; a three-sport letterman who bragged about nailing the Homecoming Queen. In short, when we’d ignorantly speculated in high school about who might be gay, he was waaaaay on the end of the “no way in hell” side of the line.

Secondly, my high school friend describes his life as sounding a lot like mine. He’s got a spouse who sometimes makes him pull his hair out, in-laws who don’t understand him, two kids, a mortgage, no job, blood pressure problems, and a life situation that sounds more or less normal.

In short, based only on my personal experience, it appears that gay people are just like the rest of us.

Who knew?

J.T. Benjamin
October 2009


If you have comments or questions about this column, please drop by J.T. Benjamin's blog or send an email to J.T. Benjamin

Get All Worked Up with J.T. Benjamin in ERWA 2009 Archive.

______
"All Worked Up" © 2009 J.T. Benjamin. All rights reserved.

About the Author:  J.T.Benjamin says, "I'm a generalist. I write about what interests me, which is just about everything." His resume reflects the diversity of his interests. He's been a disk jockey, insurance salesman, private investigator, journalist, college professor, child advocate, political activist, truckdriver, thief,...doctor, lawyer, Indian Chief. He's currently trying to start a hippie commune in the Denver/Boulder area.
Email:  J.T. Benjamin



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'09 Movie Reviews

Blame It On Savanna
Review by Byrdman

Cry Wolf
Review by Spooky

Faithless
Review by Spooky

Heaven or Hell
Review by Oranje

House of Wicked
Review by Diesel

The Office: An XXX Parody
Review by Spooky

This Ain't The Partridge Family
Review by Spooky


'09 Book Reviews

Anthologies

A Slip of the Lip (ebook)
Review by Jean Roberta

Best Women's Erotica '09
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Bottoms Up
Review by Ashley Lister

Enchanted Again
Review by Victoria Blisse

Frenzy
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Girls on Top
Review by Ashley Lister

In Sleeping Beauty’s Bed
Review by Ashley Lister

Libidacoria (Poetry)
Review by Ashley Lister

Licks & Promises
Review by Ashley Lister

Like a Thorn (ebook)
Review by Lisabet Sarai

The Mile High Club
Review by Ashley Lister

Nexus Confessions: Vol 5
Review by Victoria Blisse

Nexus Confessions 6
Review by Victoria Blisse

Oysters & Chocolate
Review by Kristina Wright

Playing with Fire
Review by Ashley Lister

Sexy Little Numbers Vol 1
Review by Ashley Lister

Up for Grabs
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Novels

A 21st Century Courtesan
Review by Donna G. Storey

The Ages of Lulu
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Amanda’s Young Men
Review by Kristina Wright

As She's Told
Review by Ashley Lister

Bedding Down
Review by Victoria Blisse

Broken
Review by Ashley Lister

Brushes & Painted Dolls
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Cassandras Chateau
Review by Ashley Lister

The Edge of Impropriety
Review by Kristina Wright

Exposure
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Free Pass
Review by Ashley Lister

The Gift of Shame
Review by Victoria Blisse

Kiss It Better
Review by Ashley Lister

The Melinoe Project
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Mortal Engines & The ...
Review by Ashley Lister

The New Rakes
Review by Ashley Lister

Ninety Days of Genevieve
Review by Victoria Blisse

Obsession: An Erotic Tale
Review by Kristina Wright

Sarah's Education
Review by Ashley Lister

Seduce Me
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Lesbian Erotica

Lesbian Cowboys
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Night's Kiss
Review by Jean Roberta

Where the Girls Are
Review by Jean Roberta

Gay Erotica

Animal Attraction 2
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Boys in Heat
Review by Vincent Diamond

Faewolf
Review by Lisabet Sarai

The Low Road
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Personal Demons
Review by Jean Roberta

Ready to Serve
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The Secret Tunnel
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Shuck
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Transgressions
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Non-Fiction

Best Sex Writing '09
Review by Kristina Wright

The Big Penis Book
Review by Rob Hardy

Erotic Encounters
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The Forbidden Apple
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Hollywood’s Censor
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Lady in Red
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Licentious Gotham: Erotic...
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Live Nude Elf
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Live Nude Girl
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The Other Side of Desire
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Scripts 4 Play
Review by Ashley Lister