Judging from the title of this week’s blog post, it might be a bit of a head scratcher to start off the new year with this particular topic. However, I found it necessary to do so, for a specific reason. A week ago, someone (who shall remain nameless) had written a review on An Absolute Mind, and had quite a number of things to say about it – and not exactly in a positive light, might I add. But what infuriated me was when this individual referred to the same-sex relationships presented in the novel as a “lifestyle.”
Since discovering this review, I’ve wracked my mind over what I can do about it; not that I would normally jump on anything and everything negative one would say about my novels, but this comment is not criticism of the story itself, but rather one of different proportions. Now I could sit back and be silent, or I could fight back. It’s 2017, so I’m choosing the latter, for I feel that this instance presents itself an opportunity to educate others on why I include LGBT characters in my novels.
It’s funny how I haven’t gone entirely in depth on this subject matter before, for this is definitely not the first time I’ve talked about LGBT characters in the art of storytelling. I think the closest that I have gotten is when I spoke of how storytelling has shaped my thoughts and attitudes, among others, towards the LGBT community, in the aftermath of same-sex marriage being legalized in the United States. Otherwise, I haven’t given a thorough explanation, especially as someone who isn’t even of the LGBT community at all.
The reason why I hadn’t explained myself is that I felt like I shouldn’t have to, no more should I have to explain why I incorporate Asian American and multiracial characters into my books. Basically, my outlook on it is: Why not? If there’s one thing that all mediums of storytelling are pushing towards now is better representation of characters who aren’t always male, white, and straight. In this case, this goes for LGBT people as well. By including such characters respectively, you’re acknowledging their existence, and that is powerful.
In A Moment’s Worth (SPOILERS up ahead), there is one LGBT character, and the way he was written was in the matter of not only showing how he’s not the only one, but also to show how people can get overwhelmingly curious about what makes a particular individual different, in terms of identity. This plays out to parallel another character’s experience of constantly being questioned about her biracial identity growing up.
In An Absolute Mind (SPOILERS), more LGBT characters appear throughout the novel, and the way they are written is to show that, yes, they are gay, but there’s more to them than that. This is a way of solidifying, in this futuristic setting, what is considered a norm, and to instead amplify on other aspects of what makes these particular characters the individuals they are. (Note that the time period the novel is set is where same-sex marriage is legal in the United States, and this idea actually predates the real-life Supreme Court ruling in 2015.)
With the drive to enhance representation of LGBT people in storytelling, in particular those who are gay, for me, it’s not that hard to understand. As Lin-Manuel Miranda exemplified in an acceptance speech at last year’s Tony Awards over 12 hours after the mass shooting in Orlando, “Love is love is love is love is love…” If you can understand love and the basic concept of it alone, then maybe you can see why it is so stupid for people to be hating on others for who they love. Besides, until 50 years ago, depending on what state we’re dealing with, people like my parents would have been unable to get married, due to being a mixed race couple. See how ridiculous that sounds?
Now let me note quickly that I get that some people have their religious preferences, and they may practice one where same-sex relationships and marriages are otherwise disregarded. Let me just ask: While I respect your right to exercise whatever religion you believe in, or lack of for those who are atheists, exactly how far are you willing to go if it means denouncing people’s basic rights and beings?
I’ve talked a bit about the themes that are incorporated into An Absolute Mind, but one that is most poignant that I haven’t really emphasized on is that this is a novel about inclusion. It’s not just about the multiracial people that make up a quarter of the population of the United States in this futuristic era, nor is it exclusively about the Japanese American internees my protagonist is a descendant of. It’s not even solely focused on the characters who are Absolute Memory carriers. It’s about everyone involved, and how anyone – regardless of who you are – can make a different for the better. Pharrell Williams made this very same point when on “The Ellen Degeneres Show” earlier this week, in the aftermath of a gospel singer getting kicked off the show’s lineup for calling LGBT people “perverts;” and so as implied, it goes for this case as well. If you read my novel and have failed to realize this, then I can’t help feel sorry for you.
So if you have anything against the LGBT community, then don’t bother reading anymore of my novels, both presently available and those that have yet to come; for I aim to incorporate such characters as much as I can into my stories, to constantly show that being LGBT is not a lifestyle, but a part of who they are as human beings.An Absolute Mind is now available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CreateSpace, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, etc. If you read it, please leave a review, for they’re greatly appreciated and help me grow as a writer. Also, be sure to check out its Goodreads page, and feel free to leave any questions you have about the book.