Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Guest Post: Working Toward Equality with Gryvon

A few years ago, a friend of mine moved to Israel, in part to pursue higher education and in part to reconnect with his Jewish roots. He applied for dual citizenship, and as a part of his new citizenship, he joined the Israeli Defense Forces. One of the questions he got asked most often was why he was serving in the IDF. Why not join the American army if he wanted to serve? His answer every time was simply "because I'm gay". This answer confused his fellow soldiers. The IDF accepted everyone, gay or straight. It was just a fact of life in the IDF, and they'd never had an issue with serving with people of varying orientations, so they couldn't understand why it was such an issue.

It's been a little over a year since same-sex marriage was legalized in my home state, New York. I remember being glued to the internet the night it was being voted on, waiting anxiously to hear what the politicians would decide about my ability to marry a woman if I so chose. When the yes vote was announced, it felt like a victory, not just for me and my fellow New Yorkers, but for the community at large, since we were one small step closer to equality. The next day, I was visiting two friends of mine, gay men who had been together for over a decade (possibly two). They were married years ago in a pagan ceremony, but on that day, I remember one of them turning to the other and asking, "Honey, do you want to get married?"

America is often viewed as a land of freedom and equal right, so much so that it confuses outsiders when they find out the truth of how unequal some portions of our society are. America doesn't live up to its own hype, but we're getting better. Don't Ask, Don't Tell has been repealed. Same-sex marriage is growing state by state. The Defense of Marriage Act is no longer being supported. LGBTQ activists are slowly eking out equal rights from reluctant lawmakers. It's a work in progress.

I want to see equal rights go national. I want my future children to be able to marry whoever they choose, in whatever state they choose. That's why supporting organizations such as Lambda Legal is so important to me, and why I chose to write for Storm Moon Press' Legal Briefs anthology. Hopefully, the money raised by this anthology can help bring a little bit more equality to our country.

For my story, I chose to go historical fantasy. There are a lot of cultures that accepted homosexuality long before gay rights was an issue. There are many, most recent in terms of the span of ages, that greatly disapprove of homosexuality. My story takes one such culture – Roman Catholicism – and explores what would have happened if it took over England, subsuming any tolerance there might have been. In Henry's country, his attraction to Abel is Against the Law, but his secret is kept safe by another who harbors same-sex attractions—Henry's future wife.

Legal Briefs is available now from Storm Moon Press. Here is an excerpt from Against the Law. Enjoy!

"What about her?" His mother, Luciana, poked him in the side with her fan. For an object covered in an excessive amount of lace, it was deceptively pointy.

Henry turned his attention away from his brooding and obediently glanced in the direction his mother indicated. A trio of women chatted next to an array of wildly overgrown potted plants. There was a blonde, a brunette, and a woman with impressively curled black hair piled high on her head. He assumed the latter was the one his mother was referring to, but there was no way to be certain. They were all pretty, he supposed, though their beauty or lack thereof was lost on him.

He shrugged. "She's nice enough, I suppose." For a woman, he wisely did not add.

Ever since Charles had left, his mother had been obsessed with finding him a wife. She wanted to secure the Valentino line, and preferably bring in some much needed wealth to add to their dwindling fortunes. He was fine letting her take over the hunt. She was certainly more interested in potential matches than he was, and would likely do a much better job. He didn't particularly care who he married. They wouldn't be what he wanted.

A flash of black hair and sharply chiseled features drew Henry's attention away from his mother. He caught a glimpse of an achingly handsome man with faintly foreign features exiting onto the patio and felt a sudden, overpowering need for fresh air.
"Excuse me, mother. I'll be outside."

Gryvon is writer of things strange, fantastical, and queer. Her works span a wide range of tone, from dark paranormal thrillers to cozy romances. During the day, she works as professional code monkey with coworkers who think her far more innocent than she actually is. She's an avid gamer and all-around geek who spends a fair number of weekends running around (or LARPing) with people playing as vampires or werewolves. Her latest short story, "Against the Law", can be found in Storm Moon Press' Legal Briefs anthology.

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