There are deviants of every sexuality, and they are deeply repugnant, but to call someone automatically perverted because they prefer the company of someone of their own sex is to call everyone living on benefits a Mick Philpott. Or every father a Josef Fritzl.
The closet door creaked open very slowly – who remembers Elton John coming out as bisexual, and saying twice as many people waved at him? That was the late 70s, and society was cautiously accepting there were homosexual people, but still hoping a gay man could be cured by the love of a good woman (just as a gay woman was only waiting for the right man). Since then attitudes have changed and when even my mother changed direction completely on her attitude to gay men I assumed the whole world was now okay with alternative sexuality.
Anyway, this is my autobiographical A-Z, so you’re probably wondering when I’ll get to the point. Actually, it’s my book, again. My characters have different interests, different lifestyles. Donald, who appears late in the first book, is not, how can I put this, overwhelmingly masculine. I was taken aback to be violently criticized by a reader for including ‘disgusting’ elements in my first book without, he said indignantly, any warning.
I’d already made the friends twenty years younger. I didn’t want them pairing off and turning the books into sloppy romantic whodunits, hence building in anti-romance from the start. Maybe I should scrap the whole grown-up thing and recreate them as pre-teens, I don’t remember Enid Blyton having any of these problems.
And frankly one of the tenets of the whodunit is that it must portray its time frame accurately (see the R post). The character in question is now just a man who never married, can be a bit bitchy, and is suspected, without hostility, of being ‘a bit of a poofter’. Enough?