Last week: Got Dishonorable Passions: Sodomy Laws in America 1861-2003 and Making Gay History. I thought they would be good books to go with the archives project I'm working on for the GLBT organization at the local university. My idea is to tie in what the group was doing at the university and in the area to gay history generally in the U.S. at the time. Some of the articles saved in the archives include articles about challenges to sodomy laws, gays in the military, and gay marriage. So the students were quite aware of what was going on generally in gay life during the time they were in school. I remember getting a number of non-fiction books about bisexuals when I came out.
As I've mentioned before, I was reading scholarly works on GLBT topics for some time before I started reading less-scholarly books. And I was reading gay genre fiction before I relatively recently got into reading M/M romance. I think I'm in quite the minority in getting into reading M/M romance via that path. I don't think of me reading M/M fiction as "kinky" -- I just think of my reading tastes as another aspect of my queerness. I've been accused of being a gay man trapped in a woman's body quite a number of times. How do I feel about that? I feel that those saying that are pretty well aware of what I'm like. I realize now that the phrasing is rather politically incorrect, as I don't have that much gender dysphoria, but it does sum things up quite neatly.
Today: Went to Giovanni's Room to pick up a print copy of Death of a Pirate King, which I'd requested them to order for me several weeks before it was published. I also got Faeries, Bears and Leathermen: Men in Community Queering the Masculine and Butch is a Noun. Edited later to add: The non-fiction books had much on stereotypes about gender and sexual orientation. The former explained how different groups of gay men play with or resist stereotypes of effeminacy. I thought the recounting of the ways in which the bears and leathermen resisted the stereotypes was very interesting. Butch is a Noun had some reflections on almost the opposite stereotype, as it described some of the hostility endured by female-bodied people who come across as masculine. Personally, I like interacting with gentlemanly butches, as considerate behavior goes a long way with me.
What do I come across as? I think I come across as someone people can just be themselves with. At least, I like to encourage that, and I think it works. It's sad to me to see someone trying too hard to live up to whatever American-culture stereotype they think they need to live up to.
I just generally appreciate it when people resist the stereotypes of their gender. This is a big part of why I like Goths. So many of the men are genderqueer to some extent. There's also a pretty high percentage of bisexual women among that crowd. So you have people who are consciously resisting normative gender and sex roles, and can articulate why. After all, a lot of Goths are quite intellectual, too. I don't especially understand why some are into physical pain. I can endure it well enough. As one example, I did get a tattoo and then got it re-colored later. But my goal in getting the tattoo was to have a pretty decoration on my body. In my twenties, I thought a lot about getting another set of piercings in my earlobes. Just the normal two seemed boring. Just two still seems boring. Again, it wasn't about the pain. It was about decoration. Maybe ways to show a hint of rebellion. I feel so much ambivalence about how I blend into straight society when I don't feel straight at all. I wouldn't want to have no choice about coming across as queer. But I'd like to have quick and non-confrontational ways to let people know that I'm looking at things from a somewhat different perspective than they think I am.