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On Writing Men Loving Men

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I’ve been secretly writing men who love men for almost fifteen years. That’s probably a bit of a shock to anyone reading this who’s known me that long. Heck, it’s probably a shock to anyone who knows me through my writing but didn’t know how old I am.

Although my first venture into completing a story and allowing anyone to read it was fan fiction, my earliest work was an unfinished story about a minor-league baseball team. I’d wanted to write a story about baseball—it’s my favorite sport—and a growing friendship between two of the players. Turned out they had some pretty great chemistry. There wasn’t any sex, but they did share a steamy kiss. I shocked even myself with that one.

So why do I write about men loving men? First of all, I like men—a lot. I don’t even mean sexually; I mean I just plain like guys. I always have. I pick wisely, so the men in my life are amazing people. Very often, their best traits find their way into my characters because I want to honor the variety of people I know.

Second, it’s a way of exploring my gender identity. I’m genderqueer, specifically demigirl. (A great resource for understanding demigenders is http://demigenders.tumblr.com/.) I’ve actually been mistaken for a guy online in places where I don’t use my real name or picture. I love looking at the world through a more male-centric lens because most of my life is geared toward womanhood and a feminine viewpoint. This is my place to write without those constraints.

Finally, I like to write men who mess with societal ideas about masculinity and what makes a “real man.” It’s fine that some people like to read about hypermasculine guys being dudes, but that’s not my preference. I’m not that interested in soldiers and firefighters (well, not men, anyway—give me a woman in uniform and you just might see me swoon!).  I prefer to read and write about geeks and artists and gentle dads and trans men and gender creative/non-conforming/fluid/queer people. They’re much more representative of my own circles.

I’m thrilled to have been able to explore all three of those reasons in my upcoming novel, Passing on Faith. Both the main characters, Cat and Micah, are amalgams of men who have had a profound influence on my life. It’s probably the most personal work I’ve ever written, including elements of spiritual wounds and healing and Cat’s identity as genderqueer. I can only pray I’ve done justice to the people who have meant so much to me.

One of my favorite Bible verses is Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” This is me, working at my craft with all my heart.

A. M. Leibowitz is a spouse, parent, feminist, and book-lover falling somewhere on the Geek-Nerd Spectrum. She keeps warm through the long, cold western New York winters by writing romantic plot twists and happy-for-now endings. In between noveling and editing, she blogs coffee-fueled, quirky commentary on faith, culture, writing, and her family at amleibowitz.com.

Catch her on Facebook or Twitter.

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