There’s an important, ongoing discussion in Romancelandia about “Gay for You” books. That is, M/M romances where one or more of the main characters has never been attracted to men before. But things happen and our hero makes an exception for his one true love.
Quite reasonably, this particular trope causes a lot of frustration for bisexual people (among others) in the romance community, because it is, among other things, bi-erasing. Invariably, a bisexual author will post about their feelings on this subject and other authors will then weigh in. When it gets messy isn’t around disagreement between queer authors on this subject (it exists), but when straight authors tell bisexual authors how they should feel about this trope. (In general, telling people how to feel about things is how stuff goes wrong, but so it goes).
This post is not about my and Erin’s opinion on this trope as bisexual authors or anything else (lots of people have already written great think pieces on this we don’t need to replicate). Rather, we just want to clarify what our Love’s Labours books Midsummer and Twelfth Night contain, since early on in their lives we referred to them as GfY as that seemed necessary to capture the reading audience. We regret that choice now for the reasons outlined above and because a couple of years into this romance writing thing we’ve realized we don’t need to try to squish our books into boxes that don’t quite fit (and are at times troubling) to find readers. Also, flat out, we’re sorry if we’ve contributed to any shittiness in a genre that is certainly experiencing some growing pains.
The relationship in these books is between a gay man and a man who has never found himself attracted to men before. This man does not devalue his past with women (he has an ex-wife unrelated to the new relationship with whom he is close friends); it does not stop him from continuing to be attracted to women; and it leads him and his boyfriend to discuss labels, what they mean, why they are or aren’t important, and which he prefers (queer or bi). Additionally, this character doesn’t deal with much internalized homophobia; he’s much more concerned his boyfriend might be a changeling.