I’ve seen a lot of negativity from the LGBT community this week, following Jared Leto’s acceptance speech at the Oscars. Sadly, it’s nothing I haven’t seen before, and I’m not going to address the specifics of that instance here. Suffice it to say, sometimes we in the queer community have a problem accepting that there are cis straight people in the world who give a shit. And, no, they don’t always get everything quite right, but let’s cut them a little bit of slack. They’re trying, they’re learning, and sometimes they’re gonna make mistakes because our experience is not theirs.
On a personal level, I know and interact daily with dozens of allies, some online and some (gasp!) in the third dimension. I’ve seen plenty of them stick their necks out over and over for the LGBT community, and rarely, if ever, do they see any thanks for it. Let’s be clear: without allies, we would be nowhere. We’d still be sneaking around in secret because our very existence would be illegal. A recent poll showed support for equal marriage in the US at a record high majority of 59% and — newsflash — a large majority of that majority are cis straight. Let’s not piss them off by jumping down their throats every time they slip up.
I’m bored of the negativity I see within the m/m community as well, not from the majority, but from a small but vocal faction of (mainly) gay men, who think that m/m should be their sole preserve, and straight women have no right reading or writing it. Yes, there’s a line to be drawn between appreciation and objectification (indeed, I even have something of a problem with the ‘appreciation’ part of that), but that’s a whole other blog post. Instead, let’s celebrate our allies for once, and thank them for what they do for us. I repeat: without them, we would be nothing.
More immediately, I want to talk about one of my own allies, a fellow-author named Brandon Hale. Brandon writes rollicking dystopian YA horror/adventure mashups and they are incredible. And I’m not just saying that to be nice — over 100 five-star reviews on Amazon can’t be wrong. Brandon stuck his neck out for me once, and I’ve never forgotten what he did, and my gratitude to him for doing so has never diminished. He is the best of the good guys, and he’s smart, funny, and insanely talented. Were he not a friend, I’d probably be a little bit jealous of him!
Less than a year ago, about the same time that I quit the Evil Day Job, so did Brandon. He’s been making a living as a full-time author ever since. Not getting rich, mind, but paying the bills, and isn’t that what we all long to do? To give up working for The Man™, and do something which makes our hearts sing?
Being self-employed in any business is, however, a risk. There’s no fallback, no safety net if things go wrong, and in this economy there’s no guarantee of finding a job with someone else if times get tough. Brandon took a massive leap of faith, and if anyone deserves for it to pay off, it’s him.
Then he was diagnosed with cancer.
I’m sure most of you can imagine the repercussions, personally and financially, which go in tandem with that diagnosis. At a time when Brandon should be living the dream, he’s facing a nightmare. He’s been blogging about the experience and giving it the usual Brandon treatment — at once witty, poignant, honest, and optimistic. Brandon’s a fighter, and I know in my bones he’s going to kick cancer’s ass. But while he does that, he’s gonna need help.
Money is the most obvious need, and a friend of Brandon’s has started a GoFundMe page to help defray some of the myriad costs associated with his treatment and travel/accommodation for his family when he is taken into hospital. Please, I know you don’t know him, but if you can give anything, even just the price of a Starbucks coffee, it all makes a difference.
But it’s not only about cold, hard cash. Check out Brandon’s books on Amazon — the first novel in his Day Soldiers series is free, and if ever a series demanded to be turned into a TV show, this is it. If you like it, remember to leave a review and share with your friends. Brandon’s gonna need all the positive energy he can get, and you have no idea how a nice review can lift the spirits.
I know the m/m community has done incredible things for our own, but now I’m asking if we can’t, in a very small way, share some of that generous spirit with one of our staunchest allies as well. Even the simplest things, like sharing this or any of Brandon’s blog posts, leaving him a comment, downloading Day Soldiers, sharing the Amazon link via Facebook or Twitter, leaving a review… They all count. They all go a long way towards keeping his spirits up and helping him fight this battle. If ever a guy deserved good karma, it’s Brandon Hale, and I just know there’s a lot of it coming his way.