Book Banning Is Discrimination
No one ever told me writing would result in a constant struggle with society. No one ever said sex isn’t protected under freedom of speech. It’s convenient for a company to have a ‘policy.’ The rules. This type of writing is okay while this type doesn’t belong. We don’t make the rules; we just enforce them. Banning books is discrimination. It is an attack on free speech, and it discriminates against not only the authors but the readers of those books that are told their topic of interest is not welcome.
I am a bisexual woman, and I have been discriminated against a hundred times more for the words I write than the people I fuck. Every book feels like I’m slamming on an invisible door, shouting I have a right to exist. I write dark fantasies. I am willing to admit that dark fantasies exist in every human being and I write about them. I know the dangers of denying the aspects people keep in the shadows. Many of my stories go into what shame is and how it holds people back. Shame begets shame. It never makes someone feel better. Freedom from shame is the only way to learn to love yourself as you are. Human, not divine.
I was raised in a shame-based culture. Most of that shame came from an institution I endured every Sunday. It’s where my parents learned shame, and I was indoctrinated into the soul crippling, self-hating world of religion. God loves us all just so long as you are weak, hate your body, and are obedient. The freedom of religion to practice in America is protected under our laws. They allow religion to write incredible fantasies of people dying and coming back to life, of magical acts and winged men and demons. These laws allow religion to tell children their bodies are unclean, women are born inferior, and sex is wrong unless it’s for reproduction.
Look in any bookstore; the bible isn’t in the fiction section. It’s not hidden away although it inarguably has harmed more people than I can even imagine by the shame it places on everyday functions, never mind the wars it has been the center of. You know what you’ll be hard pressed to find in a bookstore? Books about sexual fantasies.
They have to hide under romance. The promise of love makes sex okay. You can find some very dark sex in crime and horror. Apparently, murder or just the genre can legitimize the act of sex. It has to be an addition, not a selling point. Sex sells, but it’s not allowed if you’re blatant. No, then that book is wrong. The ideas are wrong. The people that want to read it are wrong, and so are the authors. No, that book needs to be removed so that no one else will know that something so wrong existed in so many. Let them feel ashamed for not knowing that there were others like them, that their fantasy is normal, that every fantasy is normal and healthy. Let them hate themselves, hurt themselves, conform to be something they were never meant to be. Let them be straight and shining and soldiers of God until they slit their wrists to finally be free.
I laugh that I was named after an angel. The only angel that could have been a woman; Gabriel transcended genders. There is no fucking escaping religion for me. I worked in a church for ten years, sang in a choir, was a cantor, and once fully believed in God because I knew the absolute fear of death at the age of seven and I didn’t want to die. I hated my body because my religion told me god didn’t talk to girls, that girls had to obey and be weak and never question. I didn’t know that even as I broke free of that brainwashing through bitter, bitter years to get to the other side, I would still be fighting it in my society as an adult.
I am not fighting morality or ethics or laws when my books are banned. I am fighting an overreaching religion that wants people to hate themselves and their bodies and their minds so that they will conform. People are easier to control when they hate themselves. They’re easier to break. And what better way to break someone than to tell them that their creator god is disgusted by their natural sexual urges?
What gets a sex book banned in a supposedly enlightened society?
Better yet, why are certain dark themes prevalent in gay fantasy? I was first introduced to dubcon, bestiality, incest, BDSM, noncon, and shota all in the mm genre. Why do these themes exist and why are people—those normal, healthy, godfearing people—so confused about the right of these topics to exist in fantasy? Why can you write a serial killer that murders hundreds in gruesome ways but can’t write about a kinky sexual encounter without fear of being banned?
Most topics in sexual fantasies are metaphors even if the reader and many authors are unaware. The same way dreams share certain themes, so too do sex fantasies. Familiar archetypes are used to get deep into the psyche of a reader. Incest is coming of age, learning to love self through the closest individual you grew up with. Dubcon/noncon and straight to gay are coming of age about learning to love self through a sexual experience one is too afraid to embark on without a guiding hand. BDSM is about giving up control to learn to accept self and sexual urges. Shota is coming of age to accept sexual desire. Bestiality is coming of age to accept what society would label as ‘abnormal’ desires. Slavery—BDSM without consent—again, being forced to accept sexual urges. All degradation is about being forced to accept what society labels as ‘abnormal’ (normal sexual urges) while still having society look at you as abnormal and feeling that shame; it’s facing the thing that tries to oppress you. All of these topics are about the battle against society to have sexual freedom. The irony being, that these are the topics banned from society.
I’ve been reading and writing about sex for a while now. When I decided to do it for a living, I looked into what people responded to, why these topics were so popular. I wanted to make stories speak to the truth in every kink so that even if I wasn’t fully familiar with it, I could give the reader what they were looking for. Abduction, control, the stealing of control, degradation; every ‘dark’ topic, every kink is a battle against social norms and self. What better place to find acceptance than in LGBTQ fiction? LGBTQs can explain how we are born this way and that still, we fight against a society that tells us that we’re abnormal, the minority, not fully included. For the many, those demented ideas from society we unwittingly took into ourselves and used to self-hate. Look at the LGBTQ section of a bookstore and realize that every other book in that store is about straight people and their lives, hopes, dreams, and fantasies. LGBTQ is condensed into a section instead of accepted as part of the norm. Together but not equal.
Shame makes for bad policies. It allows a group to discriminate while claiming protection or decency. It closes eyes and hearts because people are too uncomfortable with their own wiring to look closely. They make a rule, a wall, and refuse to deal with it.
Shame makes for bad actions. That gay nightclub shooting in Florida was a man fighting against his own natural sexual urges. His religion, his personal society, told him that being gay was wrong, and although he fought, he could not win the battle deep in his psyche. It resulted in death, chaos, pain and fear. Human beings are not meant to hate themselves. Shame is a learned idea, one that causes pain in that individual and then spreads pain as they grow. I write stories that explore shame and then relieve it because on a base level that is what many are looking for in a sexual fantasy. Shame has become so indoctrinated with our sexual urges that the fantasies that free us must go through the exploration of that shame first.
Unfortunately, people that are full of shame can’t see that. They’re too busy seeing the act or feeling the emotions that make them hate their bodies for not responding in a ‘divine’ or ‘moral’ way. They don’t want other people to feel so much hatred towards themselves; but they don’t realize it’s not the text that made them feel that way, but the cruel, unaccepting society they grew up in. They repeat what was inflicted on them. They oppress, suppress, hide away, and pretend that those things that made them uncomfortable don’t exist. Because of this, the people that suffer, that are looking to be free from shame, have to do so in the shadows while being told, once again, that they’re wrong, inappropriate, abnormal because those ideas aren’t accepted here.
Every time one of my books is banned, I not only feel the blow personally for being told that I wrote something that even freedom of speech cannot protect but I feel the blow for my readers. They are told that the story they enjoyed was wrong and that they are wrong and not accepted in whatever community removed that book. They are being forced into the dark over fiction, over natural urges, over the fact that they dared not to hate themselves while others still do. Every time my books are banned I face the question of should I be financially supporting an institution that discriminates against my readers and me? If I walk away, am I giving that institution exactly what they want by pretending that the topics I write don’t exist and aren’t popular, healthy and normal?
Every book I put out into the world becomes more than just a book but a push for civil liberty because of these sweeping, discriminatory policies. It is exhausting.
Banning books is discrimination. Banning books about sex is sexual discrimination. Going into a genre and deciding that one sexual act is okay and another isn’t is discrimination. You can talk all about morality, about ethics and the need to protect those from dangerous or uncomfortable ideas but what it boils down to is that someone made a rule that allows to discriminate against one type of writing. They made a policy that discriminates against a group of people. With that policy, they try to shame people into leaving or conforming instead of accepting those individuals for who they are. They take livelihoods away and hurt self-esteem. It is discrimination and goes against freedom of speech.