Jumping into a new genre can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially into a genre as rife with drama and in-fighting as m/m fiction seems to be. Could I make it as a writer of m/m romance? Would my stories be accepted? Would I be laughed out of the field entirely?
When I discovered m/m fiction was even a thing, I got my hands on just about every m/m paperback I came across. I devoured them. I lived and breathed them. And then I wound up finding so many that I simply couldn’t keep up. All those stories out there, so many books that portrayed exactly what I wanted to read, and I never even knew they existed!
After reading so many that I knew I never wanted to read any other genre ever again, I realized that these stories were also affecting my direction as a writer. Though I’d dabbled in and hinted at gay couples in a few of my books, everything I wrote was pretty strictly m/f…
Since that’s what I figured was expected of me.
I started my writing journey before I went through a crisis of identity. Back then, I was just your average, boring, heterosexual female. How could I possibly be qualified to write m/m romance?
Qualified or not, I wanted to. Oh, how I wanted to. Something about m/m fiction just spoke to me. It felt real. It felt right. Somehow, a relationship between two men felt more natural than any heterosexual relationship I’d witnessed or endured during my life.
Being male just felt right.
But I wasn’t male. I was female. Breasts and curves and the dreaded periods. It all felt wrong, but I accepted it. I shoved aside the little voice in the back of my head that kept telling me my body was wrong, since I figured there was nothing to be done about it.
I let myself deny my identity while I also let myself deny my desire to write outside what was expected of me.
Then, the epiphany.
I discovered that being trans was a thing.
Perhaps I was simply too sheltered. Perhaps I was simply oblivious. Perhaps denial is a more powerful force than I reckoned. Regardless of the reason, I didn’t realize that being a transsexual was even possible until I’d already completed three decades of life.
But once I realized it? Light bulbs went off, the heavens opened up, and boom! I finally knew what was wrong with me.
My body was wrong, and I could actually do something about it.
The process of coming out wasn’t easy. Granted, I consider myself lucky. I’ve read the horror stories, seen the obituaries and memorials. Relatively speaking, my coming out was a lot more peaceful than it might have been. Still, it didn’t mean the inner turmoil was over and done with in the blink of an eye. It was two years before I finally allowed myself to accept the fact that I was trans. I knew it, but I couldn’t accept it. It wasn’t until I discovered other trans guys, and specifically other trans guys who were attracted to men, that I began to realize I wasn’t alone. It wasn’t until I started reading up on the possible science behind transgenderism (whether it be some type of chimerism or a simple anomaly of brain chemistry not matching that of the body) that I began to know what I was experiencing was legitimate and real.
And to find gay trans guys in fiction? YES. So much yes. I was legitimate, and I wasn’t alone.
Once acceptance settled into place, change became the new normal for my life. I cut off my waist-length hair. I completely revamped my wardrobe. I had my top surgery. I sought out hormone therapy.
And I threw caution to the wind and wrote my first m/m romance novels. The Matchmakers Trilogy went from concept to published in just five months. That’s how badly the need to write m/m was bursting within me.
Will my novels be accepted by the m/m fiction community? Am I ‘qualified’ to write them? Maybe, maybe not. I’ve gotten mixed feedback, and that’s okay. We’re not meant to be cookie-cutter beings. We all like different things. Will that stop me writing m/m fiction? Absolutely not. Because it’s what I want to write.
Finally, I can write what I want, because I’ve accepted the fact that it’s what I want to write. I’ve allowed myself to do so.
Will my transsexual identity be accepted? Maybe, maybe not. So far, I’ve not gotten much direct hate in terms of reactions from people when I tell them I’m transitioning. My family has been incredibly supportive, I’ve made a lot of new acquaintances in LGBT circles, and my CrossFit gym has been so wonderfully embracing that it gets me choked up. But I still see the general hatred or misunderstanding by people who think being trans is a joke. Will that stop me from accepting the fact that I see myself as a man? More specifically, as a gay man? Absolutely not. Because it’s right for me.
Finally, I can look in the mirror, and see myself. Finally, I can respond to people in general conversation without having to constantly edit and censor what I’m going to say. Finally, I can stand up straight, think of myself as a gay man without hesitation, wear men’s clothes, and refer to myself as ‘he’. Finally, I feel alive. Free. Happy. Finally, I’ve allowed myself to be me.
After so much change, I’d honestly be looking forward to a nice, quiet, routine year. But that’s not what I’m going to get. Since I’m just starting hormone therapy, I’ve still got more transitioning to do, and – let’s face it – I’m always going to be growing and changing as a writer and a person.
Then again, aren’t we all?
Hello, world. My name is G.R. Lyons. I am a gay trans man, and I write m/m fiction. I love it. I’m happy. I am unapologetically me.
The Matchmakers Trilogy, three m/m novels set in the fictional world of the Shifting Isles, all in one volume!
Second Chances: Nineteen-year-old porn star Remy Dawes wants to settle down and have someone just for himself. Thirty-five-year-old Chance Whitaker is convinced a younger man can’t be faithful. When things fall apart between meddling, death, and betrayal, will there be a second chance for them to find love?
Second Drafts: Shain Ahren is committed to only one thing: himself. Elliden Crawford, suffering an extreme chemical imbalance, fears he’s too volatile to love, and yearns to be controlled. When brought together, Elliden gets what he needs, but Shain’s world is thrown into complete disarray. Will Shain relinquish control, or will they remain a discarded first draft?
Second Place: Danny Berringer made the biggest mistake of his life by cheating on Bryan, and has been making up for it ever since by helping others find love. He even matched up Bryan with Eric Grant, except Bryan’s perfect marriage seems to have fallen apart, giving Danny hope for a reconciliation, but Bryan dodges him at every turn. Will Danny always lose, or can he win second place in Bryan’s heart?