What Stace had to say on Thursday, March 31st, 2011
Elder Griffin is Gay

(There is a point to my saying this, I swear.)

I’m pretty sure most of you know that already, actually, although I did see a bit of confusion over the summer when the subject of a possible youthful dalliance/crush of his came up in UNHOLY MAGIC (and for the record, for those curious: yes, there was some canoodling, although it was more curiosity/ego-feeding/careless fun for the other party). I thought that was fairly obvious, but didn’t see any reason to press the point or have him running around monologuing about being gay; the man is gay, and Chess obviously knows he’s gay, and nobody cares that he’s gay, so why would he do a speech about his gayness? Especially in that world, where being gay isn’t remotely an issue to anyone and gay marriage is totally legal.

(I can’t resist throwing in another worldbuilding note there: for certain people, like Church employees, simple cohabitation is not permitted [gay or straight]. You’re either married or you live alone, period.)

(Oh, and those of you who read THE BRAVE TALE OF MADDIE CARVER may have noticed a slight reference to his sexuality there, too, when Maddie thinks about how his family abandoned him because of it.)

Anyway. So Elder Griffin is gay. And his part in the next books is a bit bigger, and (minor spoiler) he does have an active love life and that becomes part of the next books as well, and it’s something that makes me happy. Because it’s important to me to add that to my books. It’s important to have some diversity. It’s important because the real world is diverse, and it’s important because who knows might see it and maybe think about it, or maybe feel better about it. Elder Griffin is first and foremost a good man, a smart one and a kind one and a loving one; one who adds great value to Chess’s life. His being gay is part of him but it’s also incidental. He is more than GAY. He is (at least I hope he is) a full, living, breathing, thinking, feeling, human being of worth who happens to be gay.

All of this is my way of explaining why yesterday I emailed Trisha Telep to pull my short story HOME from the MAMMOTH BOOK OF GHOST ROMANCE anthology.

You can read the background on this here and here.

HOME is a Downside story; I think I’ve mentioned it before? It is, I think, the closest thing to a “happy” Downside story as can exist–at least one from Chess’s POV–and for that reason it was fun to write (again, plus kinky hippies, which was a hoot).

It also involves–revolves around, to no small extent–bisexuality/homosexuality, in an important and positive way.

HOME is not dead. I’m considering some other options at the moment, because I absolutely want to make sure those of you waiting for the next Downside book get to read the story in the interim. And in fact there are a few potential Downside stories in the works for you guys in addition to the one appearing in HOME IMPROVEMENT: UNDEAD EDITION, which will be released August 2nd. So you’ll get to read it, I’m just not sure how, where, or when (but my plan is sooner rather than later).

Because I feel that to not speak up here, to not pull the story, takes something away from Elder Griffin, and from every other gay character I’ve ever written (Carter in the Demons books, too, as another example). In fact it takes something away from every character I’ve written, because it makes them all less human. It treats them like characters and not people; it treats them as unimportant, as lip service. They’re not that. They matter to me. And hopefully they matter to readers. And maybe they even matter to someone who sees themselves in them–in any of my characters, no matter what traits or differences or faults or personality quirks or whatever else they may have that some people feel it’s okay to judge or condemn–and realizes it’s okay to be exactly who and what they are.

Because it is.

25 comments to “Elder Griffin is Gay”

  1. John
    · March 31st, 2011 at 7:04 am · Link

    I’m not event sure what to say. Thank you for posting this, and thank you for standing up. It’s been really wonderful to see so many authors that I love stand up and say that this is unacceptable.

  2. Elaine Corvidae
    · March 31st, 2011 at 7:17 am · Link

    This entire post is brilliant but I particularly liked: “In fact it takes something away from every character I’ve written, because it makes them all less human.” That resonated in a deep way, because it’s so true. Thank you for posting this.

  3. Crystal
    · March 31st, 2011 at 7:23 am · Link

    Wow… Allow me to join in the chorus of “thank-yous” for this post, and thank you (and all those other authors who pulled their stories, too) for having the guts to stand up for your characters and for what you believe in.

  4. Synde
    · March 31st, 2011 at 7:31 am · Link

    It’s so important to stand up for this kind of thing!
    There is no room for bigotry of any kind!!!
    That one of the things I love about the Downside
    Gay straight whatever it doesn’t matter!
    Thanks Stace!

  5. BernardL
    · March 31st, 2011 at 9:40 am · Link

    It’s your prerogative as an author to expand anything you want into your ‘Downside’ world. Did I care in the first three books whether he was gay or not? Nope. Do I want him to have an expanded gay love life in your future books? Nope. In your first post part you deftly illustrate why it doesn’t matter, and it didn’t detract at all from the books, which was true for the ‘Downside’ world. Then why would your future ‘Downside’ books have to become a ‘gay’ crusade? It’s like the second part of your post is a ‘hello readers of ‘Downside’, you’re goin’ to love my little gay character’. There is a line between inclusion and avocation. The way you handled the elder up until now has been discreet which is exactly how it is in real life whether you’re gay or straight. If you highlight it, it becomes larger than ‘Downside’. I figured you wrote the post because you wanted reader input, so I assumed you wouldn’t want only glowing comments.

    Will it keep me from buying future books? Nope. I made the mistake of not reading Unholy Ghosts for a long time because I thought the drug thing would be out of my comfort zone. I won’t make that assumption again.

    • Stace
      · March 31st, 2011 at 10:54 am · Link

      Oh, goodness, Bernard, I certainly didn’t mean to imply that in the next books Elder Griffin and his love life take center stage or anything, or that the series focus will shift away from Chess/Terrible/Downside. It was actually just my way of attempting to avoid a spoiler.

      An event in his life–which by necessity involves his love life–has an impact on the story, and expands the world a bit. He is a character with a life outside the specific scope of the books (I won’t be writing scenes in which he’s just enjoying a sandwich or a good book all by himself, either, though I’m certain he does those things), and that life and the specific event in it brings some disparate elements of Chess’s life/world together. It is indeed the only event which could do so at that point in time, obviously, because just like any other event in a book, if it wasn’t, it shouldn’t be in there.

      It’s still her story, don’t worry about that.

      I’d actually sort of thought/hoped that readers would enjoy getting a little hint as to what’s coming in the next couple of books, and E.G. is a well-liked character I thought people might be glad to hear is going to–through story necessity–have a bit more “floorspace” in the fifth book specifically, and that there is at least some amount of happiness waiting for him. So I mentioned it here for that reason. He could have found that happiness by buying himself a shiny new car, I suppose, although again the story demanded a certain type of event/reason for a certain thing to happen re Chess (and really, there’s not a lot of dramatic tension in buying a car, is there?).

      And I kind of think someone good and kind’s finding someone to love is a pleasant thing to write about* (and the gender of his Someone is incidental; it’s the event that matters to the story, and what that event means to all of the characters, not how many sticky-out pee-pees the couple in question happens to possess, although I refuse to apologize for or be anything but pleased that the number is in fact two), not to mention what a lovely mirror that holds up to Chess’s own situation and the types of issues anyone who’s read the first three books knows she’s going to be dealing with.

      So basically, the series isn’t changing, and the series’s focus isn’t changing. I just thought since I’m talking about him anyway, it might please readers to know that A) Elder Griffin has at least a few moments of happiness waiting for him; and B) that I don’t intend to hide from those moments and what they may imply any more than I’d hide from any of the other moments in the series that can and do make some people uncomfortable. Nor do I intend to overplay them, or to do anything else that would be a disservice to the story, or that would do my characters the disservice of treating them like tokens running around to showcase how awesome and smart I am instead of actual people who deserve dignity, love, and happiness no matter what they may do that someone else might disapprove of or be uncomfortable with.

      • BernardL
        · March 31st, 2011 at 11:55 am · Link

        That’s very clear. Thanks Stace.

  6. Layla Messner
    · March 31st, 2011 at 11:22 am · Link

    Thanks, Stacia :)

  7. Kris
    · March 31st, 2011 at 11:40 am · Link

    I find it appalling how many authors are pulling out of anthologies because of the involvement of characters who do not follow the male w/female “standard”. Not appalled because they are pulling out but because they feel they need to. I would like to think that we as a society are moving (or have moved!!) past that!! Even the US Military now cannot continue with the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” mandate (no offense meant to our military or anyone in it, just saying that the military in general is much more steadfastly against homosexuality in a traditional way). Why can’t authors/editors/publishers/etc realize that LBGT people are part of our reality and they are just as much people as those who are heterosexual?? I’m obviously not saying *all* authors/editors/etc are not “ok” with LBGT characters, just that recently I have seen several authors I enjoy finding it necessary/preferable to pull their work out of anthologies due to the close-mindedness of others. If readers don’t feel comfortable reading about two male faeries (or any other two same-sex characters) falling in love with each other then they shouldn’t read the story!
    I hate that authors are being censored like this. I know that a few of the authors who have pulled out of other anthologies because of the censoring are making plans to try to get together their own anthology where it’s “acceptable” to have same-sex relationships and I, for one, am hoping that they do it. Because I love to read and I love those authors’ work and I really don’t care WHO is in love. Love is love.
    I support any and all authors who make a stand about this issue. I still think it’s BS that they should have to, tho…

  8. Analisa
    · March 31st, 2011 at 12:50 pm · Link

    I look forward to see some happiness in EG’s life. I’ve always liked him :)

  9. Ceilidh
    · March 31st, 2011 at 1:17 pm · Link

    Thanks for taking a stand and doing this.

  10. Lisa S.
    · March 31st, 2011 at 3:41 pm · Link

    Thank you so much for doing this. We don’t choose those we love (or even sometimes who’s bones we wanna jump!)

  11. Saundra Mitchell
    · March 31st, 2011 at 4:00 pm · Link

    That makes two of us withdrawn from MBO Ghost Romance. I’m sorry it had to be done, but I’m glad we did it.

  12. Calliope
    · March 31st, 2011 at 5:09 pm · Link

    Is it POSSIBLE for Running Press to replace Ms. Telep as the editor of these anthologies? It seems so unfair that the readers should have to suffer on account of the editor’s prejudices. I mean, it’s like we (the readers) lose either way: either we are given stories that are untrue to themselves so our “delicate sensibilities” can be spared or else we miss out on what once was a really cool anthology with a great ensemble so that the stories can find new homes where they’ll be accepted for what they are.

    Not that I’m saying I don’t support your pulling out, I do, 100% – what I AM saying is that I regret that it had to be done at all, that I am sorry that the readers lose what was to be a great anthology on account of its editor.

    Did that make sense?

  13. Carrie
    · March 31st, 2011 at 6:46 pm · Link

    It’s been said already, but I’ll say again, thank you.

    I knew Elder Griffin was gay, but I didn’t really pay attention, you know? It didn’t make a difference to me. He is who he is and that didn’t change anything.

    I never really understood people’s aversion to homosexuality, perhaps because I don’t have one. If someone is gay and you aren’t and they’re not making a move on you, who cares?

  14. krupke
    · March 31st, 2011 at 7:46 pm · Link

    “Elder Griffin is first and foremost a good man, a smart one and a kind one and a loving one; one who adds great value to Chess’s life.”

    Yay! I really liked him in City of Ghosts. I thought he was at least gay or bisexual from the reference in Unholy Magic. I was more worried that he might end up being sinister instead of an ally/friend/mentor for Chess. Great to have you confirm he’s one of the “good guys”

    • krupke
      · March 31st, 2011 at 8:00 pm · Link

      eta: Sorry, I read the part about Elder Griffin being confirmed as “good” and immediately posted before finishing your entry.

      I agree with your choice to pull the story. Reading about same sex (or hetero sex) couples isn’t for everyone, but that’s why one can put the book down/not buy it/or in the case of an anthology simply read another story.

  15. Amanda
    · April 1st, 2011 at 2:45 am · Link

    I just want to add to the chorus; Well done for taking a stand.

  16. connie
    · April 2nd, 2011 at 1:55 pm · Link

    when can we expect the next chessie book to be released?

  17. Beverly
    · April 2nd, 2011 at 9:11 pm · Link

    Putting my money where my mouth is. Bought the first book. I am proud of you for standing up for what you believe in. I agree.

    I will read and review on Good Reads, live journal and Facebook as soon as I can get my #@#@@@ing Kindle for PC to start working. Right now the book is lost in cyber space.

  18. Tara
    · April 4th, 2011 at 12:38 pm · Link

    I just wanted to say good for you! You always keep it real whether in your writing with Chess and her addiction or in real-life issues such as this. Your integrity is inspiring.

  19. Marzie
    · April 5th, 2011 at 2:35 pm · Link

    Thank you so much for your support of this important principle. Art really should offer us a slice of real life, for YA or adult UF/PR. I really hope we get to read Home and if you publish it as a standalone at Amazon or Smashwords, I’ll happily buy it!

    Can’t wait for the next Downside! And now I think you rock in your sense of principles just as much as you do as a writer! :)

  20. Valerie Baylen
    · April 5th, 2011 at 10:13 pm · Link

    You may remember me from b&n Alpharetta. I just wanted to say thank you for your response on this matter. I, too, have a gay son, and I had no idea that Trisha Telep was a homophobe. Hugs.

  21. April
    · April 6th, 2011 at 2:28 pm · Link

    This post is awesome. Thank you for writing it and for everything else you write. :)

  22. Stacey
    · April 10th, 2011 at 2:46 pm · Link

    Yeah! You and Jessica Verday rock :smile:

    I appreciate you both for standing up for your gay characters.

    It makes me more than willing to search to find your books/stories in another format whenever they are published.


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