The Soldier, the Virgin and the Drag Queen

Mother’s inaugural royal visit to the weaver’s croft went without a hitch. She was escorted across country by my nephew and namesake, Jack Junior. I wondered if she’d be able to climb the narrow winding steps up to the attic boudoirs. I needn’t have worried. She remains a spritely 83 year and still runs for buses, despite a touch of arthritis. She had a good root around and gave her seal of approval. Fed and brandy’d, she retired for the evening with ‘Fifty Shades Darker’. We took young Jack to the bar at the Playhouse Theatre to discuss his exam results and flourishing love life. This popular watering hole by the water is always bursting with fresh-faced students and earnest artists with a dash of old homos thrown into the mix. The next morning, as Liam fixed breakfast, Mother noticed a timeworn photo of her wedding I keep in a frame on the window ledge. We looked at it together. Handsome Dad looked dapper and proud in his dress uniform and the old girl looked stunning and radiant in her classic cut wedding dress and virginal veil. “But who,” I asked “was the drag queen in the fur next to Dad?”

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Fifty Shades of Gay

I’ve been asked to answer the question ‘What does writing LGBTQ literature mean to me?’ As a typically liberal fence-sitting Libran, the answer is both nothing and everything. An endorsement from my queer peers is of Oscar-winning significance; it lifts the spirits and brings an immediate rush. However, my sexuality is not the only thing that defines me (though, I suspect, it may be the biggest). I hope I’m more rounded and grounded than that. When I was young, reckless and idealistic, the stirrings in my loins did tend to get in the way. Had I been writing back then, I might well have been a one trick soft porn pony. Now I’ve matured in the oak and reached the vintage years, my pink-tinged ramblings have a broader brush. For me, it’s important that my writing touches, tickles or resonates, whoever the reader is. When I started this blogging lark, the fruity blend of ‘out-and-proud’ and ‘living in a foreign field’ was a successful recipe that brought unexpected recognition. This explains why the subsequent book is about a gay couple living in Turkey, not a book about being gay in Turkey (that depressing tome remains to be written). This may have disappointed some but I think delighted many more. In my view, this wider appeal does a great deal for the cause.

The one theme that has remained a constant preoccupation of mine is all things equalities. I do tend to bang that particular drum rather a lot. After all, it is the universal rainbow thread that unites us all. Equality has never been achieved by anyone asking nicely and saying please. It’s taken hand-to-hand combat with the hard of hearing. Let’s face it, the equalities marathon is hardly off the blocks in many parts of our shared global home, even in some so called first world countries. Rights won the tough way can be lost in an instant. Threats lurk at every corner and apathy is the greatest threat of all.

I’ve been thinking ahead to a third episode of my pansy brand (the second is already on the drawing board). Now I don’t actually do anything useful for a living, I might as well carry on scribbling, whether people tip me the wink or not. If nothing else, it fills my day and keeps me away from tranquilising doses of daytime TV. I might take a mince down the towpath to my probationary dalliances, in which case, volume three might be an under the counter affair, wrapped in a brown paper bag and served up with individual tissues. How does ‘Fifty Shades of Gay’ sound? Minus the cuffs and corsets, though. Slap and tickle have never really got my juices flowing.

I wrote this post to celebrate and support the launch of Rainbowbookreviews, a brand new and exciting LBGT book review website. To join in the fun I’m offering a free signed copy of Perking the Pansies, Jack and Liam move to Turkey to comments left on this post from UK callers. A Kindle edition or ePUB version of the book is on offer to international readers (please state your preference). Winners will be chosen at random and the competition will end on midnight on 1st September.