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Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Oooh look, entitlement in my inbox!

I always get more traffic by email than I do by comments. Gods alone know why. I will look at my blog and LJ and see 3 comments huddled together, open my inbox and see a gazillion queued together. One of the idiosyncrasies of life I guess.

Anyway, my m/m posts seem to be getting a lot more hits (or so my vague reading of the technology. I don't promise it to be vaguely accurate) and I have a lot of email related to them. Surprisingly, most of them are generally decent and raise my faith in humanity a little, just a little but they do. Of course, the second most common make me despair and cover all the same problems I've covered 100 times before, with an added bonus of telling me what I should and should not consider a safe space. Uh-huh – I decide my safe spaces, thank you. You can suggest a safe space I may be interested in, but if I say “no, I don't go near that, it's unsafe for me” that's not up for debate.

The third class of emails are very similar: “Please beta X” where X is m/m, slash or some variation thereof.

Now, I do beta books for some authors. Because I know them, consider them friends, respect them, love their work and know they're not going to hand me something to read that will make me cringe, hurt or have my eyes explode. I appreciate the lack of eye 'splodies.

Even if those wonderful people asked me to beta at the moment I would be forced to decline (or say it'll take me an age) since I am so overcommitted with work, other projects etc. There are simply not enough hours – or enough energy – at the moment.

But a complete stranger - several - asking me to devote no small amount of time to something that could be very painful. No, I don't think even if I spent all day burrowing through sudoku I would be doing that. I'm not confident enough in it having sufficient return for the energy and risk I take doing it. Still I suppose I don't fault people for asking.

Now, when receiving a refusal, I did not expect the repeated response along the lines of “so you're just attacking people, you don't actually care about it getting better, if you did you'd do this!!!” Or words to that effect.

Well, if you put it that way, let me give a brief thought on your work – it's probably going to have allll the problems I've posted about. Because if you have so little respect for gay men that you think a complete stranger who is gay owes you a free service, owes you his time, energy and potential mental strength, if you are willing to dismiss triggers, if you are willing to ignore that I might have other commitments beyond the demands of strangers, if you are failing to understand how much it could cost me to read a book that is deeply problematic in it's portrayals - then the chances of you treating portrayals of gay men with even a modicum of respect are pretty damn low.

Please go write a book about aardvarks or something. Aardvarks don't care if you disrespect them.