Many years ago, before I met the Jewish American Prince of Darkness and settled down with him, I had a single date with a clinically depressed psychologist named Abe. I remember talking with him about the book I was writing at the time, which became Mahu Fire.
I told him that the big early action in the book was a bomb going off at an event celebrating gay marriage, and that I was going to have my hero's best friend, Gunter, killed in the blast. I wanted Kimo to have a real motivation to solve the crime.
Abe was horrified. He kept insisting that it was my own internalized homophobia that made me want to kill off a gay character. No matter how much I argued about character development and plotting, he was adamant.
That was our only date, but it did make me reconsider killing off Gunter. I was thinking about Abe the other day because I'm working on the fifth book, and once again, Gunter has an important role to play.
I'm glad, now, that I didn't kill him off. But Abe's comment does make me wonder, sometimes, if I still have any remnants of that internalized homophobia. I know, for example, that my early dislike of effeminate men was rooted in my own issues-- if I was friendly with such a person, would others think I was "like that" too?
Today, I admire those guys, because they were the ones who could never hide who they were, and had to be strong just to be themselves. I've tried to give Kimo that admiration and respect as well.
And if you're out there, Abe, hope you're feeling better.