Today I’d like to take a moment to talk about one of my characters and the real life issues and needs that inspired him. As you see from the blurb, Alex is gender fluid and has not had an easy time learning to understand himself, much less accept himself whether he desires to present as male or female.
You see, Alex doesn’t fit into a nice simple gender roles that he’s been taught are right. He also doesn’t fit into the dress roles others seem to want to push him into. Instead, Alex’s gender identity is fluid and shifts day to day. All Alex really wants is a to be like all the other guys, but no, he’s not only gay, but he longs to dress as his twin sister and her friends do... some days. Others, he’s perfectly happy in his jeans and T-shirts.
Gender fluidity is a very real gender identity. They are not trans*. They are not drag queens, cross dressers, or any of the many other things Alex will be called in the future. I say they, but I should really say we here as I identify as gender fluid as well as one of my children is very adamant on expressing through clothes the gender s/he feels that day (he’s in a lovely sparkly yellow top and embroidered jeans today at school and looks great!). In Alex’s case, the issue is both internal and external. Homophobia and Alex’s own family have taught him that being as s/he is, is not ok. His father is very vocal about what a”real man” is and is not, which makes it even harder for Alex to figure out and accept the truth within.
Finding a lover and partner that is open to you, no matter how you present, no matter how you feel or act, is hard even when you only have one gender, having fluidity of gender makes it infinitely harder for many. When I wrote Alex, I wanted to give Alex not only a happy ever after (I write romance, lol, of course he gets that!) but to share the struggles and fears someone like Alex can suffer due to assumptions, prejudice, confusion, and fear. I also wanted to write a story that I felt connected to. Gender is not about the body parts you’re born with, it’s about who you are inside. In Temptations of Desire, Alex finds his voice, finds a lover that loves him as is and thinks he’s hella hot! In Truth in Lace, Alex begins his journey into what being gender fluid means and on accepting who he is, inside and out.
Truth in Lace
by Tempeste O’Riley
Desires Entwined, #3.5
Gay, Gender fluid, Contemporary, Comin of Age
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: November 5, 2014 (ebook)
Length: Short / 24 pages
♥ ♥ Dreamspinner Press ♥ ♥ All Romance ♥ ♥
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When Alexander James Noble looks in the mirror, he sees a freak looking back at him. Despite his high grades and plans for culinary arts school after graduation, his parents would hate him if they really knew him.
Forced on a shopping trip with his twin sister, Lyric, and her friends, Alex eyes the girls jealously, longing to be able to dress like them—to be them. The constant struggle of being “gender fluid,” wrestling with an identity that seems to change daily, begins to wear on Alex. But all those questions and fears seem more manageable when his sister gives him his first skirt and lace panties.
Other Stories by Tempeste:
“I found it a beautiful tale of unhappiness changed to romance and then love with a happy ending.”
—Rainbow Book Reviews, on “Designs of Desire”
“Tempeste O’Riley clearly has designs on our attention with Designs of Desire, a story as heart breaking as it is heart warming."
—Sensual Reads, on “Designs of Desire”
“The writer did an excellent job with the charactesr, they are likable and perfect. Not perfect in the way that they have no flaws, but in a way that they grab you and complement each other.”
—Love Bytes Reviews, on “Temptations of Desire”
About the Author:
Tempeste O’Riley is an out and proud pansexual gender fluid whose best friend growing up had the courage to do what she couldn’t–defy the hate and come out. He has been her hero ever since.
Tempe is a hopeless romantic that loves strong relationships and happily-ever-afters. Though new to writing M/M, she has done many things in her life, though writing has always drawn her back–no matter what else life has thrown her way. She counts her friends, family, and Muse as her greatest blessings in life. She lives in Wisconsin with her children, reading, writing, and enjoying life.
Tempe is also a proud PAN member of Romance Writers of America®, Rainbow Romance Writers, and WisRWA. Learn more about Tempeste and her writing at http://tempesteoriley.com.
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