Effeminate Gay Men in M/M Romances

So the thing that was brewing in my brain has settled down and made sense enough that I can share it now. In prepping it, though, I asked for the help of some of my author friends and, therefore, the post is going up over on Chicks & Dicks. Well, and they kinda like me and have promised to look out for me over there :)

Incidentally, the site’s name plays with the words I’m taking issue with in my post. The playing I’m fine with, but the term “chicks with dicks” is where I get really upset and I’m not letting it go this time. Click on over to read my post, This Really Needs to Stop by Thorny Sterling.

Now below is a list of books that I believe feature effeminate gay men with respect and in ways I can relate to. Yes, it’s my personal opinion and yours may differ, but I like these books and I like these characters. I can also identify with them, and just the fact someone wrote about guys like me makes me very happy.

As You Are by Ethan Day Edward Unconditionally by Lynn Lorenz Gambling on Maybe by Fae Sutherland Just for You by Jet Mykles
One True Thing by Piper Vaughn & MJ O'Shea Sno Ho by Ethan Day Strawberries for Dessert by Marie Sexton

There’s a list on Goodreads called Best Gay “Flamboyant” Characters with 78 books listed. Some I agree with and others not so much. (I’ve also realized I’m behind on updating my “read” list…) But I’m glad it’s there at all.

Do you have any additional books that you think qualify as a good representation of effeminate gay men in m/m romances? I’d love to know what those books are and why you think they’re good characters.

62 thoughts on “Effeminate Gay Men in M/M Romances

  1. I love books with effeminate men. Novels with macho hero’s have been done to death.

    I don’t think anyone has mentioned Loving Jay by Renae Kaye. It’s one of my favorites, I’ve read it three times.

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  2. Just read Plan B by SJD Peterson. Loved Danny’s character – how I envision Thorny. Gutsy & glittery is an awesome combo! Made me want a brother lol.

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  3. Re: Fire Balls by Tara Lain

    Truth can be stranger than fiction.
    I actually have a cousin in NY who is an artist and a twink. He found out the hard way that it was necessary for him to be able to protect himself before he found his HEA… thus the blackbelt in Karate. He’s never had to defend his big bear of a husband but never doubt that he would if necessary!

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  4. Another guy for your list – Adam from Rick Reed’s Caregiver. When the MC Dan goes to meet the AIDS Aliiance buddy he’s been assigned to, Adam meets him at the door in a black dress, pearls and heels. Adam is funny and wry and very brave, and sometimes wrong. The book isn’t light, and Adam isn’t the romantic MC, but a great character.

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  5. Brilliant post at C&D, Thorny. Heartfelt and articulate explanation of how the use of that term, however unintended, is both hurtful and disrespectful. Personally, I love reading about a wide range of characters. They do say that variety is the spice of life, after all!

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  6. Great post Thorny! I totally agree that using the term Chicks with Dicks is offensive, not authors writing about more effiminate characters. The fact that other gay men are using this term is aweful. They know how offensive people can be about gay men in general so then to talk as though someone is less of a man because they are more flamboyant, it is really frustrating. I myself, as a woman, love to read about all kinds of characters. Alphas, and effiminate, as long as the character is well developed, I like all peronalities. Some of my favorite books are ones you posted, I would also add the First book One Small Thing, the On Fire books, I could go on and on :)

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  7. Okay I’ve waited all day for someone else to ask but I’m going to have to feel like an idiot on my own. Who is the guy in the silver boots at C&D? He doesn’t look very blond. He looks adorable & gorgeous & happy. The other guy looks like designer Christian Siriano.

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  8. Wonderful post, Thorny. You are so awesome for taking this issue on and drawing attention to it. No one is an enforcer as to what does or does not make someone male, female, trans, etc. We are all different but bigotry has been hard to overcome for so many. Sunlight on an issue can be an effective disinfectant. Truly great job.

    On your books…I LOVED Strawberries for Dessert. It’s on my GR favorites shelf and I’ve read it several times. Cole was absolutely perfect. I think Bad Boyfriend by K.A. Mitchell may also qualify for your list (another on my faves shelf). I also really enjoyed Fire Balls by Tara Lain. That one I put at 4.5 stars so just missed my favorite shelf. And…we have Darryl’s story still to come in the Shattered Glass series which I anxiously await as Darryl was my fave in Shattered Glass.

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  9. I haven’t got any recommendations for you, sweetie, because I don’t read much contemporary romance. Most of my reading is historical and with those a lot depends on the period setting how femme the characters can get away with being in public unless the author is writing historical fantasy. Also different periods and cultures have allowed men in general to express their emotions more strongly in some than others. In century 21 there should be a tacit agreement that there are all kinds of people behaving in all kinds of ways. Some men are far more emotional than, say, me [I’m British and a product of the 50s] and infinitely prettier and more feminine in appearance and there is absolutely nothing at all wrong with that!

    Oh – Fire Balls by Tara Lain. That has a spectacularly gorgeous hero, pretty as a picture with a kick ass attitude. Great fun

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      • Oh thanks Thorny, I’ll add that to my TBR list too.
        I have 2 characters in 2 separate WIPs who are fem – one in 1718 when men were allowed to be utterly gorgeous if they could afford it, with tight waists, maquillage, and huge curly wigs, and the other is a British secret service agent in the 1920s who cross dresses. I would HATE to think that by writing either I’m causing offence to any gay man, or anyone else on the rainbow.
        In any case, I think all the different varieties of men, gay or straight, are a delight in their own way and if you can carry off being gorgeous, go you!

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  10. *waves* Long time no comment! I have just the series for you (Not sure if they are on the list)
    It’s the Sci-Regency Series and I love the first two and can’t wait to read the third. :D

    Let me know if you do try them out bc I am dying to talk about them with someone! lol

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    • Totally read all the Sci-Regencies, Mel! Even the freebies :) I just don’t really see the princes as being effeminate despite not being as butch as their husbands. The princes are young and gay, while their husbands could pass for straight. I guess that’s a trope from yaoi.

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  11. Great post over on Chicks & Dicks, Thorny.

    As Kris and Deedles have said here, it all comes down to labels. We want people to value as for who we are, not for them to take a superficial look and label us.

    Whatever label they give us (or characters/people we identify with) is hurtful because the label shows they are not seeing and respecting us just as we are.

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  12. Wow! I loved your post. Are you sure you’re only twenty? I’m commenting here because I don’t know how to navigate the “select profile” thingy at the other blogs in my lurksphere. Don’t you just hate labels and boxes? Back in the day I was told to “say it loud I’m Black and I’m proud” and “Black is Beautiful” Only I wasn’t “black enough” if I liked the Osmond Brothers as well as the Jackson Five and don’t get me started on country music! I am black and the things I like have nothing to do with that fact. I’m sorry but my mind is like a pinball machine. It bounces all over the place. Who says “real men” don’t behave a certain way? Men don’t cry? Pul-eese! That there is a nurturing thing not a natural thing.

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