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Tuesday Midday News: AJ Llewellyn Admits Adopting Male Persona Despite Being...

It’s election day in many places. I hope if you live in one of those places, you are voting today.


Self published superstar C.J. Lyons has been picked up by Minotaur.  I thought that Lyon’s books were romantic suspense but if they are published by Minotaur, it sounds like they are more thriller?  I believe Minotaur was the publisher of Barry Eisler before he accepted a similar offer from Amazon.  Minotaur also bought three books from Allison Brennan for over $500K soon after Eisler turned down his offer from Minotaur.


In non related book tech news, Republic Wireless is offering low cost cellular service because it falls back and uses wifi whenever possible.  The cost? $19 a month for unlimited text, data, and voice service.

As GigaOm reported last week, it will cost only $19 a month for unlimited text, data, and voice. It can offer these low rates because its phones use a special ‘Hybrid Calling’ system that relies on Wifi whenever possible, falling back to cellular connections when Wifi isn’t available. The initial cellular partner is Sprint, but Republic is working to use other carriers as fallback options as well.

Yeah for competition!


Merrian sent me this link to the Australian Romance Reader survey. Book buying overall is down. Digital usage is up. Paranormals is the most read genre.

  • The most popular sub-genre this past year was contemporary romance, followed closely by historical romance and paranormal romance. But when asked which one sub-genre they read most, the majority of respondents said paranormal romance.
  • The most popular book format is still mass market paperback at 60.4% (but this is down from 69.2% last year). Ebooks on the other hand are up to 24.3% from 19.2% last year.
  • Book buying is down this year, with 59.9% buying less than 5 new romance books a month (46.7% last year) and 22.6% buying 5–10 news books (32.9% last year). Those buying more than 15 new books a month is down from 6.7% last year to just 2.9% this year.

Updated to reflect proper pronoun usagee: M/M author A J Llewellyn has been posting as a gay man for most of his writing career.  He’s allegedly written blog posts about coming out, being a victim of gay bashing, and even hired a man to sign for him at a booksigning.  He apologizes to any reader “who feels lied to” but argues that he is a victim herself.  Ugh.

This unsavory appropriation of an oppressed minority group’s life for profit has always been part of my problem with male pen names in the m/m genre.  It’s done, of course, to gain authenticity; to increase sales of books.  It’s not done because someone has some issue with transgender feelings.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Shiloh Walker
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 11:09:03

    I can’t claim to be familiar with Llewellyn-my thoughts on this are just based on what I read on twitter and her blog.

    I read her blog post re: the apology, and sadly, the whole thing would come across as a lot more genuine if she hadn’t done a few things…hired a guy, even if it just once, used his picture…and then posted stuff about being a victim of gay-bashing.

    She’s not a guy. This might sound harsh, but whether she identifies as a male or not, she’s not a guy, so she can’t be a victim of gay-bashing.

    Now she may very well have been a victim. I know people who identify as another gender do get victimized. But that was never what she said. It makes the whole thing look circumspect.

  2. Avery Flynn
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 11:11:33

    I’m torn on the AJ revelation. A few quotes from AJ’s blog:

    “Part of why I have never revealed myself as ME is both because my work has already alienated my family who call me a prostitute and because it has also affected my career. I lost a job I love when I told a fellow co-worker what I write. They fired me because I quote, write porn.”

    “Yes, I am a biological female but I identify as a man and wish to be known that way. This is my personal preference and my hopeful desire in the future.”

  3. redheadedgirl
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 11:25:37

    @Avery, I agree. Because AJ identifies as a man, that puts a whole new veneer on the situation, and isn’t the same as a “straight woman writes as a man because yeah” situation.

    It’s messy, and it sucks.

  4. Sophia (FV)
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 11:28:46

    Honestly I just assume all m/m authors are female regardless of name, avatar etc. at this point. Heh.

  5. Rose Fox
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 11:55:32

    Sounds to me like Llewellyn is a trans guy who’s struggled a lot with how to present as male online and how to reconcile his inner life with his body and the world’s assumptions, and may have done some stupid things (like making posts about events that didn’t happen) in the process. But he identifies as male and should be addressed and described as such. Saying “he” and “him” doesn’t legitimize his unsavory actions; it just takes his statement of gender identification at face value.

    Is it possible that he’s lying about this too, and really identifies as female? Sure. I would rather err on the side of not misgendering a trans person, though, and focus on the demonstrably problematic things he’s done (with links, ideally) rather than on questioning his statement of identity: pretty much the approach this post takes.

  6. Dee
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 11:58:51

    I’ve been following the AJ situation closely on goodreads, her blog and the blog by the individual who outted her. This isn’t the first time that that individual had alluded to the potential of AJ being female in her blog – I believe the first was in February of this year. So I guess my question is, why didn’t AJ come out then and say something – it might not have been as bad.

    But for me, the biggest issue was the fact that she was writing blog posts about being a gay male, and coming out – fiction is all good and well, but when you represent yourself as a minority group when you aren’t, I have personal issues. I also noted on her blog that there are very few negative comments – from several of the conversations elsewhere, I have a hard time believing that comments aren’t being screened on her blog

  7. Sunita
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 11:59:14

    @Avery Flynn: Someone I consider reliable suggested at another blog that he does identify as a man and has for some time.

    But he also wrote a blog post about working for a movie star and telling that person about his books. If he was so worried about his career being affected, why would he do that? And then blog about it?

    I’m not sure which family has been alienated, since in an interview he said that his father visits him in Hawaii and he has family he sees in CA (and they have big family gatherings in Hawaii).

    It becomes very hard to know what is real and what is made up, which is one of the many reasons I generally don’t really want to know that much about the authors of books I read.

    I agree with Jane that the “coming clean” post spent too much time dwelling on his own victimization and showed no awareness of how he had taken advantage of others. When you write blog posts on major m/m sites about the gay experience and condom usage, and this is in a post you’ve *asked* to write as a gay male author, you’ve gone beyond pen names and author personas. That’s egregiously misrepresenting your life experience.

    [Edited to add links. The photo is the model whose picture he used as his own.]

  8. Isobel Carr
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 12:16:15

    The most popular sub-genre this past year was contemporary romance, followed closely by historical romance and paranormal romance. But when asked which one sub-genre they read most, the majority of respondents said paranormal romance.

    Ok, had to go look at the actual report, cause this confused me. 67.6% of respondents said they read paranormal (about the same as read historical and less than read contemp). But 28.6% of respondants said paranormal was what they read the most (as compared with only 15.6% and 13.7% for contemp/hist respectively). Does this means that a good portion of that 67.6% rarely reads outside the paranormal sub-genre? Cause that’s my take-away.

  9. DS
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 12:24:21

    Found this on Amazon’s discussion group about manipulating review sites and spent an afternoon following links instead of working. I was amused to read one post (from February?) that was thankful DA hadn’t picked up on the story yet.

    I was not persuaded by the apology. It felt more like sorry I was caught than sorry I did something wrong.

  10. Sunita
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 12:33:15

    @Isobel Carr: Not necessarily. They could read 50 PNR, 1 contemp, 1 historical, or 30/20/12, or a range of other proportions. It just means they believe they read more paranormal than anything else. Contemporary and historical readers may read in more romance subgenres. But PNR readers might read a lot outside romance. Hard to know from those questions. The survey didn’t ask respondents to give proportions or to rank order the genres they read.

  11. Isobel Carr
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 13:01:08

    @Sunita: Good point. I just find it odd and kind of confusing.

  12. GrowlyCub
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 13:03:17

    I want to know where the outrage is/was about men appropriating female names to publish books targeted at women (Leigh Greenwood, Madeline Trent, etc, etc, etc). That is and was done also for commercial gain.

  13. Tamara
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 13:09:20

    It doesn’t matter that Llewellyn used a male pen name. A lot of authors use one. I’ve used one.

    I also don’t think ill of Llewellyn for only just now admitting to various deceptions after a few people uncovered the truth. Plenty of people who are basically good people start out with a harmless lie and then get themselves entangled in further lies until they don’t know how on earth to get out of it. It’s human nature. It should be forgiven when the apology is sincere.

    I want to think this apology is sincere. I much prefer to give people all benefit of the doubt. But after reading Llewellyn’s guest post at Jessewave’s blog, a post so laden with hypocrisy my mouth was hanging open by the finish of it, I’m less sure that benefit is deserved.

  14. Isobel Carr
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 13:20:16

    Being transgendered isn’t the issue here, nor is obscuring gender for sales (this is common in many genres). Making false claims of victimization though is highly problematic, and makes it hard to know what’s true and what’s just spin within the apology and “justification” offered up by Llewellyn. It’s a sad, hot mess at this point.

  15. Jane
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 13:28:55

    @DS Many of these scandals are shared with me but if I posted about an author manipulating review sites or cursing out readers every time it occurred, it would be a near daily posting.

  16. Lynne Connolly
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 13:39:45

    there is no reason why an author has to be a real person. There are plenty of examples of people who have written under another persona. I’m not talking about people who write, say, erotica, and who choose to use a pen name, I’m talking about people who have created whole personas to go with their work.
    The auteur phenomenon is relatively recent. Many medieval artists are known as “the master of” this and that, because their names aren’t known.
    So if it’s not seen as deception, rather as a creation, as much as the book, then it takes on a different hue.
    In no way am I saying that AJ chose to do this, just that it’s possible. I don’t know her, or her books, since I don’t read much m/m but that community has always seemed to be very unforgiving and rather harsh.
    I’ve always been honest and chosen to use my own name but there are things I choose not to put online. Does that mean I’m deceiving people? I hope not. I do have what some people would consider deep, dark secrets, but it’s next to impossible to discover them. And it’s not who I am now.

  17. thetroubleis
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 13:43:27


    I think people are upset about that as well. it’s not like it’s impossible to have more than one concern.

    @The post

    I agree with the other poster that if A J Llewellyn identifies as a man, that should be the end of it. Using female pronouns is just disrespectful.
    Trans men who are gay are subject to homophobia *and* transphobia. IMO, this is completely different from straight women writing M/M.

    This doesn’t mean there isn’t reason to be upset. I’d be upset even if an author hired someone who shared all their privileges and marginalizations. If I go to meet an author, I want to meet that person. At the same time, given the hostility expressed towards trans* folks, I can sympathize with those actions.

    I really recommend anyone with a lack of knowledge head over to Questioning Transphobia and reading a variety of posts.

  18. Jane
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 13:44:08

    Just wonder how you all here would feel if it was discovered I wasn’t a lawyer? That would be okay because it would be a creation in an artistic world?

  19. Robin/Janet
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 13:57:08

    @GrowlyCub: I don’t know about Trent (I assume you don’t mean Madeline Brent there, altho I confess I’m not familiar with Madeline Trent), but Greenwood’s pseud has never bothered me because it’s well known he’s a man (his website even has a very manly pic of him, lol). Ditto Tori Carrington and Laura London. What bothers me is the intentional deception and appropriation (i.e. faked authenticity) for commercial gain, not the use of a cross-gender pseud, per se.

  20. Dee
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 14:11:36

    This blog link was posted over in goodreads and part of why, at least to me, i’m so fustrated by the whole thing – – apparently the original link I posted is broken – but it is on this page about halfway down – for the 7th of January

    it wasn’t the fact that she was writing fiction under a male name, but that she was writing blog articles like this.

  21. Avery Flynn
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 14:12:16

    @AJ Have gone off site and read some more. What a hot mess the whole thing is. Having a pen name and persona is one thing. Pretending to live that life in the real world is another.

    I do think there’s a line. Just personal experience here: I write under a pen name. In fact, I created a fake bio for her, however, that bio goes on to state that she only lives in my head. If I were to go out and start authoring articles as an astrophysicist/femme fatale spy for Astrophysicist Spies Quarterly that would be crossing the line.

    This is not to say that AJ can’t live the life of a man or hasn’t experienced hatred and bigotry.

  22. DS
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 14:25:31

    No problems with pseudonyms at all. Not an issue for me.

    Having someone impersonate you at a signing– if I had been one of the people duped I would be pissed off. However, it’s not as though it hasn’t been suspected, even by as famous a writer as Robert Heinlein– However offering written advice on gay male issues really annoys me. I remember how pissed I was when I discovered that the author of The Education of Little Treewas a white man named Asa Earl Carter.

    While I think that on line anonymity has a real value, allowing people to speak out in a way they may not feel comfortable doing under their own name, there’s a difference between being discreet about your circumstances and putting yourself forward as something you are not.

  23. Lynne Connolly
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 14:42:57

    So it’s the fact that AJ didn’t just take on a different persona, it was that he claimed it contributed to his experiences and the books.
    Like that man Frey who posed as a drug addict and then wrote a book about his experiences? But that could be seen as a creative fallacy, and could add to the creative process. I don’t know. I feel awfully sorry for AJ, and if he is finally telling the truth, he strikes me as a vulnerable person. But, you know…?
    That I can understand someone being angry with. It’s not like Dickens covering up the existence of his mistress, because he never claimed that added to his books.
    Are we romance writers expected to write with honesty? I certainly do, but is it a requirement?

  24. Jane
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 14:44:50

    @Lynne Connolly: Lynne, it’s not about writing with honesty. It’s about perpetuating a false appearance for the purposes of financial gain by misappropriating someone else’s oppressed and marginalized experiences without having to suffer the same oppression and marginalization.

  25. Susan Helene Gottfried
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 14:55:40

    Wow. I was going to point out that CJ Lyons first got her start with Penguin for her Three Rivers medical center thrillers, the first of which was apparently a national best-seller.

    But seeing all this about AJ, I think I’ll stay on the sidelines… Oops. Too late.

    Anyway, CJ’s quality people. Glad to see she’s got a new deal.

  26. Ridley
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 15:20:24

    There’s using a pseudonym, and then there’s appropriating a marginalized population’s experiences to sell more books.

    Anyone defending Llewellyn in this needs to do a privilege check.

  27. Lynne Connolly
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 15:22:35

    I get that, Jane. And yes, I do think that’s the heart of the problem.
    Do you think AJ did it with that in mind? I should add that I don’t know him, have never, to my knowledge, met him or had anything to do with him.
    Just trying to understand because I think it has relevance to artistic integrity and the question of authorial importance to the work in hand. Part of what makes me wonder is that the transgendered person can often have a worse time than the gay person who has a defined identity and a community.
    When he was in America, Marcel Duchamp became Rose Selavy, wouldn’t answer to anything else, and dressed and acted as her. He created different works for Rose, and although they are usually now exhibited as Duchamps, they are actually Rose Selavy’s.
    And the recent London Leonardo exhibition brings up the authorship of the two Virgins of The Rocks. How much of each one is due to his workshop, and how much by the master himself? One reason they don’t want to say is because of monetary value (if the Paris one is mainly workshop, that devalues it considerably) but it’s undoubtedly true that his workshop was responsible for a lot of the painting that you see.
    Does that make it less Leonardo? Does the fact that Michelangelo did the whole of the Sistine Chapel ceiling on his own (with one assistant to mix the paints) a better work of art?
    Maybe I’m just overthinking it. I’ll go and NaNo now. Or, as we say over here, “I’ll get my coat.”

  28. Alex
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 15:22:59

    Ugh! On behalf of my gay friends who have been ostracized and bashed, I want to just scream. I do not GET this behavior at ALL.

    Women write for this genre all the time and their sales do just fine. I am penning a novel right now and my editor is a gay man. He knows I’m a woman. He knows I write as a straight (sort of) woman. He LOVES my novel.

    Take a look on Plenty of women are writing stories that gay MEN ARE READING. There is no NEED to appropriate THEIR oppression as your own. If you want to play the victim, trust me, as women we are VICTIMIZED PLENTY.

    I am so ANGRY. >>>8( I thought it was an anomoly of the other write I read in this genre that pretended to be a man. I don’t know what to believe now since they both claim to be transgender. Is this the go-to excuse, or do they feel that way?

    If she lived her life, as she claimed(oh yes, I’m using she because of what I’m about to write next), then why would SHE (as stated in her blog) say “I was advised to do so as a man” ??? She was living as a man, yes? Why would they advise her to identify herself as a man? Unless she presented her novels to the publisher AS A WOMAN!?

    If she lived her life as a man, why would she need to :”I chose initials instead of a name and found very quickly that I was very comfortable being A.J.” She already would have had a gender neutral name or a male-gendered identity name.

    I call BS. And I’m angry.

  29. Jill Sorenson
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 15:34:40

    I think it’s more polite to address anyone who identifies as male as “he.” Doing otherwise sort of denies and erases the existence of transgendered people. I’m also uncomfortable with the assertions that a transgendered person is “not a guy” and can’t be the victim of gay-bashing.

    Gay people exist, transgendered people exist, and some people are both.

    That said, I can understand the skepticism about this particular author. If he says he identifies as male, but actually lives his life as a straight woman and encounters no discrimination…yikes. Considering the level of deception already revealed, I don’t blame anyone for suspecting this.

  30. diremommy
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 15:39:41

    The thing is, AJ didn’t “come out” as a female transgendered author. AJ got caught, was called out, exposed publicly, and THEN he came clean on his blog, and still managed to make it about the big ol’ meanies who exposed him, and not about the lies he told.

    I have no problem with pseudonyms, many people use them, especially in the erotica and M/M genres. What I have problems with is how far this author took things, the blog posts, articles and interviews giving advice as a gay male, and then the acting the victim and blaming others when he was caught.

  31. Daisy
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 15:42:55

    @Alex: it says in the linked blog that he took on the AJ pseudonym four years ago. I’ve never heard of this author before so I may be missing some context here, but it doesn’t seem impossible to me that he’s only begun living as a man some time in the past four years.

  32. LVLMLeah
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 15:54:52

    I don’t really have a horse in the Llewellyn story. I don’t care what he/she identifies as or that he writes as a gay male. He can be whatever he wants. However, what’s kind of sad is that his excuse is the bullying he’s suffered for the way he is and what he writes when clearly his audience is NOT prejudicial towards the GLBT community or authors. Why an elaborate ruse towards an accepting audience like this?

    Many authors who are well known in the m/m genre are all over the board: lesbian, bi, gay, female, male, whatever. And all are accepted by the general m/m reading audience.

    So it’s just mainly sad to me that he felt the need to not be who he is. Or that he didn’t at the very least just not talk about gender, sexual identity or other RL experience like many authors don’t.

  33. Liz
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 16:02:51

    @Jane: So, let me get this right, Jane. What you think is that a trans man who lives as a man and identifies as gay is not oppressed and marginalized? How can you make that statement when reading up on ANY trans experience makes it perfectly clear the oppression and marginalization trans men face is the same, if not often worse, than that men in the gay community face?

    Frankly, the degree to which your commments, Jane, reveal not just a lack of knowledge about the T in the GLBT community but active transphbia HORRIFIES me. Please, go and check yur facts before you say things like that.

    The trend of some of these post to veer into transphobic territory is frightening. What some of you are doing by making statements about trans people that are totally unfounded is trans bashing.

  34. Alex
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 16:03:14

    @Daisy: THat’s fair. Maybe that’s true. Blah. If that’s the case than I retract my statements.

    I’m still skeptical, but I’d give someone the benefit of the doubt. If he is transgendered, then he’s experienced not just bashing from straights but gays as well. It’s a real problem that transgenders face. Even Dan Savage has been transphobic.

    On the other hand, pretending to be a gay man and being married to another gay man all the while these are both your persona… not to mention he wrote articles on gay sex from a male point of view and talked about “coming out”.

    Only he didn’t come out, did he. He’s just coming out NOW.

    I’m really conflicted, but I’m leaning towards liar.

    If he is lying, then he’s once again using the GLBT community. It’s abhorrent.

    @Jill ” think it’s more polite to address anyone who identifies as male as “he.” Doing otherwise sort of denies and erases the existence of transgendered people. I’m also uncomfortable with the assertions that a transgendered person is “not a guy” and can’t be the victim of gay-bashing.”

    I would agree, except in cases where the person is not actually transgendered and is actually diminishing those who fight for the rights of transgendered and genderqueer people.

    I’m not saying he’s not a guy. I just do not want to acknowledge someone as genderqueer who only identifies as such because they got caught in a lie.

    I refer to Jesse Hajicek by he, because to me, he is a man. That is how he identifies. In fact I’m only reminded that Jesse has said he’s transgendered because of this article and I was struggling to recall an instance of an author who has written books and from the beginning has stated that he is f-m transgender.

    If, in fact, AJ was transgendered, he would have had some very unique struggles to share with the world and not needed to appropriate an identity and then a SECOND appropriation that diminishes the struggle of gay men AND transgendered/genderqueer individuals.

    Oh and I often tell people that I’m a gay man in a woman’s body. I’ve felt that way for 20 years. I don’t go around talking about how I’m oppressed. Just to give a clue how that affects my life: my family is staunch conservative republicans and my immediate family is evangelical. I STILL WOULDN”T CLAIM VICTIMIZATION on par with gay men!!! >8(

    Also – sorry for shift key abuse. I’m angry! My pinky just naturally reaches for that button when I want to scream at the screen (not at you, but at A.J)

  35. Liz
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 16:06:45

    You said:
    If she lived her life, as she claimed(oh yes, I’m using she because of what I’m about to write next), then why would SHE (as stated in her blog) say “I was advised to do so as a man” ??? She was living as a man, yes? Why would they advise her to identify herself as a man? Unless she presented her novels to the publisher AS A WOMAN!?

    I say:
    Maybe, because at that time, he hadn’t come out as transgendered yet. This was over 4 yars ago, from what I understand, and I was even more difficult them than it is now to live life as a trans man (or trans woman, for that matter).

    Would you please at least consider that beofre you join the group of bashers?

  36. Alex
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 16:07:45

    @Liz: What on earth are you talking about?

    “So, let me get this right, Jane. What you think is that a trans man who lives as a man and identifies as gay is not oppressed and marginalized? How can you make that statement when reading up on ANY trans experience makes it perfectly clear the oppression and marginalization trans men face is the same, if not often worse, than that men in the gay community face?

    Frankly, the degree to which your commments, Jane, reveal not just a lack of knowledge about the T in the GLBT community but active transphbia HORRIFIES me. Please, go and check yur facts before you say things like that.

    The trend of some of these post to veer into transphobic territory is frightening. What some of you are doing by making statements about trans people that are totally unfounded is trans bashing.”

    Where did Jane say that? Where on earth are you reading? Are you on a different website or planet?

    Jane’s statements have been exactly the OPPOSITE of what you’re claiming. *boggle*

  37. Liz
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 16:09:15

    I need to correct you here: the level of bullying and lack of acceptance of trans people within the GLBT community is very high.

    The above posts from people who lack any sort of sensitvity towards or understanding of the trans experience is proof in itself.

  38. Liz
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 16:11:15

    @Alex: See post 24.

  39. Alex
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 16:22:34

    @Liz: You are misreading what she is saying there. She is talking about AJ pretending to be a gay MAN, not about the transgendered issue. You would agree those are two separate issues, yes?

  40. Liz
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 16:27:53

    @Alex: She is mixig the two.

    “It’s about perpetuating a false appearance for the purposes of financial gain”

    This implies he is not a trans man identifying as gay (false apearance), where I believe he should at the very least be given the benefit of the doubt.

    “by misappropriating someone else’s oppressed and marginalized experiences without having to suffer the same oppression and marginalization”

    This purports that, as a trans man identifying as gay, he did not suffer oppression and marginalization. Yes, it may e slightly different, but, honestly: if a trans man looks like a man, behaves like a gay man, who is to say others will not react to him as though he was a gay man?

  41. Liz
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 16:31:00

    @Alex: I essence, I was trying to say that, in my experience, they are often the ame issue. In other cases they are nt, it depends on how far a trans man (or woman) has gone and is able to pass as the gender he/she wishes to live in.

  42. Jane
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 16:33:06

    @Liz I’m saying that using appropriating the gay man’s lifestyle for one’s own profit is unsavory. This person has come out yesterday? to say that he self identifies as a man yet his public declarations aren’t as a transgendered person, but as a gay man. Certainly transgendered individuals suffer quite a bit of ostracism and oppression. But in this case, this person’s past history online and in the promotion of his books have been as a gay man and yes, I do feel that is appropriation.

    Edited to add: Even beyond the misappropriation is the concern about the misleading for authenticity. I’ve never liked that. I actually feel that bringing up the issue of insensitivity about transgendered issues is a bit of a derailment. No one seems to want to answer the question I posed about my own authenticity.

    How about if a man came onto these blogs and posed as a Navy SEAL and spoke about his war experiences and suffering from PTSD, seeing his brothers die in combat. He did so to sell his own books featuring fictional Navy Seal heroes only it comes out that he’s not a SEAL, hasn’t ever served in the military.

  43. Liz
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 16:36:28

    @Jane: Even if that is the life he wishes to live you would call it appropriation?

    I find that very harsh!!!

  44. Isobel Carr
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 16:38:00

    @Liz: I think what many of us are saying is that given the multiple levels of deception and wtfery, no one knows what is true. Is this person transgendered, or is that just more BS? Given what has already transpired, it’s hard to give Llewellyn the benefit of the doubt.

  45. Alex
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 16:39:31

    @Liz: The problem is that, as Jane mentions, he has not been marginalized because he has not identified as a transgendered individual but as a GAY MAN.

    THey ARE the same issue – gay and transgendered – both victimized, but to say that you’re a gay man is not the same as saying you’re a trasgendered man.

    At no time have I ever got the feeling that any of the comments have been transphobic. People are angry on BEHALF of transgendered individuals and gay men because they feel this author is USING their plight.
    Edited to change pronouns because even if I don’t believe this person is transgender – I believe this person is lying to escape criticism – just in CASE – he deserves to be called by what he identifies as. And I would be ashamed of myself if he did turn out to be transgendered and I had been so careless.

  46. Jane
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 16:42:45

    @Liz That is not what I am saying. I think you are taking specific instances and applying it broadly. This person has written about life as a gay man. He has done this to promote his books. His experiences that he has chosen to share with us may or may not be true. They are certainly conflicting, see infra, previous links provided by Sunita as opposed to what Llewellyn has said in his apology blog post. Appropriation is grossly unfair because it diminishes the suffering of those who are marginalized and oppressed.

  47. Liz
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 16:45:26

    @Jane: First: it is not clear to me how you can say AJ did this for his own financial gain. If you go and read his blog it should become obvious that he picked the name at the time on his publisher’s request (as misguided as that may have been!). This implies he would not have been published ohterwise. Which author could resist that prospect?

    I am conscious of giving him the benefit of the doubt here, and I hope you can, too, that he was NOT at the time living as a man, but has made that change in his life since then.

    Second: Your SEAL example is very different from the situation a trans person faces. The SEAL experience, in your example, was not something the man actually had, and so I would agree with you that he lied to sell more books.

    A trans man identifying as gay, and licign his life as such, does face most of the same issues a gay man faces. Yes, some of them are different, but not enouhg to say point blank, as you did in post 24, that there is no similarity at all and that it is pure misapropritaion.

  48. Liz
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 16:49:47

    @Alex: I am sorry, but as a transgendered person, I do feel that some of these comments are transphobic. I realize that I may be the only one here who thinks so. *shrugs*

    Thank you for changing the pronoun – as you say, people deserve to be called what they identify as. That is a great step in the direction of more respect towards trans people.

  49. Liz
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 16:51:06

    @Jane: Jane, saying that someone has appropriated experiences without knowing the facts of what happened is, in my very personal opinion, just as unfair.

  50. diremommy
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 16:57:40

    @Liz: You can WANT to live as someone all you want. That doesn’t mean you HAVE lived as someone, and doesn’t give you the right to make claims of living as someone you aren’t.

    I might WANT to be a soldier, but I’m not, and me going around writing books about being in a war, giving my experiences of being in a way, and even hiring someone who could LOOK LIKE a soldier to do appearances as me, all to sell a fictional war series would be WRONG. (to borrow Jane’s navy seal example)

  51. Alex
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 16:59:09

    @Liz: I wonder if you’ve read all the links that pertain to this story. I’ve hardly penetrated the mess of it.

    This person not only claimed to be a man, but a gay man living with another gay man. He wrote articles describing condom use (FROM HIS PERSPECTIVE AS A GAY MAN). Would you still say this was not appropriating a marginalized community?

    Oh and as for living as a gay man recently, that appears to be debunked as I’ve just read that people have met AJ recently and he identified as a woman to them.

  52. Liz
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 17:00:58

    @diremommy: You have just confirmed to me that you do not understand trans people in the least. If someone passes as the gender he or she identifies with, that means NOBODY KNOWS THE DIFFERENCE. Consequently, they treat that person the same way they would treat someone who came by that gender (and identification) genetically.

  53. Fionn J
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 17:01:44

    I wouldn’t give two shits about a woman writing M/M.

    But writing blog entries about BEING a gay man?

    That is so many different kinds of messed up that a lot of people seem to be forgiving.

  54. cs
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 17:03:20

    @Liz: I honestly have no idea what you are even saying or why you’re attacking Jane.It’s not like she made a whole post dedicated to this issue. She mentioned as a news article on what’s happening in the publishing world. Jane had a opinion on the matter and that’s it. It’s not like she crucifying A J Llewellyn here.

    In my personal experience any author that has initials in their name…well I always feel like they’re playing the “I may be gay” game. I don’t care. I assume 90% of the M/M writers ARE female. I’m more surprised when they aren’t. I have never read any of A J Llewellyn’s book not my thing. The whole set-up shocks me. I’m not sure why A J Llewellyn would need to lie about being transgender if that is the case. I think it’s a little odd you’d need to lie about that especially if you’re writing gay fiction. Then again the author doesn’t need to tell me that especially if they’re coming to terms with it themselves. I don’t know the back story and to be blunt nor do I care. However, I have the right to go WTF at this. I think Jill Sorenson mentioned that there is validation for people believing the whole supposed truth story as well. I agree. Personally if this was an author I actually followed and really liked I’d probably be disappointed. I’m just more confused about the whole production of this.

  55. Liz
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 17:03:38

    @Alex: A lot of things that have appeared recently are rumors, none of them that I could find were verifyable. So forgive me for being skeptical.

  56. Jane
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 17:06:38

    @Liz I can see that this is a deep personal issue for you and I’m sorry if my comments to you seem inappropriate. My comments are directed toward this particular case with this particular set of facts.

  57. Liz
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 17:07:59

    @Jane: Thank you Jane, I appreciate that. I was looking at the wider implications of some statments, not just yours, and those just worried me, as you say, deeply. This is beginning to look like a witchhunt to me, and I had hoped we had outgrown those. Clearly, I am mistaken.

  58. Ridley
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 17:10:43

    @Liz: A transman isn’t a gay man.


  59. Liz
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 17:15:25

    @cs: I am sorry to say that some of her comments, as well as many others’, do look to me like people are ready to crucify AJ without giving him the benefit of the doubt, and without trying to understand his situation.

    Who among us has never lied – where one lie seemed harmless? Who has never gotten caught up in these lies to the point where anything we did would be used against us? I, for my part, cannot say that about me. So I refuse to condemn someone else for the choices he has made. For which, by the way, he has apologized many times now. What else can he do?

    We are all perfect decison makers with hindsight. Without that – I cannot say that all of mine have been perfect. Can you?

  60. Moriah Jovan
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 17:17:30


    A trans man identifying as gay, and licign his life as such, does face most of the same issues a gay man faces.

    Ah, except for that pesky penis thing. Sorry, but a discussion about sex between men without a condom and why he prefers not to supposes that both parties actually have a penis upon which to put the condom.

    Therefore, the experience is not, in fact, authentic. Yet he claimed it was. He brought anatomy into it.

    There’s only so much gay male experience you can have without an actual penis.

  61. Fionn J
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 17:22:08

    @Liz: AJ could have AT ANY TIME admitted to being a woman.

    There was no gag over his mouth. Ever.

    The only reason he ever admitted to being a woman, was because someone outed him. Had this not happened, the whole fiasco would’ve never occurred.

    So, please. Don’t ever make it sound like he never had a choice. He did. AJ just never took it.

  62. Liz
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 17:25:07

    @Fionn J: And why should he have? Are you the ‘identity police’ to tell people how they should manage their public persona? What gives ANYone the right to out someone else? Coming out is an extremely personal decision and should never be forced. A lot of damage can be done that way.

  63. Fionn J
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 17:33:06

    @Liz: What? Coming out? What about AJ being outed is seen as coming out? You’ve completely lost me.

    AJ was a woman pretending to be a man IN HER BLOG. She was OUTED as being a WOMAN.

    What does that have to do with coming out?

    Let me make this clear for you.

    AJ was never a gay man. EVER. She might’ve wanted to be, but she never was.

    Not a gay man. Was really a woman.

    Again, let me reiterate. What does that have to do with coming out?


  64. LVLMLeah
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 17:35:00


    I never said that transgendered people don’t suffer bullying at the hands of pretty much every group, particularly within the GLBT community. I said that his reading audience are the accepting types and to feel the need to create an elaborate false persona is sad.

    But why come out as a gay person and not transgender if you’re going to come out?

    I’m not talking about judgment from the general population, or the general GLBT community, I’m talking about the type of reader who mainly reads m/m romance and his books in particular. And I’ve been around this community, their blogs for a long time and I’ve never seen any bashing of an author based on their identification.

    A whole host of other reasons, yes, but not their sexual or gender identification.

    And you seem to be mixing up criticism about deceit as an attack on transgender persons just because the person involved is transgender. They are two different things and don’t relate.

  65. Ann Somerville
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 17:35:03


    “A transman isn’t a gay man.

    Period. ”

    You’re wrong. A trans man is a man. If he’s gay, he’s a gay man.


    I venture to suggest that Fiona meant that Llewellyn could have made the admission he made in his blog before now, especially as rumours have been flying for some time.

    However, as it’s been coupled with his statement of being transgendered, then that definitely complicates the issue, and of course no one should be forced to come out as trans, gay or anything else.

    Some of Llewellyn’s actions can be explained as a trans man trying to come to terms with his identity – and some can not. That’s what’s making it difficult for people to focus on the real culpability Llewellyn bears for fake articles, attacking former associates with gay relatives, and so on.

    We do have to try, and do have to try not to pour hate, even inadvertently, on trans people out of disgust at his actions.

    On a side note: Llewellyn’s co-author (rumoured to be alternate personality), D J Manly has quietly changed their Facebook gender flag to female. I doubt it will make the slighest difference to readers, nor should it. But I do wish people would stop playing games with pen names when there’s no need – i.e. the genre is already incredibly accepting of female writers, and all sexualities and genders, so there’s no way anyone can claim that having a male pen name is in any way necessary to their career.

  66. Ros
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 17:38:23

    I have nothing to say about the Llewellyn case per se, but the wider question of authors adopting authorial personas is one that interests me very much. Obviously there is a long tradition of pseudonymic writing, and an equally (?) long tradition of adopting pseudonyms of the other gender, or gender-ambiguous pseudonyms. I might wish that society was such that no one felt obliged to do that, or that there was no financial incentive to do so, but there has been in the past and, as far as I know, there might still be today.

    What does seem to me to have changed is the author-reader relationship. Even twenty years ago, very few readers ever ‘knew’ the authors of the books they read. Some authors might be interviewed occasionally but if they wanted to, it was easy to maintain the separation between their personal and authorial identities and lives. Now, almost every author is expected to maintain an online presence which allows readers to interact with them in some way. Readers feel like they know authors when they chat in comments on a blog or exchange tweets. I think that puts the author who has chosen to adopt an authorial persona in a difficult moral situation. If the reader assumes they are getting to know the real person, but in fact they are only getting to know the adopted persona, then I think that is deceitful and dishonest. As a reader, if I were duped in that way, I would feel hurt and betrayed. I would feel that even more if the author had claimed to be offering advice based on their own experiences which turned out not to be real.

    I don’t think authors are obliged to share their lives with their readers. I think they are entitled to maintain whatever level of privacy they choose. I don’t think that authors are entitled to deceive their readers either and if they do, they should expect some outcry if they are found out. One solution that occurs to me is for authors to be upfront when they use a pseudonym (I remember that the James Herriot books always said in the front matter that his name was a pseudonym). I think it could be fun for a pseudonymous author to have a website which everyone knows is not real – a chance to be as outrageous as you want! And that way, you’re not in danger of hurting anyone.

  67. azteclady
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 17:45:49

    We have all done things we regret. We have all made mistakes–more than one of us, I’d bet, have compounded the original mistake before rectifying the situation.

    So I’m not getting the pitchfork just yet.


    What I find troubling about the apology are two things.

    First, the line quoted by Jane in the post: “I don’t know what else to do except to say I am sorry to all my readers who feel lied to.” Followed by one of the last lines: “The past few days have been so agonizing I have felt suicidal.”

    The first implies doubt about the readers’ right to feel betrayed/duped/lied to. The second (truth or not) feels emotionally manipulative.

    Whether or not those were the author’s intentions, that’s how it comes across to me–and though I’m not a fan of AJ Llewellyn, I don’t appreciate either. I understand why his fans and readers wouldn’t either.

  68. diremommy
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 17:48:34

    Privacy, yes. Authors have a right to privacy. AJ was actively pretending to be someone else. AJ invited people into his life as a gay male, when he, in fact, was NOT a gay male.

    I have no problem with an author creating a name, and even a fictional bio, so long as that is the end of it. The fake bio that is on the back of your book, is on your web site, that identifies the author as the author. But then when said author takes that fake bio out into the world at large- speaking as that fake person, giving advice as that fake person, hiring a stand in to appear as you at signings and events, and calling out people who are actually what you in reality are (AJ’s blogs against on female writers “cashing in” on the m/m romance craze), you’ve taken it several steps too far past simply creating your writer’s persona.

  69. Berinn Rae
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 17:54:39

    What it all boils down to is author-reader trust, not gay, trans, or anything else. What of the readers who had their books signed by the AJ impersonator? Imagine standing in line to have a book signed by [insert your favorite author’s name], only to have it signed by someone who may not even have read the book. I would feel scammed and would never buy that author’s books again. Our readers deserve better than that.

  70. Mary Anne Graham
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 18:15:50

    Congrats to CJ Lyons.Any lady who practiced pediatric ER Medicine for 17 years and retained enough positive energy to write romance is a real life heroine in my book.

    You go CJ —

  71. Sunita
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 18:22:50

    I’ve read a number of posts and discussions and I’ve read through Llewellyn’s blog. The links I provided above are all what he said himself, either at his own blog or in interviews.

    There are just so many inconsistencies. Another one: in his mea culpa post AJL says:

    I lost a job I love when I told a fellow co-worker what I write. They fired me because I quote, write porn.

    But on his own blog he said he was laid off from his job as part of the Writer’s Strike casualties:

    Sadly, the last time that happened was when I was gainfully employed by a major studio, which last year laid off a lot of us in the fallout from the Writer’s Strike. I’ve been lucky to still find work coming my way because I’ve been doing it so long and I think my passion for words still shows.

    This has nothing to do with the gender identity he holds, or the fact that 4 years ago he made the decision to take a gender-neutral pen name. I don’t know if he attacked his co-author in the ways described. I do know that when I try to piece together a consistent story using his own words, it doesn’t go well.

    [Edited to add quote from linked post]

  72. Patrice
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 18:23:22

    What a mess! A pseudonym or pen name is very different from what this author has been doing. It reminds me a little of fan fic or role playing games where you never knew the sex or age or actual identity of the characters you interacted with online, but taken to the extreme. It seems to me that irregardless of how this author actually self-identifies, they have created an even more difficult life for themselves by perpetuating multiple lies for over a 4 year period. Life is complicated enough without all the lies.

    Movie quote; “Can a lie ever be good? No.” Georgia Rules

    I am a tad bemused by this entire accusatory comment thread. I guess I shall have to start triple thinking what/how/when I say anything to anyone to avoid “transbashing” which I didn’t even know was something I should try to avoid with a simple pronoun. I do have gay, bi and lesbian friends and our city manager is a transgender woman. So I haven’t lived under a rock. Although I do tend to avoid people bashing in general. Now let me contradict myself!

    – to quote ancient SNL; “Jane, you ignorant slut”. You’re not a lawyer? Who do you think you are? The nerve! Wait, you were just saying you aren’t a lawyer? The nerve! I am outraged. and confused. I mean I would be outraged if you were being serious about not being a lawyer. But…well whatever. “Jane, you ignorant slut.” “Dan, you pompous ass.” LOL I miss those Point – Counterpoint sketches. ;-)

  73. Ridley
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 19:00:11

    @Ann Somerville: That doesn’t make sense. I mean it’s practically the same, but it’s not exactly the same thing. Totally different biology and different experiences.

    I’d call it the “same” in terms of meeting with or chatting with someone socially, but it’s not the “same” enough for writing from the perspective of a gay man in a non-fiction sense. It’s a different narrative with its own set of challenges and benefits. A gay transman is a gay transman.

  74. Merrian
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 19:03:09

    @Isobel Carr: I was also taken by the clear preference/rise in online book buying which includes not only e-books but print. This highlights the ongoing issue with book distribution I think.

  75. Ann Somerville
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 19:12:45


    A trans man is a man. Period. Saying otherwise is transphobic.

    If you’re actually talking about experiences of sex, then apart from penetrating someone, talking about how a biologically formed penis feels, that’s different. But a trans man, like a woman, can do everything else that a biologically gendered can.

    If a trans man is pre-op, and not taking testosterone, their emotional responses won’t be exactly the same as some biological men, but even XY men have different responses and testosterone levels. You can’t say they’re all different to all trans men.

    Llewellyn claims to have been gay-bashed. If he was living as a woman, passing as a woman, and out with his boyfriend, then I say *that’s* an experience he can’t claim to have had as a gay man *at that point*.

    But be aware that this entire discussion is really painful for trans and genderqueer people to read, let alone participate in, so can you please be ultra careful in making statements about who is and isn’t a ‘real’ gay man?

  76. Ann Somerville
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 19:13:23

    my response to Ridley isn’t going to appear, looks like. Must have used a bad word. Oh well.

  77. Kaetrin
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 19:15:37

    @Jane. I would feel disappointed if it turned out you weren’t a lawyer or weren’t a woman. I wasn’t disappointed to know you use a pseudonym on this site. I’ve seen you report on legal type issues regarding DRM, copyright, publishing here at DA and I read it against the background that you are a lawyer. There is a level of respect and belief I afford you because you have held yourself out to be a lawyer and, while you have been careful to say that you are not giving personal legal advice and anyone directly affected should seek advice (which is SUCH a lawyer thing to do!!:D), you have brought your legal expertise to those posts. If it turned out that you weren’t a lawyer, I’d be disappointed because I’d feel I’d been lied to and for no good reason. (I wouldn’t lose sleep over it because whether or not you are a lawyer isn’t really important to my day to day life of course, but it would disappoint and I would have less trust for you in general).
    Similarly, if it turned out that you weren’t a woman, I’d be disappointed because here at DA you often talk about female empowerment, etc.
    But, using a pseudonnym is fine – that’s for your personal and professional privacy and safety and why would anyone have an issue with that?

    I don’t care who writes my m/m romance – I’m in it for the story, so if the writer is male or female or uses a pseudonym, I don’t care. But, I do think that giving advice about how to live in the real world as a gay man, or relating to people about “shared” experiences as gay man if you are not in fact a gay man is bad behaviour. The apology didn’t wring much sympathy from me I’m afraid.

  78. Jane
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 19:19:01

    @Kaetrin For the record, I am a lawyer but I do think that most of the readership would be angered, saddened, disappointed, etc. if I wasnt’.

  79. Kaetrin
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 19:36:05

    @Jane – I knew you were! (I’ve worked with lawyers for many years and I can spot legal writing a mile off!)
    The point about the AJL thing is the mis/appropriation of course (and that was the point you were making) and it’s not restricted to gay/trans m/m romance writers.

  80. Ridley
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 19:39:49

    @Ann Somerville: All right. I will.

    In terms of experience, though, I was thinking more of the whole transitioning process and passing or not passing coloring the gay trans experience in a distinctive way. I wasn’t talking about sex.

  81. Alex
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 19:40:53

    Was going to make a really long post to Ridley. My fingers got tired from smashing my keyboard bout this whole subject in other blogs. So I’ll just do this:

    @Ann Somerville: <—what she said.

  82. Anon E Mouse
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 20:15:05

    You know, it’s just ridiculous, imo. There is no need to hide who and what we are from anyone. I’ve been writing in the m/m genre (as myself, with a female pseudonym because I am, in fact, female) longer than AJ has and I never once came across this supposed ‘pressure’ from publishers to pretend to be men. And I’ve been published with a good number of different pubs so surely if this was a thing it’d have come up? Readers don’t care who or what goes down in your bedroom. Unless you push it in their face, like AJ chose to do, and make your online persona about your gender/sexuality.

    And now that’s come back to bite AJ. Dishonesty always does. Do I think AJ did it maliciously? Doubtful. Does it make it any more okay that it happened? Not a drop. AJ chose to make hir author persona a true lie, not just a pseudonym. No one really thinks authors are their pseudonyms unless the author goes way far out of their way to perpetuate the lie.

    That is where I think a lot of people are having a problem. AJ didn’t just take on a male pseudonym at a publisher’s request. AJ perpetuated a massive lie to everyone they ever dealt with online (and off in some cases, apparently).

  83. Anonymous
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 20:25:13

    “But he also wrote a blog post about working for a movie star and telling that person about his books. If he was so worried about his career being affected, why would he do that? And then blog about it?”

    That fake blog post was when I knew/guessed he/she wasn’t real. I remember it well. I almost choked when I saw it. And when I read about him/her finding the puppy and rescuing it from the middle of the LA freeway that made me think twice, too. The only thing I never saw or read on his/her posts or public comments was that he was blessed by the pope and saved a basket full of kittens in the same day. Seriously. “Winning.”

    “For the record, I am a lawyer but I do think that most of the readership would be angered, saddened, disappointed, etc. if I wasnt’.”

    I’d be more disappointed if I found out you were really a tranny :)

  84. Anon E Mouse
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 20:40:44

    I’m also confused about the contradictory oppression AJ is talking about in hir post. AJ says that they were fired for writing porn, but also says they live as a transman. So the people AJ works for have zero issue with a pre-op (and thus likely not able to pass) transman, but are horrified to the point of firing hir by the fact that AJ writes erotic novels? That’s some very assbackwards phobias. One would think that people so stick up the ass that they’d fire someone for writing a dirty book would be the same kind of people to fire someone/never hire someone for being trans and out. Hmmm.

  85. Alex
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 20:42:54

    “I’d be more disappointed if I found out you were really a tranny :)”

    What the F**cking F*ck F*CKERY does that mean? >>>8(

    I am seriously going to punch out my keyboard keys at this rate. DId you seriously just TYPE THAT?

  86. Anah Crow
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 20:54:34

    “I’d be more disappointed if I found out you were really a tranny :)”

    What the actual fuck? I’m going to second Alex with “Did you seriously just type that?”

    I wasn’t going to weigh in on this at all, but that’s beyond my ability to shut up.

    First, why would you be disappointed? That’s transphobic. Period. Seriously, I’m just in WTF-ville here. I don’t even, people.

    Second, don’t use that word. It’s offensive and I’m hard-pressed to believe someone doesn’t know that these days.

    Don’t do it. It’s wrong. It’s not funny. You’re not funny. And I’m not overreacting. Thanks.

  87. Tasha
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 20:57:11

    Like some other commenters, I find it interesting that a woman who created an elaborate identity as a cisgendered gay man is all of a sudden saying no, really, I’m a transman. Were it not for all of the blog posts, all of the discussions based on his identity as a cisgendered man, I think a lot of people would be a lot less upset. Yes, there is prejudice in the GLBT community against transmen. But to claim to be cisgendered as the opposite gender is not the way to handle it.

  88. Treasure
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 21:17:51

    I’ve watched the comments roll in both here and on Teddy Pig’s site all day. It’s late and my gate keeper has worn off for the day. So fwiw, my thoughts as a reader.

    I’m o.k. with a pen name. I can get past making up a personality to go with the pen name, although I would wish you to disclose that. It’s another step into a very gray area when you hire someone to play you at a public event. I would also wish that hiring an actor to play your made up pen name personality, would be disclosed.

    But the lack of social responsibility in representing yourself as a gay man, and making up experiances you have had as a gay man is totally reprehensible. It cheapens and makes a mockery of the struggles actual gay men have every day.

    Remember in this country to our shame too many of our gay youth have chosen not to continue with lie at all rather than to continue to live a life bullied for being gay.

  89. Merrian
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 21:18:51

    @Isobel Carr: The other thing I meant to say was that given this is mainstream Aussie romance readers the rise in m/m is interesting. In the ‘named other’ category 8 of 19 book types mentioned were m/m

  90. Ridley
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 21:55:44

    @Alex: Would I be going to hell if I admit that I read that and thought, “Oh good, now I’m not the thread bigot anymore”?

  91. Alex
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 22:04:24

    @Ridley: I never think you come off as a bigot. I think you are just ignorant. Like I was about the whole handicapped/disabled/handicapable thing. I was ignorant, you educated me.

    You were ignorant, we educated you.

    That’s what these discussions are about. End of.

    Now anonymous there has ALLL MY RAGE. It’s effing 5am here and I seriously cannot sleep because I’m so filled WITH RAEG.


  92. Jane
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 22:43:35

    @Anonymous I’m not sure what you mean by your last statement and I hope you refrain from using it here again.

  93. SAO
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 23:09:15

    As authors are increasingly expected to do their own marketing and interact with readers through blogs and social media, it’s no big surprise that a fiction writer “improved” her persona with a large dose of fiction.

    (Frankly from reading all this, I’m left with the impression that the transman deal is more fiction, so I will use “she.”)

    The world has a reasonable number of inveterate confabulators. When they write fiction well, we reward them; when they compulsively lie, we are outraged. It’s the same talent.

    I expect more Aj Llewellens to appear in the future.

  94. Barbara
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 04:21:28

    @Jane: Well damn, I was scrolling, scrolling, thinking no one was going to address how they’d feel if they found out you weren’t a lawyer and there Kaetrin goes, jumping in. :)

    I agree with her. I’d be shocked and pretty disappointed – I know pretty close to zilch about most of the type of law you (and Courtney Milan) talk about, so I’m giving you my trust when I read the articles you post and in your commentary.

    I’ve also used a lot of your technical advice with Calibre and reading devices. That’s not an area that you could be deceptive about, it’s pretty black and white. I know I’d trust your technical expertise again, but I don’t know if I’d be comfortable trusting anything else from you.

    I was seriously burned by an author nearly a year ago and to this day, just looking at her name makes my stomach hurt.

    I’d keep coming back to DA because I enjoy the different reviewers and the comments but it would give me a little pang to see your name.

    Don’t break my heart and tell me you’re not a shoe ‘ho either.

  95. Jane
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 07:33:00

    @SAO So the authorial bio is like an enhanced ebook?

  96. Annabel
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 09:56:41

    I don’t think we can require any artist to present content to the world only under their actual real-life persona. At the same time, I think it’s wrong to present yourself as an oppressed minority when you’re not, only to sell books. So this is a tough one. Part of me says AJ Llewelyn has the right to use whatever marketing strategies she has at her disposal, to include making up a fictional character to write books. But then you add in the gay issue and I just don’t know.

    I keep thinking too…what about authors who hire ghost writers and still put their names on it? Isn’t it better to really actually write the book under a fake name, than to NOT write the book and pretend you did? Don’t know, don’t know.

  97. cs
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 10:12:12

    @Liz: But unlike this author I didn’t make a big spectacle out of being a gay man, writing posts about condoms, made a coming out story and had a “biological” man go to (and I know only ONE) book signing. You telling me that isn’t a little odd for someone who is now saying he is transgender and has always felt this way, but is biologically female. Call me sceptical but I don’t think I’m ready to believe anything this author says regards to his body, gender or sexuality. Nor do I care. I however take exception to you calling people transphobic. You said Jane’s comments were and I’ll let her reply to that accusation, but I don’t appreciate being lumped into your “people” category thank you very much.

    My question was only this why would a transgender person need to lie about that when writing gay fiction. I don’t get it. So call me sceptical if I don’t necessarily believe this either. I don’t care about an author’s personal issues or their life frankly. However, when stuff comes out people are going to talk about it. You’re still in the public eye, and if you become a profilic author or at least an author who has an extensive back list you’re putting yourself out there persona or not.

  98. Anonymous
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 10:40:09


    If it offended anyone, I apologize. It was meant to be witty. I guess not.

    But I do find it interesting, especially since the topic of women writing m/m fiction is being discussed, that so many would jump on that comment and take it as offensive instead of funny. This kind of campy wit/humor is something that’s part of the gay male community/culture, and you either get it or you don’t. When we go to dinner parties we don’t talk about issues and how to refer to transgenders, we get drunk and laugh. I know straight women don’t always get it. I’ve been in restaurants with viciously witty gay men who have made comments like the tranny comment and they’ve been thrown out. In a gay establishment this wouldn’t happen. It’s either something you get or you don’t. You can’t learn about through articles, blog posts, or studies. You have to live it to understand it. Gay men joke around this way all the time and no one gets offended. But since it did offend a few people, I figured I’d better apologize.

  99. Anah Crow
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 11:50:46

    @Anonymous: The cis-gay community is notorious for being just as prejudiced against transgendered persons (not transgenders, again) as the cis-straight community. I know transgendered persons who have been bashed by gay men and women, physically and verbally. Being gay doesn’t make you immune to anti-trans language or behaviour and it doesn’t give you a pass when you do it.

    I don’t know what women writing gay fiction has to do with not wanting to perpetuate anti-trans language, nor why it would somehow excuse that language. Further, you’re making huge assumptions regarding the people who are reading and participating in this discussion. I think that “straight women” and a lot of other people get the picture quite clearly. Don’t mansplain about how we’d get it if we were really part of the gay culture, that’s also offensive.

    What you said wasn’t funny, it wasn’t campy, and it wasn’t okay. Neither is your “explanation”.

  100. Jennifer Armintrout
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 12:00:03

    All I got from this was that AJ Llewellyn is a guy who didn’t want to come out as transgender. So, instead of coming out as trans and saying, “I was born biologically a female, but I am a gay man,” he instead pretended to be a gay man born biologically male? BFD. This isn’t a woman pretending to be a man to get sales. This is a man who is transgendered and wasn’t out, and no, he doesn’t owe anyone that honesty. I’m not holding this against him.

  101. Maili
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 12:05:32

    Late to the party, sorry. For me, the core issue is that it’s about a person who chose to present self to the public as a voice of authenticity, authority and, in some cases, experience they didn’t actually experience as the person this person chose to present to the public.

    Last summer, two bloggers – Paula Brooks (a deaf lesbian mother and contributing editor of and Amina Abdallah Araf al Omari (a Syrian lesbian blogger of A Gay Girl in Damascus) – were outed as married white heterosexual men (and in Paula’s case, hearing).

    Some, including myself, was particularly furious when Paula Brooks was outed as Bill Graber. Bearing in mind that –

    a) Paula was held up as one of finest examples of the D/deaf community online by a huge number of (hearing) readers and bloggers. Quite tough for Deaf bloggers to follow.

    b) most Deaf LGBTQI people are still struggling to fit in and being heard within the LGBTQI community, where they aren’t treated well most times. Likewise for Deaf feminist bloggers within the feminist community, and Deaf mothers in the parenting community. They still keep trying because, as one says, every D/deaf voice helps. While there were questions about Paula, her voice was welcomed all the same.

    c) some in the Deaf community deeply objected to suggestions at and elsewhere that some of Paula’s dodgy actions and reactions were “typical of deaf people”. Their objections were consistently ignored.

    d) From the start, the online Deaf community was puzzled by Paula’s claims; her lack of objections to being described or characterised as “vulnerable” (a massive no-no for most Deaf people), and the fact that no one in the international Deaf community had ever met her, or heard of her (bearing in mind she was a Gallaudet graduate).

    The community’s questions and concerns, for two or three years, were consistently dismissed by the LGBTQI and feminist communities. The community still hasn’t received an acknowledgement or apology from either community after Paula was revealed as Graber.

    The whole affair has pretty much re-affirmed some Deaf people’s distrust towards ‘hearing’ people as a whole. Some of the other side no longer take Deaf bloggers and online political Deaf journalists seriously, in case they’re faking in being D/deaf and whatnot.

    That’s a consequence of Graber’s actions.

    So yeah, I certainly can understand why some feel disappointed, betrayed or annoyed by AJL. I think it’s worse for some because AJL’s actions were done to, allegedly, make better money than some because of what he was/is.

  102. Jennifer Armintrout
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 12:11:41

    Also, Jane, if he has specified that he’s male, why are you referring to him with feminine pronouns throughout the story?

  103. riga
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 12:17:18

    I don’t care what gender writers are; I don’t care what gender they identify as. That’s their business and none of mine, and I’m just here for the books. But Llewellyn has always come across as a nasty piece of business, and this pseudo-apology is completely in character, in my opinion. I will continue to give this author a wide berth.

  104. Anonymous
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 12:18:39

    @Anah Crow:

    You’ll never get it. You think you do, but you don’t. And you never will. Which makes it pointless to discuss.

    But I’ll try one more time. When a group of gay men get together and there are women around, or straight couples around, it’s different. They behave differently. And when the women and straight couples are gone, they relax. You might think you fit in, but you don’t. And you don’t like to hear this. But it’s the truth. It’s not about bashing anyone or discriminating against anyone. It’s just about being in a comfort zone and behaving differently. It’s like when teenagers behave differently when their parents are around. And a parent, though he or she may try to fit in, will never fit in or understand a teenager. And a woman will never completely understand gay men. You can’t win this one. You can’t tell me what my life experiences are because you “feel” a certain way. Just as I can’t tell you what yours are. And it has nothing to do with discrimination. The word tranny with a group of gay men is as harmless as fag and queer and homo. We joke about it. We don’t discriminate. And until you can live the life of a gay man, it’s all hearsay.

  105. Robin/Janet
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 12:21:45

    @Annabel: I don’t think we can require any artist to present content to the world only under their actual real-life persona. At the same time, I think it’s wrong to present yourself as an oppressed minority when you’re not, only to sell books. So this is a tough one. Part of me says AJ Llewelyn has the right to use whatever marketing strategies she has at her disposal, to include making up a fictional character to write books. But then you add in the gay issue and I just don’t know.

    I think one of the problems here is that the authorial persona and the person behind the author have been profoundly conflated, but at the same time there is a controversial disparity between the two. And that paradox creates a catch-22 for readers. Those troubled by the intentional falsities created by *the authorial persona* are in danger of being seen as (and publicly labeled) insensitive, transphobic, homophobic, unsympathetic, etc. How many gay men are upset at what Llewellyn did? I suspect many people have simply refrained from commenting on the situation because all sides are so emotionally charged.

    I’ve seen some comments to the effect of ‘judge the writing not the writer,’ but I think that might be impossible in this case because the writing has also been enmeshed with the authorial persona via the “confession,” the previous blog posts under discussion, public appearance of the stand-in, etc. It’s not just a pseud or a gendered pronoun, but a pretty elaborate self-representation offered sua sponte. And yet the likelihood that Llewellyn is struggling *as a person* with gender and perhaps sexuality issues can make the criticism sound harsh and insensitive, even bigoted to some.

    Could/should Llewellyn have made different choices about this? Everyone will have their opinion on that question. But this whole situation illustrates for me why appropriation in the context of promoting or selling a product can be so dangerous.

  106. Jennifer Armintrout
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 12:28:10

    Maili, with respect, being outed as being a transgendered person and being outed as a hearing person are not even remotely the same. I see absolutely no lack of authenticity here. A gay man was writing as a gay man. The details on a chromosomal level are immaterial.

  107. Jennifer Armintrout
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 12:34:06

    That is to say, Mali, because I wasn’t ignoring the other component, these men in your example did do something dishonest. They claimed to be women, lesbians, people of color, and Deaf. They were the majority pretending to be the oppressed class for fun and profit. That’s not what’s happening here. Here, you have a transgendered gay man saying, “Yes, I am not the AJ you saw in pictures, and here’s why.” He’s still a gay man, living as a gay man, writing as a gay man, but for his own reasons he didn’t want to disclose this one detail, that he was born female, and he took steps to protect himself. The two situations aren’t remotely similar.

  108. Maili
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 12:43:54

    @Jennifer Armintrout: You’re right that those cases aren’t similar, but it still doesn’t change the fact that AJL has a social responsibility. As a gay man, he is a role model – and sometimes, an example – to people (regardless of age and whatnot).

    Nobody wants to be a role model or example to anybody, but that’s the way it is for most people in marginalised groups. It’s almost always expected of us to “educate” people who haven’t met the likes of us before.

    He of all people should know that.

    If he didn’t want to share his journey or accept the social responsibility, then he shouldn’t have written non-fiction articles or to be in the role of educating as a, as some put it, cisgendered gay man.

    Eited: to clarify – I was looking at the angle of role models, hence my comparison of Graber with the likes of AJL. Hope this makes sense.

  109. Jennifer Armintrout
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 12:53:31

    @Maili, I have to disagree. He was a gay man writing those articles about being a gay man. Whether or not he was born biologically male has absolutely no bearing on whether or not he understands what it’s like to be a gay man, and sharing that experience. At the end of the day, if he wants to share his experience being a transgendered gay man, it’s his right to disclose. But he’s done nothing to harm cisgendered gay men by presenting as a gay man.

  110. ES Bruce
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 14:06:40

    @Jane: AJ Lewellyn writes fictional stories about gay male kahunas/wizards/vampires adopting a family and living their lives in Hawaii. AJ writes erotica dealing with the loves and lives of gay men. In no way, does lying about your personhood for personal reasons and lying about being a licensed law practicing professional such as an attorney compare. Lying about a profession such as being an attorney can cause far more damage than a writer who simply wanted to write fiction about men loving one another. DOESN’T COMPARE. As a matter of fact, the author of A Million Little Pieces committed a greater lie than this BS. He wrote a fictional story and sold it and represented it as NON-FICTION. As for misrepresenting to the GLBTQ community…maybe…but did it ever occur to anyone that AJ was representing the voice of many and was able to relate with such eloquent words the feelings and torture that community goes through in their daily lives when others can’t find the words to tell their stories?

    The hullabaloo over this is ridiculous. IF AJ was representing herself/himself as something at certain sites, totally personal choice. We have far more important things to worry about in this country right now, dontchathink?

  111. azteclady
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 16:27:03

    @ES Bruce: “We have far more important things to worry about in this country right now, dontchathink?”

    What? We cannot worry about two or–dog forbid–a hundred things at once?

    Because I find quite dismissive of anyone who gives a damn–and they have every right to give a damn–when they’ve been lied to. Whether or not the circumstances justify the lie in the mind of some and not in the mind of others, both groups have the right to care, be concerned, engage in discourse about it.

  112. Ridley
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 16:47:16

    @ES Bruce:

    We have far more important things to worry about in this country right now, dontchathink?

    Concern troll.

    Get off my lawn.

  113. Jennie
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 17:30:03

    @Ridley: What if I’m just trying to let you know that your lawn is environmentally irresponsible and that a rock garden or a tasteful collection of native-to-the-area, drought-resistant plants would be more appropriate? :-)

    Anyway, I have little intelligent to say that hasn’t already been said, picked apart, and put back together. I do feel that Llewellyn’s supporters here are glossing over what sounds like some very specific lies about personal experiences, and perhaps a pattern of lying. The pattern of lying does call Llewellyn’s overall veracity into question, and pointing this out is not transphobic or otherwise indicative of prejudice.

  114. ----
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 18:25:32

    @Jennifer Armintrout:

    “Also, Jane, if he has specified that he’s male, why are you referring to him with feminine pronouns throughout the story?”

    Uh, maybe because this person conveniently “came out” as “transgendered” at the exact moment they were outed as a liar, and most people are yet to be convinced they are anything other than a straight woman posing as something else to make a quick buck.

  115. Anon E Mouse
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 22:28:25

    @—-: This. It feels like just another lie piled on top of what appears to be a whole heap of lies. Why should we believe AJ’s a transman? Just because AJ says so? AJ’s said a lot of things over the past four years that have been lie after lie after lie. And not just lies to avoid being outed as a female author using a pseudonym.

    AJ has done articles written about subjects using a ‘I’m a gay male so let me give you my perspective’ that AJ solicited. AJ suggested to do those articles (the Jessewave condom article, specifically. Jesse herself said that AJ contacted her and asked if they could do the article.) AJ sought out opportunities to lie and gain prestige as a ‘gay male author’. AJ went out of hir way to lie to people in ways that weren’t necessary.

    Because trans or not, AJ doesn’t have the body parts he/she was writing articles about, offering advice about. AJ doesn’t have a cock, I’m sorry. AJ has never had the kind of sex he/she was offering ‘expert’ opinions on and claiming to have had. AJ never came out as a gay man. That story about coming out was fiction. LIES. What about that aren’t you people understanding. AJ didn’t just perpetuate a pseudonym. AJ perpetuated a deception meant to raise hirself up as some kind of ‘I’ve lived it so listen to me while I educate you’. But he/she never lived any of it.

  116. Lawless
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 04:08:04

    Heh, I saw this thread early and didn’t jump in, in part because I knew nothing about AJ before this other than recognizing the name, but I’ll happily straddle both divides.

    @Jane: Your post did strike me as transphobic because it doesn’t contemplate the possibility that AJ is trans. You wrote: “This unsavory appropriation of an oppressed minority group’s life for profit has always been part of my problem with male pen names in the m/m genre. It’s done, of course, to gain authenticity; to increase sales of books. It’s not done because someone has some issue with transgender feelings.”

    I don’t think it’s appropriate for you as moderator of this discussion (i.e., in your post) to take a position on whether AJ is telling the truth now about being trans. As many people on this thread have said, trans men and women are if anything more oppressed and marginalized than gay men and women. They face rejection on all sides. So if AJ is trans and gay, I’m not sure we have an appropriation of a marginalized and oppressed group’s identity, but an attempt to hide part of his identity.

    To me, the sentence “It’s not done because someone has some issue with transgender feelings” is a clear dismissal of the possibility or relevance of trans status. You are assuming that this is just another made-up story when you at the moment have no definitive proof of this. This is assuming facts not in evidence. (And yes, I’m also a lawyer.)

    Like Ann Somerville and others have said, it is way more respectful to give him the benefit of the doubt and use male pronouns on the chance he is in fact a trans man.

    To go on to some points made by others: the idea that the LGBTQ community or the m/m community is necessarily welcoming is laughable. The LGBTQ community often is not, as anonymous has proven. (I’ll get to him in a moment.) While in my experience the m/m community is, I can understand why someone wouldn’t want to chance it. And, as someone pointed out, it’s entirely possible that AJ hadn’t yet identified as transgender or started transitioning when he first started publishing.

    That said, I am definitely of the opinion that AJ did several things wrong that he is legitimately being vilified for even on the assumption that he’s a trans man. Hiring someone else to impersonate him at a signing was just plain WRONG. That person couldn’t sign as AJ Llewellyn because he’s not. This was a fraud perpetrated on AJ’s fans.

    That wouldn’t bother me so much if the apology read as more sincere. It’s the assumption of experiences that AJ hasn’t had, like having bareback sex without a condom (he admits by implication that he’s not had gender-reassignment surgery by the way he talks about living as a man) that really bothers me. It’s not physically possible for someone who has no functioning penis or the functional equivalent of one to have had the experience of using a condom on themselves during sex. He isn’t qualified to comment on what that feels like.

    It is, however, possible for a trans man to identify as gay, and trans people are, as mentioned before, if anything more oppressed than gay people. Moreover, a trans man has experienced the prejudice exhibited against women. So I’ll give a pass on the “gay identity” but not on the outing. Since AJ didn’t seem to be out as trans before this, a trans man is often not considered gay even if his partner is another man, whether trans or biological, and many people would not accept a biological female — someone with XY chromosomes — as a gay man because many people deny the existence of transgenderism or can’t believe it in specific cases, writing about it as if he were a cisgendered gay man is not authentic to his experiences. It’s fiction, but not labeled as such.

    All these lies, inconsistencies, and the convenient timing of the revelation of trans status make people justifiably skeptical of his claim to be trans. If it turns out that there is no basis to that claim — and that’s a very big if; I know people who are ftm trans who haven’t started taking testosterone, and how easy it is for them to “pass” as male with others depends on a lot of factors outside their control — then AJ Llewellyn is in fact the complete jerk his detractors are saying he is. Also, he’s now given people more reason to dig into the bona fides of his life.

    While I think on balance the likelihood is that the claim of trans status isn’t true either, I’m not as willing as most seem to be to jump to the conclusion that he’s lying without any backup.

    As for anonymous: Just because gay men use the term “tranny” behind closed doors doesn’t make it any less bigoted or reprehensible. As far as I know, trans people universally consider it offensive. All you’re doing is proving the point that the gay community is not accepting of the trans community. And using the authenticity argument to justify your use of the term puts you in a lower circle of hell than AJ Llewellyn, IMO.

    Full disclosure: I’m a cisgendered female who has some friends who are trans men in various stages of transitioning and friends who are the parents of transgender children.

  117. ES Bruce
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 12:09:41

    To the responders of my reply, you have waaayyyy too much time on your hands and not enough brains.

  118. azteclady
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 21:12:19

    @ES Bruce: What that a flounce?

    It looked like a flounce…

  119. AJ LLewellyn and Appropriation in M/M Romance « Ars Marginal
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 23:03:24

    […] today, romance blog Dear Author posted a news item that m/m romance author AJ Llewellyn — oh, what was the delicate phrasing […]

  120. Stumbling Over Chaos :: In which I can’t think of a clever title for linkity and so just ramble on in the title box for a while instead
    Nov 11, 2011 @ 02:03:33

    […] the comments for additional links. Follow-up from Kris. All sorts of posts from Ann Sommerville. Dear Author (links and discussion in the comments). Vacuous […]

  121. FB
    Nov 11, 2011 @ 15:08:29

    I think that unless you know for a fact (which you can not unless you are AJ) that AJ is not really identifying as as as a male then EVERYONE should refer to him as a HE regardless of what lies HE did not did not tell!

    I am not going to defend or throw stones personally because it’s not my right. I never bought a book thinking he sold it so I wasn’t cheated. The books I bought and loved that HE wrote… I still love them regardless of HIS genetics at birth…so not cheated. Stories still remain the same!

    The only thing I do want to say is that it is WRONG to complain that HE only came out now that his lie was exposed! HELLO coming out is a personal choice that someone denied HIM! Since HE had not come out before the person exposed him then HE was NOT ready and that is no one elses business but HIS!!!!! Personally I feel bad that AJ was not given the chance to come out when HE felt ready as everyone should. It would have been nice if HE had decided to come out on HIS own so that HE could be a role model BUT that is not a requirement just because HE is a writer. If that were the case then EVERY celeb that had not come out should because as many seem to think it’s there responsiblity. This is WRONG! Coming out is a very personal issue that WE have NO right to dictate!

  122. FB
    Nov 11, 2011 @ 15:12:18

    meant to say din’t buy a signed book not sold book

  123. Life sucks when you’re held accountable… « three am
    Nov 12, 2011 @ 10:34:01

  124. Lish
    Nov 13, 2011 @ 12:16:39

    Does anyone know the name of the publishing house that “advised” AJ to present as a gay man to the readers and community?

  125. Lish
    Nov 13, 2011 @ 13:34:39

    Never mind, considering the timeline it was probably eXtasy Books. All of his 2007-2008 books were published there.

  126. Jane
    Nov 13, 2011 @ 13:44:06

    @Lish I’ve never heard that about eXtasy Books. Have, in fact, heard the opposite (that the publisher offered no advice to authors re penname genders)

  127. jenga
    Nov 13, 2011 @ 19:52:02

    I don’t know AJ from the next Tom, Dick or Harry. But wow, is this post all kinds of offensive.

    Yes, the author lied. They lied about their personal experience, omitted some truths. Yes, I question their honesty.

    But in the end, if they say they are transgender and that they are a man, then they ARE a man. And if he is a man and he identifies as gay, then his IS gay. Period.

    As a gay ciswoman, I find it all kinds of uncomfortable that a straight ciswoman is writing a post complaining not only about appropriation of the LGBT community, but also refuses, in the post, to accept the fact that the author in question IS transgender. (You might have changed the pronouns in your post, but your entire post still reeks of cis privelege and transphobia.)

    I don’t care how untrustworthy AJ has proved to be. If he has requested to be identified as a guy, then he’s a guy period, and you as a ciswoman don’t have a say in his identity.

    And if he IS transgender, then I can understand why he hid his identity for so long. Just look at all the posters on this thread claiming he’s not a ‘real man’.

    I think you all need to go take a good long look at yourself in the mirror and see if you’re any better than the person you’re trying to drag down here.

  128. KAM
    Nov 13, 2011 @ 20:12:36

    I have been sitting here reading the posts and links in regards to AJL, and one thing that has come up that nobody has mentioned here is the fact that DJ Manly has also changed her profile on Facebook to state Female. In the Link to reviews by Jessewave it is clearly written by DJ that “In reality when I was a single guy…”What reality is this?
    I have read other info put on sites in regards to this, and another one caught my eye. AJL and DJ were supposedly in a relationship? So going with that if it was before he identified as a gay male, does that mean that they are lesbians? And then after would he be considered bi? I think that AJL is running out of stories to weave to cover his ass.
    DJ has not put out a statement as to why and how she was forced to do this, but doing it quietly isn’t much better.

  129. Kaetrin
    Nov 13, 2011 @ 20:15:27

    @KAM: I’m not sure if this helps but I’ve read elsewhere that DJ Manly is planning on changing the gender flag on his/her Facebook page regularly (every day or every week) to signify that gender is unimportant. Given that, I’m not sure what gender DJ Manly is and what he/she self identifies as.

  130. DS
    Nov 13, 2011 @ 20:18:24

    @Jane: I read on that representatives of Llewellyn’s publishers showed up on a Goodreads m/m thread to defend themselves– Don’t know which publishers but it was reported they were not in favor of either the “romance” between Llewellyn and Manly or the appropriation of a gay male background. It was a members only forum. While I enjoy an online kerfuffle, it didn’t feel right to try to gain access just to gawp.

  131. Jane
    Nov 14, 2011 @ 08:55:50

    @DS I feel for Jesse. S/he clearly feels duped.

  132. KAM
    Nov 14, 2011 @ 10:49:31

    @Kaetrin: It doesn’t bother me about gender, I don’t really care either way, its the deception behind it all. The elaborate stories that they have built.

  133. Elizabeth
    Nov 16, 2011 @ 03:58:16

    Oh for God’s sake! What a lot of hysterical screeching over nothing at all. Get a grip. There is so much pointless gibberish spouted on the subject of author gender when it comes to M/M fiction. So AJL isn’t a biological gay man, well boo hoo! What’s really pissing off all you haters and stoners is that the person you thought you had a ‘right’ to own, isn’t quite who you ‘wanted’ to own. The trouble with so many readers of M/M is that they’re straight women who want to have a gay man as a pet or a charm, something to hang from their handbags as a kind of trophy, as long as he’s the right kind of gay man of course. God forbid that he be one of those *shudder* effeminates, the type that they couldn’t ever imagine having sex with.

    The bottom line is this: AJL is an author, if you like what he writes then buy his books and enjoy them, if you don’t like them then don’t read them, it’s as simple as that. AJL is a brand, all author names are brands, they represent a product that you either want to buy or you don’t. Who an author is in real life, or what they have between their legs, is no one’s business but their own.

    So AJL presented as a gay man on blogs and gave advice based on experiences he may never have had, again I say, so what! Did he do it in order to harm gay people, to slander them, belittle them? No, he didn’t. Has he killed or maimed anyone? No. So AJL is as much a fiction as his fiction, get over it. Most people create online personas that bear little relation to who they are in real life. Maybe how he presented online is how he wants to be in real life. It really doesn’t matter in the great scheme of things, so re-cork your poison bottles and put down your self-righteous hate rocks and go find something really important to screech about.

    Footnote – Goodreads has been mentioned a few times during this discussion. A lot of nastiness spews from that hateful site, especially the M/M forum. It’s frequented by some of the most rancorous people on earth. As a reader I now give it a wide berth. It no longer offers a pleasant and safe place to discuss the love of books. It’s become a place where people, readers and authors, are ripped to shreds. I’ll make up my own mind about what I want to read and what I enjoy and not give a stuff about the identity of the person writing it.

  134. Molly
    Apr 30, 2012 @ 19:46:05

    I think “AJ” is a frustrated giant fat chick sitting in Pacoima or North Hollywood who cant get laid

  135. LadyP
    Jul 08, 2012 @ 01:00:42

    I know this is a long time over with but just in case somebody stumbles on this article later on like I did, I just had to say something about the comments I read. And maybe reading this all months later gives me a little perspective on it that people in the heat of battle lacked, but here goes…

    First of all I get the feeling that most of the posters here are white females. So right away you can feel the privilege and spewing out, calling people ignorant, and transphobic, it is just terrible to see. How dare you decide who is not PC enough for comment? Oh that’s right white women who know what’s good for everybody else.

    I love the way people who don’t know what it is like to be a minority jump right into any fight and start defending something that has nothing to do with their experiences. I’m not saying that as a black person I know what all minorities go through but I know my own struggles and I think at least I can fill in the blanks better than somebody who probably never got rejected for job, apartment, followed through a store, pulled over for no reason, stopped by police for “looking like a suspect”, or seen people pull away from you in fear just because you look a certain way. If any of you have had these experiences then excuse me but the way you are so quick to judge other people tells me otherwise.

    Please ladies stop defending gays, I think they got that covered. I’m not saying not to confront blatant homophobes, but then again who are you to judge? I mean black people call each other the N word. Are we racist? Sometimes being overzealous to be “liberal” and “open minded” makes you look … foolish to some of us.

    And please stop saying “my best friend/boss/uncle/cousin once removed is gay/black/trans gendered and therefore I know what it’s all about” because you don’t. Not anymore that I know what it’s like to be a privileged white woman who tells people they are ignorant and transphobic for being honest.

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