Today I am so pleased to welcome David Kraine to Joyfully Jay. David has come to talk to us about his latest release, Renegayd. He has also brought along an excerpt to share. Please join me in giving David a big welcome!
Renegayd is the story of superhuman gays violently fighting for equality. After all, staying on the right side of history can’t be too difficult when the enemy is hate.
And there’s a lot of hate. Any LGBTQ person knows it. Even in the bastion of liberal-queerness that is San Francisco, I experience it. Take my wedding day: a beautiful, Bay Area evening; an outdoor ceremony on Treasure Island; and hate in an F-150 driving by to shout “Faggots!” out the window.
Hate evolves from an event to a memory to a numbness. It’s one of the first things to which LGBTQ people acclimate. We call it strength, because silver linings feel good. Like, newsfeeds that optimize to show us progress, and hope, and TV shows with gay characters (on prime time!). It’s easy to forget that 74 countries still criminalize homosexulaity. Progress is slow, and when I look only for love, I can forget that hate causes harm to real people everyday.
What if we refused to numb? What if we fought back? Martin Luther King, Jr taught that “hate begets hate,” but his stance was in contrast to the civil rights movement’s more extreme actions that juxtaposed his message of love. Non-violence is powerful when compared to violence. Renegayd shows the yin-yang struggle of global LGBTQ rights by dipping it in glitter and asking the cost of progress.
The Queen of Witches rules over a magic world connected to every gayborhood by closet doors, and she’s raising an army. For any LGBTQ person who’s been bullied, or beaten, or made to feel inadequate by inequality’s various forms, Renegayd is sweet revenge and incredible fun.
From Chapter 17. The Queen of Witches meets with the “third way,” a non-violent protest group that condemns Renegayd but still seeks Perfect Equality.
…“It’s ridiculous to purport genocide against people with a different opinion. It’s ridiculous to suggest killing everyone with a different point of view.”
The queen did what she does best, poke and enjoy the reaction. “Two thousand seven,” she said. “You must have cheered when the USA’s Employment Non-Discrimination Act had transgender protections removed to get it passed. Yet another sacrifice for the needs of the ignorant.”
“No one celebrated that change,” Apollo said. “We celebrated a historic victory for our community—even if that victory was imperfect.”
“And how many trans people were harmed by your tempered celebration, rather than militant unrest? When your rights have been taken, you don’t reap new progress, you reclaim innate dignity, and it can happen all at once. Renegayd is making it happen, and that’s not ridiculous. The opposite point of view causes harm, so we’re stomping it out as fast as we can. And Baby, we are fast. Remember when your parents caught you with a porn magazine?” Apollo blushed as the queen continued. “That night you thought about killing yourself. That night was hard. That night was harm. And many don’t make it to the day.”
He took a deep breath. “I’m not sure what you hope to accomplish by publicizing my childhood.”
“There is a right and a wrong on this issue. Can we agree on that?”
“We can’t agree on anything,” Apollo said.
“So, for you, homophobia—and all its physical and mental abuse—is a legitimate opinion?” Spotting her trap, Apollo remained calm and silent until she continued. “Got your appendix?”
“You’re not helping your cause by broadcasting this.” The queen remained silent, blinking once to show she’d wait until he answered. “Yes, I still have my appendix. No reason to get rid of it.”
“No reason to get rid of it,” she repeated. “You know, one in fifteen people will get appendicitis. Some will die, and some will just hurt.”
“Homosexuality is not like appendicitis, if that’s what you’re suggesting.”
“Not queers. Hate! It’s the hate that’s hurting us. Renegayd’s ripping out a ticking time bomb! Nobody misses something that’s solitary use is potential harm.”
“These are people we’re talking about!” Apollo showed his first burst of emotion. “Killing a human being is not analogous to removing an appendix. We need change without violence.”
“Only a philosophy of eternity could justify nonviolence. You see, people don’t live forever; so, lollygagging comes at the cost of LGBT lives. We suffer for the convenience of our oppressor.”
And then there was an explosion….
Every gayborhood on Earth hides a closet door to a magic world. Sam is not the first to find it, but when he does it’s in the early days of a violent revolution for LGBT liberation. The Queen of Witches is building an army, and Sam doesn’t know what’s more frightening: the fact that his “real” world may be in danger, or that he isn’t sure he wants to save it.
Renegayd shows the yin-yang struggle of global LGBT rights by dipping it in glitter and asking the cost of progress.