I recently set up my author website, and as part of that process, I decided to label myself as a gay author. I didn't really give it much thought, I am gay, and I have written a book, gay author seemed an accurate description, but I have been asked recently why I felt the need to draw attention to it, so I have been giving that some thought.
I came out late in life, in my mid-thirties, and was previously married with a family, so it was quite a big deal for me emotionally. In fact, the whole process was pretty easy, and I was fully supported by family and friends throughout. I am not some tortured soul that is driven to fly the flag for gay rights per se. However, I am all too aware not everyone's coming out journey has been as simple. In some cases, in some countries, actually impossible, at the penalty of death.
There has, without a doubt, been progress through the years, although I have a mild concern some equalities seem to be stepping backwards in the current world climate. And it is wonderful that the younger generation does not feel the same need to congregate in gay bars, like the secret society of yesteryear, but I am an old fashioned soul. I personally love a gay bar, a gay holiday, surrounded by my rainbow friends.
I also don't particularly write gay stories. They are just stories. Some have gay characters in, some do not, and I think this will continue. My debut, Echoes of a Boy, is a mixture of fiction and biography, so it touches on this area of my life, but I do not feel it is specifically a gay interest book. I am conscious my self-labelling may turn some potential readers away, but I am okay with that.
In summary, I think what I am trying to say is although being gay does not define me, it is an important part of my story. And it is arguably even more important for others in less fortunate circumstances. So I will keep my label, and if that in and of itself brings my work to someone's attention, and in turn that in any way helps them on their own journey, I will be a happy man. Positively gay, in fact!