Saturday, April 13, 2013

"Gay" in the Edwardian Era; 101st Anniversary of Titanic Sinking

Although the Titanic actually went down on April 15, 1912, it hit the iceberg on April 14, 1912 and I've always considered that the exact date that led to its ultimate demise. And since tomorrow is April 14th, and it's a Sunday, I figured I would post something now in case I can't tomorrow. It's not going to be too long because there's not much to add about the sinking of the Titanic we don't already know, and there's also not much info out there about being gay at the end of the Edwardian Era because no one with any amount of sense would have admitted to it.

And that's because homosexuality wasn't discussed openly, it was considered illegal in most places, and those who "practiced" homosexuality lived in fear they would be discovered. I wrote about this in a story I released last year with titled, "Unmentionable: The Men Who Loved on the Titanic." I'll repost the plot description below, but I wanted to add that I took my story to an exaggerated extent where one of the main characters actually dressed up as a woman in order to board the Titanic with his lover and not be questioned about it. The reasons why they did this had a lot to do with the emotional attachment they felt toward each other. Mainly that they wanted to just once see how it would feel to be together like straight people in public, which is something they never really had a chance to do.

I really wanted to focus on that aspect, the part about how difficult it was to be in love with someone and never, NEVER, be able to show it in public...or even take the chance of being seen in public. And unless you know how this feels on a personal level, and have experienced this on a personal level, you are not going to ever understand the full impact of how it defines you. Unfortunately, there are still gay men and women all over the world, including the US, where they can't take the chance of being seen with the people they love. I've even experienced it myself.

Of course what I wrote in "Unmentionable" is pure fiction. But could it have happened? Why not? In those days men who fell in love with other men would have been desperate to spend time together. And being denied the ability to spend time with the person you love in public had to be absolute hell, so my characters devised a plan to find out what it was like to actually travel together openly. And even in this case they weren't traveling as lovers in public.

As I said above, there isn't much written about being "gay" in the Edwardian Era anywhere because the information isn't out there. But just because the information isn't there doesn't mean there were no men who loved men in those days. And  you can be certain of this, make no mistake, there were, indeed, men who loved other men on the Titanic and no one ever knew about it.

One reviewer on Amazon said this about "Unmentionable"

I love this story because it's really interesting, and sweet, but also because, I've always said that Jack and Rose from Titanic, should either both die, or both live, not what actually happened. :)

No spoilers from me on this one. But that review pretty much sums up what I wanted people to get from the story.

One hundred years ago on April 14, 1912, the RMS Titanic hit an iceberg on its way to New York. Though it had been considered unsinkable by all standards, it went down in the cold waters of the Atlantic, taking with it stories of love and romance that weren’t discussed openly in those days. This was especially true with stories of love between two men. One of those hidden stories of the Titanic dealt with the unyielding love and strong romance between a young man named Liam and his older lover, Oliver. Because Oliver was a wealthy business man in America with a great deal of notoriety, the only safe way to bring Liam aboard the Titanic was to dress him in fine women’s clothing and claim he was Oliver’s shy, distant cousin returning to America for the first time in many years. They finally begin to relax when they realize that everyone on the ship believes Liam is a woman, until that fateful night on April 14th when destiny intervened and changed their lives forever.

Here's link to The New York Times where you can read more about the Titanic.

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