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Thinking about the importance of #ownvoices to me as an #actuallyautistic reader. Keep in mind, I love so many non-own voices books and authors. But for those who are neurotypical, cis het white readers, this might help you understand the movement from a different perspective.
I grew up surviving by mimicry while also afraid to be seen by people. My wife, also #autistic, is an observer. I am a hider. I was afraid to be a target. So I learned to be neurotypical by reading anything and everything I could. I didn't know that was my reason though.
Now, as a 40 year old, I understand and do it purposely. I've learned to act more sexually interested than I may be, not as a negative, but to make my wife (or partner at the time) know that I do want to be there, but #asexuality means I experience it differently.
I've learned how people flirt, how people act in business interactions, in new friendships, etc. I still don't get it, or do it 'right', but most people don't realize I'm on the spectrum until I mention it. I've learned to fake a lot bc of books and tv/movies.
So, when I'm looking to read something new, I look for #ownvoices because I want to know the characters are realistic. I genuinely don't know the inner lives of many kinds of people, but especially men. I learn this from books predominantly.
This inability to know what is 'normal' and what is a projection of people who have no clue makes me nervous. So when I read a book about men or boys, I prefer it written by men, hoping it is more accurate. This is what worries me about almost all mm being written by women.
I don't know what they researched and what is fetishization. Besides the whole, I'm not into penises thing, if I can't trust the characters then I really don't want to read it. I'm willing to read mm but would prefer it be written by gay men so I learn something.
And before people get defensive, I'd also trust books written by women that are recommended by gay men for the character development. We don't often think of #ownvoices applying to gay men, but in my world it does. So, if you have recs, after reading my reasoning, please share.
And again, please know that I mean no offense in any way, so don't reply defensively. It fucks with my brain enough to put this out there, and autistic brains are weird! I probably won't be able to explain myself any better than this. Just, don't be a dick ok? :-)
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