DiversifYA: Tamara Mataya
|May 13, 2013||Posted by Marieke under DiversifYA, QUILTBAG|
Lovelies! Today we have the legendary Feaky Snucker — aka Tamara Mataya — on the blog! Tamara is amazing and incredibly talented. She writes, she sings, she makes paranormal YA sound fresh and fantastic, writes sizzling hot fiction — like her debut BEST LAID PLANS — and she gave us some amazing answers here!
1. How do you identify yourself?
It’s nearly impossible for me to sum up everything I am with one word, choose one thing and say THAT is what I am. Some days I feel like I am SOUND – I have Synaesthesia. For this interview’s purposes, I’d say I identify as a proud bisexual woman.
2. What did it feel like growing up queer?
I don’t really have a basis for comparison haha. That’s like asking me ‘what did it feel like growing up a girl?!’
2. What are the biggest challenges? Conversely, what are the quirks/perks?
Surprise bigotry. You go about your day, and all the sudden someone you know, a coworker, family member, friend, comes out with a comment about LGBTQ that rocks your world. I had an Aunt I loved dearly who I didn’t see a lot due to geographical reasons. I was nineteen and visiting family. She asked me if I watch ER. I said no, but my mum did – you know, trying to keep conversation going. She was like, ‘I used to but then they made my favourite character gay, and I couldn’t watch anymore! She had a girlfriend and everything and it’s wrong!’ and then went off on a religious rant about why god hates gay people.
I didn’t say anything to her in the moment because my grandmother was there, and I’m all about picking your battles. but when I got home, and it was still bugging me, I sent her an email. I told her that what she said had hurt my feelings as a couple of my roommates, and best friends were gay and were great people. I hadn’t come out as being bisexual then, but my Aunt misunderstood me.
She assumed I was gay too. It was like she couldn’t understand defending people unless you WERE one of them.
But she responded and APOLOGIZED to me, saying she loved me and that was my choice then it was fine with her.
And you know what? Last year she posted a few things on facebook that were in support of LGBTQ. If I hadn’t come out, I don’t think she’d be as liberal and accepting as she is. For some people, it HAS to hit close to home, so to speak, for them to see it as something that isn’t wrong, or strange. My aunt loved me, and knew I’m a good person, therefore being gay isn’t an abomination.
That drove home the point for me that we should all speak out and own who we are. You never know who you will reach. I’ve seen some INSANE bigotry, growing up in a small town. Every voice counts. It can be hard, it can feel like you’re alone. But you’re not. And your voice IS important.
I’ve had it relatively easy. I’m a bisexual woman – I’d say we’re the most accepted of the LGBTQ’s. Almost a fetish to some people.
But man does it hurt when someone spouts off anti-gay bullshit.
As for the quirks… As a bisexual woman, I can be with anyone – attraction and orientation permitting. (Though I am happily married. Sorry everyone. *wink*). I don’t know that there are perks, other than being able to reach more people about LGBTQ – like I said, since I’m still able to fit into a “traditional” idea of a relationship, some people don’t get their backs up. I know some people who are SO against M/M relationships, but think it’s hot when two women make out. It’s a horrible double standard, but gives me an ‘in’ to talk to them about the LGBTQ community. Sort of like with my Aunt – putting a face to the community so it becomes personal. And by making it personal, it makes it about PEOPLE, not just a demographic.
4. What do you wish people knew about LGBTQ?
We’re all just people. We’re not all the same. We have dreams. We are your parents, your siblings, your children, your friends, your neighbours. And some of us will kill ourselves because we feel alone, and like we’re outcasts. We need EVERY voice of support. Your sole voice could be the one that shows us someone gives a shit. Don’t be silent. You’ll never know whose life you save by not staying silent.
5. What are the biggest cliches/stereotypes you’ve seen?
Bisexuals are whores. All gay men are feminine. All lesbians are masculine. That all gay men WANT to BE women. No! Some, sure. But most (that I know) love BEING men. They’re also just attracted to them too!
BONUS: What is your advice for writers writing diverse characters?
Don’t make their diversity the plot. It shouldn’t be a big deal! Is it a big deal that your characters are straight? Then it shouldn’t be a big deal if one is gay, or transgendered. Is it a big deal that your Love Interest can walk? Then it shouldn’t be a big deal if one is in a wheelchair. Try not to fall victim to stereotypes. Treat the diversity with respect. Make the diversity one string in the tapestry – not the entire picture.