“HOW CAN YOU DO THAT?” straight people invariably ask when they learn that I write and publish gay male erotica. I always listen for the inflection, as the question comes in two varieties. If the emphasis is on the “how,” it indicates genuine curiosity about the process and its origins; if it’s on the “do,” I know I’m encountering homophobia of a kind that isn’t exactly what a straight women normally expects. I answer both inquiries truthfully, but when I’m dealing with the latter the response is briefer, because it’s usually coming from a middle-aged man who wants to flee. There is also the occasional arrogant fool who engages in some puffed-up, empty-headed sputtering. This fellow gets a special response. “I do it quite easily,” I tell him, which ends the exchange with the point going to me.
I never set out to stir controversy or to do anything other than try something that intrigued me. After writing straight fiction for many years, I came across a call for gay male erotica in a writers’ magazine, and since I’d always found it easier to write male characters than female ones, I decided to give it a try. An idea quickly came to mind involving a guy who has sex with the pizza delivery man, and so I sat down to write. What happened then was beyond anything I had anticipated. As the story spilled out of me in a single, highly liberating two-hour session, I found myself caught in an incredible rush. A lifelong tomboy, I had apparently tapped into another side of myself, one in which male intimacy was my core mode of self-expression. When the story was completed, I decided on Dale Chase as my pseudonym, because I had known since childhood that, had I been a boy, I would have been named Dale. (I added the “Chase” because it sounded cool.)
Initially, the only reaction I considered was that of the editor, and by the time the first story was accepted I’d sent him three more, which he also accepted. And so it began. When I shared this new endeavor with a few close friends, all were stunned. I held off for a while longer before informing my grown children, as it’s not easy to tell the kids that mom is writing gay porn. On the other hand, when I did reveal it to them a few months later, I was met with wide-eyed wonder and complete support.