talktooloose: (Kurt Kim)
[personal profile] talktooloose

Title: Nigger, Faggot, Mutie (1/1)
Author: Talktooloose
Pairing: Havoc/Darwin one-way
Warnings: Mature themes (racism, sexuality) but no overt sexual scenes
Betas: [ profile] kuriadalmatia and my husband, Snake.
Summary: Darwin encounters racism as the only black member of Xavier and Lehnsherr’s new mutant squad. He and Alex must reconsider their own prejudices in light of new bigotries.
Notes: First Class takes place during early days of the Civil Rights Movement. I wanted to explore themes of racism and homophobia in light of the 1962 setting and how they might affect our characters in ways not shown in the movie. The casting of Kenyan actor, Edi Gathegi as Darwin seemed sufficient justification to make the character African American and change his birth name to “Armand.” I embrace the ridiculousness of Alex Summers being a teenager in 1962 by making a time-trippy reference to Scott. Comments welcome.

Darwin heard them before he rounded the corner…

Date: 2011-06-24 12:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
woah that was heavy
but really really good
well done

Date: 2011-06-24 01:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed it. If you like fic from the first 3 X-Men movies, you might want to check out my lonnnnnnng fanfic novel (, Days of Becoming.

Date: 2011-06-27 10:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I can't open the link D:

Date: 2011-06-29 06:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Site was down for a couple of days. I only found out yesterday. It's back up now.

Date: 2011-06-24 02:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh Darwin! I loved this so, so much - all the adaptations Darwin makes, both inside and out, and how his power works both for and against his will. (but I shouldn't have read it at work because then I had to go hide in the loo for a cry)

Date: 2011-06-24 01:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Darwin is a great character because he offers so many metaphoric possibilities! Actually, most of the X-Men do; that's why they're brilliant. I'm sorry (not really) for making you cry at work!

If you like fic from the first 3 X-Men movies, you might want to check out my lonnnnnnng fanfic novel (, Days of Becoming.

Date: 2011-06-24 03:16 am (UTC)
ext_157516: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
This is absolutely stunning. I don't know what else to say.

Date: 2011-06-24 01:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I humbly thank you.

If you like fic from the first three X-Men movies, you might want to check out my lonnnnnnng fanfic novel (, Days of Becoming.

Date: 2011-06-27 12:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Worth waiting for!

Can I ask you -- as a gay man -- about your inspiration for writing Alex? Is Alex's denial a common response for young, gay men? How about the way Alex views women, as "sluts" and "whores?" Is that something you've seen amongst men in the gay community, or did it just work b/c this character is so angry and unbalanced? (Which I love, and I see Pyro similar ways, although I make him straight...)

Sorry if this is really insensitive. The characters were so believable that it made me wonder. And I figured I'd take advantage of our anonymity here. ;)

Date: 2011-06-27 02:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I read your email before bed last night and I've been thinking about it since. Very good questions, and heavens no, they're not in any way insensitive.

Denial is very common on the road to coming out. I hypothesize an inverse relationship between amount of denial (measured by how long the period is and how at odds with evidence it is) and the homophobic hostility in which the queer individual lives.

Let's look at my life for an example: I hit puberty in the mid-70s and became aware of my sexuality over the next few years. To my brain, the possibility of even internally accepting that I was gay was basically nil. I remember one coherent, lightning-like VOICE in my head at 16 saying, "…but you know you're going to turn out gay."

I can viscerally recall the seemingly physical effort I used to push down that thought. I knew of no gay people around me except one extremely effeminate social outcast in junior high school. There were no role models, no made-for-TV-movies, no Internet. Just the myths and the jokes. There was a copy of of "Everything You Want to Know about Sex but Were Afraid to Ask" in our basement that was virulently homophobic. I wish I could quote it here. I must look it up.

So denial was absolute except when I needed to get off, at which point I performed amazing mental gymnastics to partition off the fantasies I needed from the consequences of consciously acknowledging them.

The 70s was a time of burgeoning gay liberation... but you didn't feel it in the suburbs. I was around 22 before I could actually say "I am gay," and have the information stick. Even after that, I had a pseudo-heterosexual relapse complete with girlfriend, but luckily that finally pushed me over the edge (lol) into full acceptance.

So, Alex… 1962. Unless you were actually living in Greenwich Village and were a beat poet, it was fucking hard to be okay with being gay. Maybe unless you were actually Allan Ginsberg. Alex has had a lot of sex with men by the time of this story, but it's always been furtive and actually or seemingly coerced ("he's making me do this even though part of me wants it"). It's always been steeped in shame.

The misogyny is complicated and I wrote it instinctively, only thinking about it later (which is the process by which writing fiction actually helps me understand issues). To Alex, sexual feelings are dirty and disgusting, because his sexual feelings are anathema to him. He therefore sees the sexuality of others as similarly disgusting. But in his head, there is some kind of pure ideal which he fervently desires, but fears will never be applicable to him. He has a vague notion of a "nice" girl who will redeem him from his shame.

Both Mystique and Angel, in contrast to this basically asexual ideal, are amazingly confident with their own sexualities (a bit surprising for Raven considering she grew up hidden away in the Xavier estate in the 1950s. I could make a case that she and Charles were teenage lovers.). Alex perceives this as a threat, partly because he knows he cannot be the kind of true "man" he would have to be for them, and partly because he fears liberating the sexual part of his own nature. It's easier to brand them as "whores" and "sluts" than accept them as fully integrated people in a way he is not.

Come to think of it, the title of the piece could have been "Nigger, Faggot, Slut, Mutie." Maybe it should have been, except that would sort of require a too-long piece involving scenes with the young women. hmm, yeah, it would have had a failed tryst with Angel and Alex, I think.

The "slut" "whore" thing is no more common (probably less common) in the gay community than in the general population. Uptight gay men who don't think politically will use these terms against each other. Don't get me started. I like calling myself a slut sometimes. I wish I had the time to live up the name!

I didn't really answer your question about my inspiration for writing Alex. I dunno, the skeleton of the story all came up as a piece. Stories I want to tell are my inspiration, and the characters come to life as I write them.

Thanks for your interest!

Date: 2012-04-15 12:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh wow... that was brilliant and PAINFUL. Nice writing.

Date: 2012-04-15 01:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you so much. I'm glad people are still finding their way to this fic. Obscure pairings are not the route to popularity!

Date: 2012-04-15 01:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Also, you might also enjoy my long X-Men Movie novel: Days of Becoming ( It's a Pyro/Iceman novel, but it has a bigger scope than that, and I try to tie together a lot of elements in the original X-Men movie trilogy.

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