Please join us in welcoming Thursday Euclid to Sinfully today as he celebrates the recent release of his new book Built for Pleasure. Thursday gives us an insight into the importance of pronouns and identity with the main character in the book.
Pronouns and Identity
In my new m/m scifi romance Built for Pleasure, pronouns are one of the most powerful tools I use to express my cyborg MC’s growth as a character. The society in which he lives sees cyborgs—a genetically engineered subspecies known as homo sapiens technica—as subhuman. All his life, he’s been conditioned to perceive himself as a thing, and he begins the story using the pronouns it/its, reflective of the way he’s internalized that societal pressure. It’s simply never occurred to him that he’s not an it, even after he begins to think of himself not as his designation of WLF-6759 but as Wolf, an individual.
While Wolf’s process of growing into his identity and owning it has been described by some readers as paralleling the gay coming out process or a coming of age, I have to admit that it actually grew from my own process coming to terms with a transgender identity. Long before I asked for he/him pronouns, I began to think of myself as Will—a family name my parents might’ve given me had I been assigned male at birth. Only when I grew secure in that name did I internalize my maleness fully and develop the confidence to request appropriate pronouns. I had to unlearn everything society had told me about myself, unpack all the internalized lies I’d swallowed about who I was and who I could be.
Wolf’s journey is about discovering a real identity buried under piles of lies and assumptions, and I think that’s a journey many of us go through, cis or trans, queer or straight. We’re all told by our families, our teachers, and even our friends who they think we are, and when we’re too young or insecure to question them, most of us accept that burden onto our shoulders. We internalize those messages. And some of us never question what it means, whether it fits… Whether it’s authentic.
When someone changes names or pronouns, it represents a massive shift of tectonic proportions, one that began on the inside long ago and only recently came into the light. It must be respected and honored, no matter the challenge it poses. My other MC, Mal, reads Wolf as human and fights against it because society wouldn’t approve of the way he humanizes Wolf. His heart recognizes Wolf’s truth even before Wolf can verbalize it, but that doesn’t mean Mal automatically knows how to be what Wolf needs. This story is, in some ways, as much about being trans or being an ally as it is about two very different men falling in love.
More importantly, it’s about being human and what that means. However you identify, I hope that you’ll take a moment to question the assumptions you’ve carried about yourself all your life. Question the negative messages you’ve internalized. Those doubts, those fears that hold you back socially or sexually may not have come from within at all. Consider the source. Question everything. Look for your truth, even when it’s uncomfortable, and discover the courage to live as your authentic self.
Maybe you’re not the quiet bookish type all the way down and secretly identify with the dominant in kinky stories. Maybe you long to be gentler and softer than life has allowed you to be but others’ assumptions have made you assume the mantle of Bitch. Did someone once tell you that you couldn’t do something that used to be your dearest dream? Question that. Question all of it. And respect those who are questioning their own assumptions. Honor the steps they take to honor their truth. Encourage others to do the same and model respect until everyone gets the right idea.
We’re a little over a month away from 2017, and it’s my wish for all of you that you enter that year as your truest self, and that you discover inside yourself the bold, protective, respectful ally that exists in us all.
Built for Pleasure by Thursday Euclid
Title: Built for Pleasure
Author: Thursday Euclid
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release: 21st November 2016
Genre: M/M (science fiction)
Retired military officer Malcolm Torvik runs a rehabilitation facility for malfunctioning pleasure cyborgs. When WLF-6759—Wolf—arrives at Reboot Camp, the former battle cyborg presents problems Malcolm’s never faced before. Most pleasure cyborgs are sensation junkies, constantly high on the chemicals sex releases into their bloodstream, but Wolf’s faulty refit means it’s spent a decade suffering through unwanted encounters—and sometimes fighting back despite the consequences.
At first Wolf’s rebellion frustrates Malcolm even as Wolf’s undeniable physical perfection draws him. Then Wolf’s unexpected vulnerability and need open a whole new dynamic between them, and Malcolm finds himself feeling far too much for something that isn’t even human. Or is it? Could Homo sapiens technica be just as human as Malcolm is? And if it is, what’s Malcolm supposed to do about it? Malcolm’s been alone for so long…. Is it possible he’s found love with a cyborg? How far will he go to ensure Wolf’s freedom? Malcolm knows what he must do—for both of them—but it might cost him much more than his comfortable life.
Meet Thursday Euclid
The Thursday Euclid is a strange and elusive creature dwelling in the Texas Gulf Coast region. Frequently mistaken for Bigfoot, Chupacabra, or the monster of the week, he is, in fact, a 30-something black sheep with a penchant for K-pop, geekery, and hot and sour soup. When he’s not playing Dragon Age or SWTOR, he’s probably watching B-movies or talking to his best friend and frequent collaborator Clancy Nacht.