I’m near the end of a book when the main character insults another man by calling him a “pussy f*ggot.” And I promptly closed the book and deleted it from my kindle.

And I was pissed off about it. But should I have expected that kind of language in a motorcycle club romance novel?

I totally watched Sons of Anarchy despite the homophobic and racist language used. And I also read romance novels set in motorcycle clubs, prisons, or mafia families, etc. Romance novels that vow to be dark and gritty and even come with warnings in the descriptions. So, is it hypocritical of me to enjoy SOA but trash a romance for using a homophobic slur?


A romance novel is a fantasy. SOA is a fantasy. But they are completely different, with their own tropes, world building, and audience expectations. Even the dark, gritty, violent romance novels are built around the premise that love wins and everyone finds their HEA. SOA certainly did not embrace that philosophy. 

And for me, homophobia is the antithesis of a happily ever after. It destroys the fantasy and completely takes me out of the story. So, what might be a throwaway line meant to invoke verisimilitude in a biker romance instead is a hard stop for me. I can’t stop people from being homophobic in real life but I can certainly refuse to accept it in my romance novel reading.