Tanja Lee Jones is not fond of the term fag hag, but says she can cope with it. Jones, the author of the new book Gals With Gay Pals, says she has also been called a fruit fly and fagnet.
Some people find -˜fag hag’ so derogatory, but it really doesn’t faze me, Jones told the Star.
I like -˜swish dish’ and I love -˜camp vamp’. I also like the word -˜friend’, as that is what all of those terms refer to. If anyone has ever been called any of these names, then my book is for you.
Gals With Gay Pals is an anthology of stories of a number of straight women and their various relationships with gay men, exploring what is the powerful and unique dynamic in these relationships.
Tanja, a married mother of two from Melbourne, has been best friends for 14 years with gay man and renowned choreographer Andrew Mournehis.
The pair met in Melbourne when they were both in their early 20s, but it was eight years ago while on holiday together in Bali and partying at the gay club The Hula Bar that she first came up with the idea for the book.
There I was, the minority in a pulsating club of men who love men, she recalls. It was such an extraordinary night that I sat down and wrote a short story about it titled Invisible In The Circle Of Lust.
The story then sat in the back of a filing cabinet for the next six years. It was when a journalist encouraged me to collect stories from other women on the same topic that I set to work. I was then inundated with stories from all kinds of women about their various relationships with the gay men in their lives.
The 25 stories in the book are from mothers, sisters, workmates and friends, telling of the ways their relationships with gay men have enriched and challenged their lives.
Tanja, who contributed four of her own favourite stories about her relationship with Mournehis, says she discovered all the stories contained the common themes of love and acceptance.
A lot of the judgment and prejudices in these relationships have been removed, she says.
If you share a feeling with a straight man, he will put out his caveman toolbox and try to fix the problem. If you share it with a gay man, however, he will pull out a tub of ice cream and two spoons and want to talk about it.
As for her own relationship with Mournehis, who choreographed Tina Turner’s Wildest Dreams world tour, Tanja says he has always been one of the strongest motivating forces in her life.
He has always held a torch for me to hold on to my higher dreams, she says.
He always wanted me to go beyond what stops me and achieve my wildest dreams, and he will also tell me when I am worth more than what I am settling for.
He really is like a sister wrapped up in a gorgeous muscled body. And I am his camp vamp!
Gals With Gay Pals, published by Tanjable Press, is distributed nationally by Dennis Jones and Associates. Ten percent of all profits from Gals With Gay Pals goes to Oz Showbiz Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS.