Question Answered: Why I Wrote The Rainbow Ranch

Before I get started on my homework and return to finishing Songbird, I wanted to take a moment and answer a question I know is percolating in the minds of the people who know me and my “usual” writing. Why, when everything I’ve written hither to fore been horror, would I make my Amazon debut a long short about conservative Christians and their stance on homosexuality and same-sex marriage – and the Gay Agenda.

Perhaps its coincidence – or perhaps the universe’s sense of humor – that I’m posting this just after Indiana’s highly controversial “religious freedom” law was signed by Gov. Pence. Of which I won’t comment. But instead let The Rainbow Ranch do my commenting for me.

Why did I write a satire about weregays and werelesbians running wild and free in the pale moonlight?

Because I’m personally touched by this topic. Also because when I’m driving along the highway in the dark, and a ranch is illuminated by the full moon, weird musings about “free range gays” enter my head.

But mostly the former.

I grew up with this really wonderful, really awesome person. She was my little sister. I took care of her, and she took care of me. We fought, as most siblings do, but without her I would never have made it to school on time a day in my life. And I would never have learned how to kick kids butts as well as I did.

Because my little sister, as a very young child, preferred to dress as a boy. She wore boys swim suits. She wore boys suits – those adorable little suits you see in the children’s department – to school. All through kindergarten. Until she was told to tone it down – no more suits, though she could still dress tom-boyishly. She never wore skirts or got excited about frills. Though she did miss her suits.

And into high school and college, she tried. She tried so hard to fit in, to be “normal.” She dated a few guys, but eventually realized she was homosexual. She came out as a lesbian – to no one’s real surprise – and everything seemed to be getting better for her.

Except that we lived in Oklahoma. And there were (are) places there I still wouldn’t go with my biracial children alone. And to think she could be fired from her job for being gay? For loving who she was genetically programmed to love?

I’d never seen my sister happier than after she came out.

At least, until she called one day and said, “I’ve realized that I can’t live as a woman anymore – I need to transition and become who I’ve always been” and told me her his new name. Which wasn’t just a masculine version of his old name. A choice I still think really represents how much he’s embracing his identity as a man, as himself, over the social expectations and pressures of the gender he was born as.

My brother is the bravest person I know. And a year or so ago when Governor Mary Fallin of Oklahoma declared she would rather abolish marriage than see same-sex marriage given approval under her watchful eye, The Rainbow Ranch poured out of me in a matter of weeks.

What had been a strange musing about a Texas ranch with a rainbow sign turned into a humorous, satirical take on an issue that – for some insane reason – continues to be debated and discussed and argued over every day.

My brother was once a lesbian, and naturally so at that. There had never, ever been a doubt in my mind that he wasn’t straight. And I never cared. When he called and said he was transitioning from female to male, that too seemed as it should be. And the joy and happiness that I’ve listened to grow in his voice as his testosterone takes effect, and he has to shave every day, and he becomes the man on the outside that he always knew he was on the inside… I couldn’t be a prouder or happier sister.

It would just be great if he could be this open about who he is in his job, in the city he lives in, without fear of rejection, discrimination, or hate.

This is the origin of The Rainbow Ranch.

A late night drive, a full moon shining on a rainbow sign, and a wonderful human being who could use a little more love, definitely way more tolerance, and if possible, acceptance.

To my goofy, loving, amazing brother, I just wanted to say – my life wouldn’t be the same without you. Thanks for being my brother and being you. (And to his ever wonderful and loving girlfriend, where would I be without your glorious wonderfulness in my life?)

2 responses to “Question Answered: Why I Wrote The Rainbow Ranch

  1. Shanna, I’m a little late to the part, as usual, but this is a wonderful piece. I love how you took the subject, as personal as it is to you, and made it, not only yours, but every person’s who has dealt with this topic (and others similar to it). I love how you stuck up for your sis…your brother and how you stand by him now. That’s what being a real person is about. It doesn’t matter what color, religion, political view or sexuality you are–it matters what type of person you are. And you, Hobbits, are a great person.


    • Thanks, Sensei. I know I’m but one voice (among many) in a very LOUD world of haters, but I’m going to keep trying until I haven’t any breath left in me. And my brother is totally awesome. 😀 And I’ve had a handful of gay friends tell me they loved this story, and that alone makes it totally worth writing. 😀


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