Well, if this is your cup of tea, have at it. It sounds pretty ridiculous to us. He does say that Islam is “not necessarily tolerant towards homosexuality.” Does he realize gay men and women could be punished by DEATH in some Muslim countries? The whole thing is not for us.
By Matt Baume
Kyell Gold’s new novel may lie at the most unlikely intersection in literary history: a gay immigrant Muslim romance involving furries—that is, people who feel a close identification with anthropomorphic animal characters.“I wrote this book in part as a response to the wave of Islamophobia in this country,” Gold explained in an author’s note, “never dreaming at the time that it would crest as it has now.”
The Time He Desires is the story of Aziz, a cheetah in a faltering heterosexual marriage who explores the boundaries of his sexuality with the help of a gay fox. Aziz is a Sudanese immigrant, and he engages in a struggle with his desires that will be familiar to queer readers. Gold’s been writing furry romance novels full-time for several years, after bouncing from chemical engineering to business school to zoology. After he was laid off in 2010 with a generous severance package, his husband said, “if you’re going to be a full-time writer, this is the time to start.”
“One of the themes of my stories, from very early on, has been conflict between people who realize they’re gay and a society that has problems with that sexuality,” Gold said. Though his previous books have touched on Christianity, “I know that Islam is also not necessarily tolerant towards homosexuality. … I also didn’t understand much about Islam other than that it’s a religion that hundreds of millions of people in the world follow.”
And so he resolved to learn more. He turned first to Wikipedia, then forums and Tumblr pages.
“I wanted to acknowledge that there are queer Muslims out there in the world,” he said. “One of the things I’d seen come up every now and then is especially American queer Muslims saying that they don’t have any community, except for these online groups. They can’t join their Muslim communities if they’re going to be out about their sexuality; but they can’t join many LGBT groups because people will be wary of them because of their religion.”
By early 2016, he was ready to begin writing a book that could bridge those communities. The timing was particularly apt, given the political climate.