queer author

5 Books Written by Queer and Trans Women That Set Me Free

“Before I came out as a lesbian, I read a lot of books. And I found that I could relate to anything because I didn’t relate to anything in particular.

Up to that point in my life, nothing had spoken to me – at least not in the way I wanted it to.

Then one day, I woke up and realized I might be gay. That in spite of everything I thought I knew, my entire life might need to turn upside-down.

I’d never contemplated my own sexuality or considered that I wasn’t pin-straight before – which is laughable now, but was very serious then. It’s easy to be 20 and think you know everything, especially about who you are, and I did.

I knew in one fell swoop I was wrong. And I knew I could never go back.

I came out to myself by letting myself whisper in my own ear that maybe I should buy some boy shorts or a leather jacket. I came out to myself by searching for someone who reminded me of myself, or even who I could become.

And suddenly, there were words everywhere.

I couldn’t stop reading the words of women like me: women who decided to live their truths, women who grappled with the world in the most personal ways, women who had to force society to accept their self-definition.

Women who fought for a language where they existed.

They made all of the long-dormant things inside of me wake up. They made me feel less alone. They made me feel more legitimate.

They reminded me I still existed. They reminded me that I, too, had a story. Books by queer and trans women helped me find and liberate my voice.

Here are five recent ones that set me free from feelings of disconnection and loneliness. I hope they can do something magical for you as well.”

Read the full piece here

When you’re a trans woman you are made to walk this very fine line, where if you act feminine you are accused of being a parody and if you act masculine, it is seen as a sign of your true male identity. And if you act sweet and demure, you’re accused of reinforcing patriarchal ideas of female passivity, but if you stand up for your own rights and make your voice heard, then you are dismissed as wielding male privilege and entitlement. We trans women are made to teeter on this tightrope, not because we are transsexuals, but because we are women. This is the same double bind that forces teenage girls to negotiate their way between virgin and whore, that forces female politicians and business women to be agressive without being seen as a bitch, and to be feminine enough not to emasculate their alpha male colleagues, without being so girly as to undermine their own authority.
—  Julia Serano, Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive, p 28-9

i hate when people go on about “love the sinner, hate the sin”

you cant compartmentalize me just to feel better about yourself. hating queerness is hating queer people. queer isnt just a label i use to describe myself and you can’t rip it out of me and then smile in my face and tell me you love me. queer is what i am, queer is me.

i am my sin and if you hate it then you hate me

I think it’s crucial for all art, but especially art created for young people, to reflect the world around us. Not a whitewashed or straightwashed or ciswashed version of that world. It’s vital that queer kids and teenagers see people like themselves in the books they read, the movies they watch, and the games they play ― and it’s equally vital that non-queer kids and teenagers see those characters too. That’s one of the most important ways we can show the next generation that queer people make up part of the landscape just like straight and cisgender people do. This way, we can move toward a world where “normal” means something bigger than it used to.
As feminists, our goal should not be to “move beyond gender” or to bring on the “end of gender”, as if such a thing were actually possible. Instead we should envision ourselves as working to bring an end to all double standards based on sex, gender, and sexuality, as well as any other double standard that is unjustly used to demonize, delegitimize, and dehumanize other human beings.
—  Julia Serano, Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive, p137.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been presented with the argument that fighting assimilation takes attention away from the ‘real’ battle, which is fighting anti-gay violence. This false dichotomy hides the fact that assimilation is violence, not just the violence of cultural erasure, but the violence of stepping on anyone more vulnerable than you in order to get ahead. Gay landlords evict people with AIDS to increase property values; gay bar owners arrest homeless queers so they don’t get in the way of business; and gay political consultants ensure the election of pro-development, anti-poor candidates who ensure that the ruling class not only remains in power but systematically sucks the poor dry.”  — Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore

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“Black science fiction trailblazer Samuel Delaney, 63, remembers teaching Butler as a 23-year-old student at the Clarion Science Fiction Workshop. She was, he says, incredibly shy, a student who spoke only when she had something to say, but someone who obviously had great talent.

It was years later, however, after she had published "Kindred,” that he saw what she had become. “It was wonderful to see how she had bloomed and gained so much self-confidence and become a really extraordinary public speaker,” Delaney says. She also was a pathblazer in a genre where once you could count the black writers on one hand.“

Good news, everyone! Big good news. Big important honkin’ news. 

CHAMELEON MOON, “THE QUEER/TRANS SUPERHERO BOOK,”  the one from the weird author lying on the floor, IS NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK/PHYSICAL BOOK FORM!

I know a lot of you were waiting for the physical edition as opposed to electronic. That’s still available, you can still download and read it on any computer or e-reader - but this is even bigger, I think. A physical book. An actual book you can hold in your hands and touch and smell and bookmark or highlight and dogear and LOVE. I can’t say how happy I am about this.

I hope that this makes it more accessible to a lot more people who want it, or need it. It’s just so important I think - share this book please. About queer and trans and ace people, but also POC and disabled people being superheroes and being amazing and beautiful and kicking butt and loving each other and surviving. I wrote this because it’s something I needed when I was younger and I hope so much that it helps somebody else who needs it.

So yes. I am so happy and excited. And I want this to grow and spread and bring hope and happiness to sad, scared people, especially young queer and trans and disabled kids who don’t see themselves reflected or shown that they are capable of amazing, beautiful things. Help me do that, please.

Thank you for being with me on this wonderful journey. <3 Thank you so much.

I actually really love books that include LGBTQIA+ characters, but aren’t necessarily about being queer – and I think it’s amazing that we’re starting to see more books like this in the market. I do think it’s a problem if people *only* want to see books that don’t deal with queer issues. There’s this sentiment I hear sometimes that YA has moved past needing to explore these issues, but I don’t think we’re anywhere close to that point. Aspects of LGBTQIA+ identity are still so central to many teens’ experiences, and being queer can come with enormous stressors for teens – especially in certain regions of the country, certain religious groups, certain subcultures, and even specific families. Simon is a gay, white teenage boy who comes from a liberal family – in a conservative suburb – of a liberal city – in a conservative region of the country. So many environmental factors shape our experiences as we develop our sexual identities. It’s so important that we continue to tell a broad range of stories.
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LGBTQ* Gender Bending and Presentation (You May Not Know)

Upon arriving at the University of Nebraska, Willa Cather walked in dressed as William Cather. Willa Cather claimed William was Willa’s long-lost brother.

Cather, whose works are staples in American fiction, is one of America’s leading lesbian historical authors. Cather presented as a fairly “butch”/“tomboy” lesbian, wrote constantly, studied and lived in Nebraska (think about that), and dated women throughout her life. Cather openly spent a portion of her time with her companion, Edith Lewis. And by portion, we mean 40 years.

“Where there is great love, there are always miracles.” 
― Willa Cather

Photo Sources: 

Left   ///   Right (photographer Edward Steichen)

[My] thesis looked at lesbian and gay historical fictions from the late 19th century and onward. It really looked at the way in which people appealed to the past, either to defend homosexuality, like with Victorian men appealing to the idea of Greek love, for example, or women appealing to the idea of Sappho. Or conversely, people often invoking the past as a way to criticize homosexuality, saying, “Well, look at the fall of the Roman empire.” I was very interested in the way that the past was just continually reinvented as new ideas of homosexuality came along. It left me interested in not just the gay past, but how we write about the gay past and how we claim it or deny it. That led straight into my novels.

WaveCon: Celebrating LGBTQ Fiction at Sea

Riptide Publishing is planning the first-ever LGBTQ fiction convention at sea: WaveCon, a celebration of all things queer fiction! On March 11, 2017, WaveCon will leave out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and sail to Mexico with approximately 500 LGBTQ readers, authors, editors, and agents discussing and sharing our love and enthusiasm for all genres of queer fiction.

We have tons of tropical fun and excitement planned, along with, of course, a full course of panels, workshops, book readings, author Q&As, meet and greets, parties, and so much more. Even better, for five full days, your room, every meal and snack (including room service!), entertainment, and conference programming are all included for about the same cost (and in many cases, less cost) than land-based book conferences.

But before we finalize guests and programming, we want to hear from YOU! What would make this event the most special and fun for you? What kind of accommodations would you prefer? What services would you like for us to provide? To that end, we kindly request that you take this ten-minute survey about WaveCon.

To thank you for your time, one lucky survey taker will be randomly selected to receive guaranteed early-bird registration AND an additional $100 off the low early-bird registration fee. If the survey reaches 2,000 unique participants, we’ll add a FREE REGISTRATION (CRUISE INCLUDED, OF COURSE!) to the prize pool–an $850 value!

Take the poll now!

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Angelina Weld Grimké, poet, writer and teacher

[February 27, 1880 – June 10 1958]

Rosabel

I
Leaves, that whisper, whisper ever,
Listen, listen, pray;
Birds, that twitter, twitter softly,
Do not say me nay;
Winds, that breathe about, upon her,
(Since I do not dare)
Whisper, twitter, breathe unto her
That I find her fair.

II
Rose whose soul unfolds white petaled
Touch her soul rose-white;
Rose whose thoughts unfold gold petaled
Blossom in her sight;
Rose whose heart unfolds red petaled
Quick her slow heart’s stir;
Tell her white, gold, red my love is;
And for her, —for her.

I’d like to take a minute to talk about this Best Bi Short Stories anthology and why you should give them money.

Let me just start by saying that we here at Bisexual Books think there should be more, well, bisexual books!  One of the reasons that we started this blog was the appalling LACK of things out there for a discerning bi reader to read.    

Why are the offerings on bisexuality so sparse?   It is at least in part because traditional publishers are gunshy on the topic, and that causes a vicious circle.   They see that no one else is publishing bisexual books so they don’t want to publish bisexual books.  Rinse, lather, repeat. 

This campaign to fund Best Bi Short Stories is a heartfelt attempt to get a book of short stories with bisexual characters and themes published and to hopefully show that cycle is total crap.   Bisexual people read, they buy books, they want to buy books.   WE GET ASKS ALL THE TIME FROM BISEXUALS WHO WANT TO BUY BI BOOKS AND WHO CANNOT FIND THEM.   

We’re at almost 4,000 followers on this blog and this anthology needs $4,000.   I know everyone’s finances are in different places, but if our followers could each just chip in $1 then this anthology comes a little bit closer to reality.   That’s a little closer to bisexual people collecting a book of stories about bisexual people and for bisexual people.   If you can’t contribute financially, give it a reblog.  Maybe it will reach someone who would otherwise have never known about this project.

Not sure if the people running this are secretly sketchy?   Let me assure you that is NOT the case.   I’ve worked with the editor of this anthology - Sheela Lambert - as part of my work judging for the Bisexual Book Awards and let me tell you – Sheela is a force of nature.  She works (and damn does she WORK) for the bisexual community and for bisexual representation in literary circles.   I’ve been impressed by both her passion and her practicality.  If there was another way to get this book out there in reader’s hands in the last 8 years, she would have found it by now.   I also know her to be a woman of high standards.  If she says these stories are the best, then I believe her.   

I also believe in paying people for their work, particularly those in the creative fields.   The writers whose stories appear in this book deserve to be paid.  Sheela deserves to be paid.  

And we all deserve more quality bisexual literature. 

- Sarah

KNOWhomo Nonfiction (a Moderator is currently reading)

  1. Outlaw Marriages: The Hidden Histories of Fifteen Extraordinary Same-Sex Couples by Rodger Streitmatter
  2. A Queer History of the United States by Michael Bronski
  3. Sportsdykes: Stories from On and Off the Field by Susan Fox Rogers
  4. Lesbian & Bisexual Identities: Constructing Communities, Constructing Selves by Kristin G. Esterberg

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