queers in literature

A flood of emotions rushes into me. Pain and anger. Sadness and pity. But most surprising of all, hope.
—  Thirteen Reasons Why
A Week of Pride & Thanks

Our intern Kevin loved this new book from Sarah Prager, Queer, There, and Everywhere: 22 People Who Changed the World, and felt compelled to say thank you for all they did. In the book, Prager outlines the extraordinary lives of LGBTQ figures throughout history – a project of painstaking research and devotion, and a task not made easy by the many who have erased and revised the rainbow’s visibility within some of our world’s greatest contributors.

This is a series of Thank You notes to those figures featured in Prager’s book who have paved the way toward today, where Pride parades (or marches) may dance down city roads, streets clogged by the sheer multitude clamoring to participate in festivity; where marriage equality drapes its long laced veil across a vastly more accepting world, nation by nation; where LGBTQ stories win the highest cinematic awards; where LGBTQ athletes can proudly reveal their truths; where LGBTQ world leaders stand tall amongst their peers; and where there’s still terrible things we need to fix, but we know it gets better when we look behind us and see all that has hitherto been accomplished.


Dear Lili Elbe,

Thank you for your bravery! Not only did you transition in a time when such a thing was unheard of, but after the fact, you told the world. Your example gives us hope, and teaches us that transparency is not invisibility.  When you were Einar, you were a painter. But as Lili, your brushstrokes were most purposeful, your colors most beautifully vivid.


Dear José Sarria,

Thank you for utilizing your creative, curious mind to defend the queer community throughout your lifetime. When laws were written against us, you found the loopholes that would uphold our dignity. And as a renowned performer, you made sure we knew we were correct, and valuable. We are so grateful for you, an empress whose conquest was unforgiving stigma, and who crushed it beneath his red stilettos.

photo: Nate Gowdy Photography


Dear George Takei,

Thank you for acting as such a figurehead, piloting us into a more visible world. Despite the injustice done to you and your family during the period of Japanese internment in the 1940s, you have dedicated so much time and energy as an activist fighting for LGBTQ rights in a country that had once turned its back on you. Your voice, amplified so loudly despite its deep register, has given so many people hope. Thank you for widening your spotlight to land on our whole community.


More thank you notes throughout this week.

Find out the full true stories of these people and 20 others in Queer, There, and Everywhere, on sale now here.

I want to live the rest of my life, however long or short, with as much sweetness as I can decently manage, loving all the people I love, and doing as much as I can of the work I still have to do. I am going to write fire until it comes out of my ears, my eyes, my noseholes—everywhere. Until it’s every breath I breathe. I’m going to go out like a fucking meteor!
—  Audre Lorde, excerpt from a journal entry collected in A Burst of Light
Do you remember when we danced in the kitchen waiting for the water to boil? You wanted green tea. I wanted you.

So I recently finished the complete works of Sappho and in the afterward–which was a ton of historical reference, literary analysis, and tribute writing about Sappho and her work– I found repeatedly that she was referred to by many as “The Manly Sappho of Lesbos” or just manly Sappho. Plus all physical descriptions of her say that she was short, dark skinned, had short hair, and was not very feminine or attractive.

So my point with all this is, Sappho was one of the first butch woman of color loving other women who didn’t conform to conventional beauty standards and I just am so much more grateful to have her as our sapphic saint after learning this.

I name myself “lesbian” because this culture oppresses, silences, and destroys lesbians, even lesbians who don’t call themselves “lesbians.” I name myself “lesbian” because I want to be visible to other black lesbians. I name myself “lesbian” because I do not subscribe to predatory/institutionalized heterosexuality. I name myself lesbian because I want to be with women (and they don’t all have to call themselves “lesbians”). I name myself “lesbian” because it is part of my vision. I name myself lesbian because being woman-identified has kept me sane. I call myself “Black,” too, because Black is my perspective, my aesthetic, my politics, my vision, my sanity.
—  Cheryl Clarke, “New Notes on Lesbianism in The Days of Good Looks: The Prose and Poetry of Cheryl Clarke, 1980-2005
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Alright. Phew. It’s been a looooooooooong time coming but @blackindiaink and I have finally gotten the first book in our first joint series ready enough to put out there for anyone who might be interested in reading something new!

The series is called PAPER DOLLS and we’re putting the first book up for $.99 on Amazon (we’re hoping to have a paperback version as well, for gifts and things, but that’s taking us a bit longer because of formatting issues). The story will be enrolled in KDP which means anyone who has a Amazon - Kindle Unlimited subscription will be able to read it for free

The main focus of the series is a romance between two original female queer characters.

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Today     I will hurl the cross off my neck and
kiss an unruly girl on the mouth. It will     sting


at first, but her tongue will be down my throat
and I will hymn between the wet intervals,


the hands of Bath and Body Works lotion
on my waist. She calls it     begging.


When it happens, my thumb will belong
to her       body and our mothers will look for


the girls of Jesus’ disciples between our legs—
but we sprawl them across each other,


the sheets as mattress as wood as you
lay on my breast and count the backwards


blooming of our sins.

—  DON’T TELL OUR MOTHERS 

I want to open a queer bookstore every book has queer protagonists

there’s fantasy and sci fi and literary sections just like a regular bookstore but all the characters are queer

except there, in the corner, is the Straight Literature section. Which is like. Fifteen copies of the notebook.

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Some character designs and concepts I did to participate to a project (I wasn’t chosen at the end, but whatever). It should have been an erotic-themed story settled in the closed environment of the Japanese nobility of the early XIII century, a love story between Kiyou (daughter of an important government officer) and Utahime (a blind koto’s teacher). For this plot I took heavily inspiration from a novel written by Tanizaki Jun'ichirou, “Shunkinshou”.
I’m sorry if I haven’t been so active lately, but I’ve been very much busy.

There’s something truly strange about living in a historical moment in which the conservative anxiety and despair about queers bringing down civilization and its institutions (marriage, most notably) is met by the anxiety and despair so many queers feel about the failure or incapacity of queerness to bring down civilization and its institutions.
—  Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts
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LGTBQ BOOKS

 If you are like me and love books you can relate to and are also queer as heck this is a list for you!! Working in a book store you get a lot of time to wander around and find good books and well teen LGBTQ books are my favorite to find. The list is small for now but I will be updating as I find more and more. All the main characters in these books will be queer, not the side characters so there lots of extra gay to go around. So here are some of my favorite LGBTQ books! 

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