I frequently speak about why visibility matters. I hope that you will support these authors. Below their thoughts are links to some of the LGBT presses out there. As well as links to some self-published authors. I hope you will check them out. I believe in collegiality and I believe that there is a need to REACH beyond the confines of a small world of voracious lesbian readers. I feel passionately that people need to SEE themselves represented in hopeful ways. AND, that people NOT in our community need to see the RAINBOW of who we are, our experiences and relationships if we ever hope to bridge bias and have true equality. I will continue to invite my fellow author along. I see opportunity to touch people where they live and to change perceptions of who we are. As long as I write, that will remain at the center of my consciousness.
Lacey Schmidt - Author of A Walk Away
On Being Visibly Proud of All I Am, as a Writer.
I am a voracious reader. Books, stories, really matter to me. Genre and type do not. I even love reading the cereal box. Debating whether I was first a writer or reader is too much like the great chicken and egg debate—just pointless mental masturbation; but I believe I was first a reader inspired to write. How could I not want to learn how to convey the great depths of human experience and emotion in an artful way? How can you listen to a great song and not want to hum along?
At first I didn’t care what I wrote. Anything was fine so long as it was well written (by my own standards). I actually didn’t care about visibility of any kind, but especially as a lesbian. In my little heart of hearts, I don’t want who I am to matter to any potential reader as much as I want the story to matter to readers. But then I realized something very important, for myself as a reader, and in my profession as a writer . . . something I already knew from my profession as an Industrial-Organizational Psychologist, but just failed to translate to other domains of my life . . . stories matter the most to us when we identify and empathize with the people involved. For some readers, that undoubtedly means identifying with the author and for other readers (like me) it means identifying with the characters. While this doesn’t have to happen on any demographic level, including sexuality, it does have to happen on a genuine level. Even if I don’t necessarily view my sexuality as all that important to my personal identity, society does. The world does, and that great external force of perception means my sexuality shapes my experience on a genuinely visible level.
As such, the visibility of my sexuality and representation of characters like me, isn’t just a part of my pride. Visibly living that pride is the only way I can create a story genuine and artful enough to inspire empathy. Being visibly proud of my sexuality and telling stories involving characters like me is the only way I can make sure my love of writing and reading stories that matter wins. So be proud of who you are in every way, because someone else out there (a reader, another writer, a musician, a mother, a sister) needs to know you too, if we are all ever going to discover how love can always win.
About the Author:
Born on an air force base in back-country Georgia, but raised in urban Texas sprawl by existential humanists, Lacey Schmidt is a Zen ying-yang-yahoo with a great love of psychology, fiction, poetry, absurd humor, photography, wildlife, fast cars, random technology, and her wife. Previous publications include a poetry book, The Nightshade Lexicon, and the lesbian romance novel, A Walk Away (available in all formats on Amazon).
A Few Words From KA Moll - Author of Coming to Terms and Soul Mates
Hiding in plain sight wasn’t something we wanted to do. We did it because we could. Sexuality was an easier characteristic to hide than skin color. If we tucked it deep inside, we were almost able to live free of ridicule and discrimination, weren’t we? But having to live in hiding, and denying the essence of who we were, took a severe toll on us as individuals and as a community. For some, those scars will never heal. But hallelujah, times are changing! I believe the momentum of that change has everything to do with our increased visibility. When we opened our closet doors, began writing more stories about the lives of LGBTQ characters, and stepped into the streets, we forced others to see us for who we were. People don’t tend to be as afraid of the familiar, especially when they end up being their neighbors or the church member who sits just down the pew. In time, they’ll come to realize what we already know—that we’re good people too. Happy PRIDE everyone!
Thoughts From Barbara Winkes - Author of Indiscretions, Autumn Leaves, and Secrets
Visibility matters. The more stories are told, the more a complete and accurate picture emerges, for all of us to understand the world better. As creators—books, TV, movies, any medium—we have the chance to be part of the change that comes with more visibility, and drive it.
For me, writing LGBT and especially lesbian fiction is about seeing ourselves reflected—we all need that. It’s also about showing the world who we are, and the diversity within our community. Fiction can help build bridges.
Let’s create that big picture together. No one person can represent all, but together we can. Happy Pride Month!