Am I an Out and Proud Lesfic Author?

While doing my writing this morning, I found myself listening to Lesbians Who Write podcast with Clare Lydon and T.B. Markinson. Specifically episode 17 which asks the question “Are you an out and proud lesbian fiction author?” which, naturally, made me wonder.

So… am I?

I’m very out as a lesbian. To my family (including the muslim side). To my coworker and boss. To my students. Not in the way that I announce that I’m gay (although I have of course said these words) but more like “oh yeah, we’ve always wanted to try that too. My wife and I, that is.” I bring her up in regular conversation, just like straight people do.

…but when it comes to my writing? Am I proud to write for the genre that I do?

I am out as a lesfic writer but I do feel silly when I say it, I admit. Occasionally my writing comes up in conversation and I’m like “yeah, I’ve published four books.” It usually begs the question “oh what are they about?”. And my answer depends who I’m talking to. Occasionally I’ve left the lesbian bit out.

About Out of Hand I may say “it’s about a kidnapping and then they fall in love.” Or about A Tale of Spiders and Canned Soup I might say “it’s about a twin whose sister died and then she falls in love with a professor.” I don’t mind saying that there is romance in every story I write, no worries. So why do I mind putting the label of lesbian romance on myself and my writing?

I think it becomes too big then. Then I’m not just an author writing books but a lesbian writing lesbian books and it becomes too… niche-y. I think my books can be enjoyed by anyone. Sure, I write for me and for women like me and for the books that we so desperately need.

When I discovered lesfic novels I came alive. I have always loved books and stories but gosh… reading about women falling in love with other women? It was a game changer and it was something I wish I had discovered as a teenager, it would have helped me figure out who I was a bit earlier.

Actually, I am proud. I’m filling a need that people like me have. What is there to be ashamed of?

I think the reason that it stops me from saying it is the ever gnawing fear of meeting homophobia or maybe not being taken seriously. You know? It’s scary when people suddenly change their demeanor to you and it’s exhausting to always be vary. Even in a country where I’m free to live like anyone else.

I’m grateful to Clare and TB for making this podcast. I think this is an issue for all of us lesfic authors to ponder.

 

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One thought on “Am I an Out and Proud Lesfic Author?

  1. I am exactly the same in my workplace. I usually describe my books as romash (romance + something else like paranormal, mystery, intrigue, scifi, etc) but never mention the lesbian angle. This is because I have an author name separate that I don’t reveal. I do this because, honestly, in my role as an HR Professional I want to keep that professional life separate. Once I retire, I won’t care and I’ll probably proudly add the lesfic or WLW descriptor!

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