My mom is a lesbian. A proud, strong, femme who wore heels and had long nails and never changed who she was for anyone. She taught me to stand tall and not let society dictate what you ‘should’ look like. She also had me really young, but instead of leaving me with sitters, she took me everywhere; softball games, rugby games, huge parties. These places were full of lesbians who watched out for me and became an amazing extended family. One taught me to play softball, one taught me how to change a tire and check my oil. One taught me how to drive a stick shift (and never once screamed in panic). One taught me how to play a wicked game of pool. One taught me how to ride a motorcycle. They all taught me the meaning of support and connection.
Strong, kick-ass women in every field of life have surrounded me since the time I was born. (I know, right? How insanely lucky was I?)
That’s what led me to write the Afterlife, Inc trilogy. Yeah, I wanted to play with the concept of religion vs non-religion. I love fantasy, and I wanted to write what I love to read. But beyond the theme, I wanted to populate my books with bad-ass women who know what they want and work their asses off to get it. I wanted lesbians who aren’t overly dysfunctional, (at least a little is needed to have an interesting novel), who don’t have to die at the end of the book. I wanted happy-ever-afters along with women who don’t have to give up who they are to get them.
Personally, that’s why I write lesbian fiction. Not just fiction, not just fantasy. I identify as a lesbian writer because I write fiction about and for lesbians, from a lesbian who has lived in the ‘community’ (whatever that word has come to mean) all my life. That ID is important to me; we’re not side-lines. We’re not secondary characters who may or may not make it to the next book or season. We’re not stereotypes or jokes. I firmly believe we still need the LGBTQ label on our books. Because we need to see the bad-ass, interesting, unusual, queer people in our literature. People who show us we’re not alone, that we, too, can be just as bad-assery as any character in a mainstream novel, and that we, too, can ride off into the sunset with the girl of our dreams. If you want some bad ass women in books other than mine, check out Robyn Nyx’s stuff. Bad ass indeed.
Events like the Bold Strokes Book Festival in June are a perfect way to come together, to have fun, and to surround yourself with a whole batch of other bad-ass people.
See you there.