True Story time! Gender, Queer AND OMG BOOKS.

Hello friendos.

I haven’t posted for a while because my life is still pure chaos and I am not moved and yeah…shit is a lot.

Recently a wee Babby Queer asked me how on earth I found information about Queerness and Gender before the Internet.

Oh Boo.

Okay.

Some of these will be evil empire affiliate links because your host is a bitch that gotta eat.

Let’s talk about what had happened.

As a baby potato, I realize looking back I did not buy the concept of there only being Boys and Girls. The extent of my understanding was this. Way back in the 80s I remember seeing a man in half man/half woman drag on TV and I thought he was the most perfect human to ever exist. Man? Woman? Both? I thought both and perfect.

That was it. I didn’t feel the need to think about my own gender multiplicity, it just was how I was and it was fine.

What started me questioning the fluctuating nature of my gender was my taste in books. To be real about it, when I was in high school I started reading a lot of very dirty books. If it was even Queer Baity, I was into it. At one point when I was 19 or so, I realized that as a reader, I identified with varying gendered people in those stories. In my fantasies (wank file) sometimes I was the virginal girl, I was the rent boy, I was the big dirty daddy and it felt the most natural to me.

I read a lot of real filthy gay smut. I emulated those writers and I read gay fiction and I remember in particular finding Kate Bornstein’s book Gender Outlaws- y’all. Shit fucked me up. Until the day I found that book in a Gay owned bookstore where I’d been introduced to Dennis Cooper and Carol Queen and Patrick Califa and the amazing porn magazine On Our Backs and sex work and all of these things exploded my understanding of how I perceived not only my own gender but that of others.

My mind was blown.

There were OTHERS.

Gender as I experienced it wasn’t some weird delusion or fetish. It took me a long time to understand that but, the list of books linked below is absolutely a big part of that. Remember I’m old y’all. I had no google, no tumblr or twitter. I had books. Books I skipped eating to buy. Books that were so precious to me I couldn’t share them with others.

Like most things in my life, it started with books. With me realizing that while yeah there’s some weird shit happening in my head, I wasn’t/am not alone.

Now this is why I am so strident about representation. Because I was a lonely baby potato and even through the sheer Whiteness of the stuff I was reading, I saw I wasn’t alone. Those early books gave me the courage to find those people in meatspace. I gravitated towards other queers, transfolks, genderqueer folks who also didn’t know the term genderqueer.

Learning that beyond the canon of the Western everything, there were and are genders beyond a prescribed binary blessed me.

Now how about some things?

I wrote some stuff about gender.

Find my amazon list (I will add more) of stuff I was reading/have read since.

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More thoughts and Duotrope frustrations.

I’m as usual doing some submitting this week and the story I’m working with right now is very firmly a lesbian story.

That being said, it is a longer piece for me and as I’m using Duotrope to look at magazines I’m running into the same issues I had earlier.

If I switch between general subject matter and GLBTQ subject matter in the search form I go from 1235 to 70.

I know that out of the 1165 magazines that don’t specify whether they take queer stories or not, there is probably one that would love this story. However, as I am looking through magazines and the stories are all White and hetero, I’m not going to submit.

Again, I call into question editors.

I’m honestly just so frustrated.

I’m exhausted.

I don’t want to be an editor, I don’t want to run a literary magazine. I just have no desire to do it so the do it yourself model just doesn’t work for me here.

Yes I know I can just send the fucking story and see what happens and that is normally what I do.

However, it is nice to see a welcome sign sometimes.

I don’t know if it is because I’m not feeling well in general and am thus more sensitive than usual but right now, as I’m trying to get my work done I just feel sad and not welcome.

Yes, guidelines can say that they welcome all sorts of things. Yes in the interview if there is one on Duotrope you can drop Toni Morrison or Junot Diaz’s names. But when I go back four or five issues and there’s nothing to indicate that an editor(s) have ever even seen a non white person, I don’t feel like any talk about the diverse stories a press or zine likes is actually true.

This is one aspect of using Duotrope that as I write more stories that are not taking place in the White Dude’s Literary Canon universe that just gets harder to deal with. I honestly don’t know how to parse how I feel.

I’m at a point where I don’t know what to do with the things that bother me so much.

I don’t know where to turn.

I’m tired and I want to cry.

Sometimes as I’ve said before I don’t want to be trail blazing.

I just want to have some folks read my stories and sometimes like them or want to talk about them.

I’m very frustrated and upset.

I wish I knew how to handle these feelings because I just don’t. I’m choking on them and that’s making the parts of writing that I cherish suck.

I just don’t know.