Representation Matters

We hear this phrase a lot. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, we’ve seen countless times when representation has made us feel seen, validated and uplifted. We have also felt the hurt when the very little representation we rarely get, is then done so wrong. I’ve literally gone to a convention that was born of such tragedy (and hope to go again soon to my fellow LGBTQ+ folks who have been to Clexacon).

When it comes to fiction featuring stories of queer women (to include lesfic, wlw, etc.) I am embarrassed to say I didn’t even realize it was a thing until my 30s. I have been an avid reader my whole life, and except for the couple of Sarah Waters books that made it mainstream I didn’t realize there were literally hundreds of books out there waiting for me. It was exhilarating.

Thanks to a monthly subscription I went all in. I read dozens of books in weeks. It was WONDERFUL. One thing was missing for me though, and I don’t mean this as a critique on the many authors who I admire, respect, and support. There just weren’t many stories featuring women of color. So often we are relegated to someone in the friend group. We come in with a funny well timed “nu-uh girl” or some other similar sass, but that’s about it. I wanted more. I still do.

So I took on the large task of trying to write something myself. Please keep in mind, I have never seen myself as a writer. I’m really not that creative. I struggle with grammar, punctuation, and that is still true. That said, as a passionate feminist and believer in the talent we all have as women, I wanted to be part of the solution.

So that is why I write. I want women of color like me to see themselves in the books I write. To see that we deserve to be front and center, too. To have our hopes, dreams, and challenges in the spotlight.

I recognize this may be hard for some readers of the majority to relate to. You might wonder if you can relate to a Middle-Eastern, Black, or Latina protagonist. I’ll share this last thing with you. As a little brown girl, with long curly black hair – after watching the little mermaid I would hang out in the pool doing that hair flip over, and over again. I wanted to BE her. I related to feeling stuck, and wanting some freedom. We all have the ability to find something to relate to with each person we meet, even if they’re a read-headed teenager living under the sea. I hope you’ll join me on these journeys, even if at first glance you might not think it is for you.

Love and light,

-IB

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