So it’s LGBT History Month, and coincidentally I’m hard at work on next WIP – a YA magical realism yarn featuring a lesbian protagonist. Since I’m hip deep in the first draft, I thought I’d see if some of my writerly friends could help me out with keeping the blog active. So with no further ado, I’m thrilled to have my first guest blogger visit to help me celebrate! Say hi to Katherine Locke!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and why you’re visiting the blog today.
Hi! My name is Katherine and I write young adult, new adult, and contemporary romance! I’m also queer. I use that label because it’s more encompassing for me, covering a variety of my feelings around identity, gender, and attraction. But more specifically, I ID as demisexual/asexual panromantic.
I’ve noticed PRIDE weekends seem to get a lot more hype than the actual LGBT History Month. I’m a member (albeit a quiet one) of the community, but had never heard that October even was LGBT History Month until I saw you mention it on Twitter (Which is sad, I know, but at least I’m aware now!). Any ideas on why it’s so easy to miss?
I think that Pride is a much more visual encounter for most people. Pride is about bringing LGBTQIA+ culture and community into traditionally heterosexual spaces, and comes out of the Stonewall Riots. So it’s a little older than LGBT History, which was built around National Coming Out Day (October 11th). There are events scattered throughout the year though. National Day of Silence is in April. We, like all people from marginalized communities and identities, do not exist just for one month, one week, or one day a year.
If someone was looking for more information (preferably from a more reputable source than Wikipedia LOL) on LGBT History Month, where would you suggest they look? Any blog or forum sites that you’d recommend to someone struggling to figure out how/if they want to come out?
I believe LGBT History Month has a website (LGBThistorymonth.com which is run by the Equality Forum). I also recommend checking out GLAAD.org. If someone’s struggling about whether or not to come out, that’s a really complicated decision with a lot of factors. I don’t think I can give whole advice here, other than Google is your friend. So is Tumblr. And Youtube. There are really amazing supportive queer/LGBTQIA+ communities on those networks. And remember: it’s always, always important to be safe. If you are worried you’ll be in danger if you come out IRL, wait until you’re a position where you can and cover your trail online. You will get out. You will be able to live openly.
I know during this month, there will be a lot of tragic coming out stories out there, but I think we could all use some hopeful ones. What was the least stressful coming-out scenario that you or someone you know has been in? Did any of you, like the MC in my current WIP, find far more support from their friends and family than they expected?
I never worried about my family. I knew they’d be supportive. It was the community in high school that kept me from coming out then. And because it took me longer to find the words for asexuality/demisexuality so while I used bisexual and then queer, they didn’t feel right until I found the right language. So sometimes, you have to come out again and again, both because you meet new people and because you’re finding new language. That’s okay. You’re not alone.
Speaking of WIPs, how have you portrayed or hope to portray LGBT characters in your books? Do you have a favorite queer character that you’ve written so far?
While I don’t want to Dumbledore my own characters, I don’t want to erase them either. Aly and Zed of the District Ballet Company series (Turning Pointe, Second Position, and Finding Center)’s experience of falling in love and how they experience attraction mimics mine. And so, it’s a fairly demisexual experience on the page. I don’t think either of them care too much about labels or anything, though I wish for readers I had labeled them. There’s a queer character in my next book (that I can’t talk about yet but stay tuned!) He’s probably my favorite, and not just because he IDs on the page! He just is very fun to write. I don’t normally write such blunt characters and he just cuts to the chase. And in the YAs I have planned, written, or that my agent and I have out there in the world, there are always queer characters.
Since most of the people visiting the blog are in it for books and writing tips, how about a book rec? What’s your fave LGBT character right now that someone else has written, and what is it about that character that you love so much?
Oh, well. Book recs. Okay, sticking to 2015 books, because otherwise I’ll get carried away:
Bisexual: I love Etta from NOT OTHERWISE SPECIFIED by Hannah Moskowitz. Her voice is refreshing, sure, determined, and lovely. And she takes on biphobia head on!
Lesbian: Vanessa from Dahlia Adler’s UNDER THE LIGHTS too. I really appreciated the way that she navigated her career vs being true to herself.
Trans: Melissa in Alex Gino’s GEORGE who is so, so brave, and Kivali of Lizard Radio by Pat Schmatz, who made me laugh and want to hug her.
Genderqueer: Kid and Scout in Steve Brezenoff’s BROOKLYN, BURNING who have stayed with me for years.
Gay: Simon from Becky Albertalli’s SIMON VS THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA because Simon and Blue are my OTP, and Aaron from MORE HAPPY THAN NOT by Adam Silvera because Adam wrote Aaron with such incredible heart.
Intersex: NONE OF THE ABOVE by I.W. Gregorio because we do not see intersex teens in YA and this book is absolutely crucial
Other: Garnet of SILHOUETTE OF A SPARROW by Molly Beth Griffin and both girls in Robin Talley’s LIES WE TELL OURSELVES for some historical LGBTQIA that gets all intersectional on you!
Katherine Locke lives and writes in a very small town outside of Philadelphia, where she’s ruled by her feline overlords and her addiction to chai lattes. She writes about that which she cannot do: ballet, time travel, and magic. When she’s not writing, she’s probably tweeting. She not-so-secretly believes most stories are fairy tales in disguise. Her books include TURNING POINTE, SECOND POSITION, and FINDING CENTER, available from major ebook retailers. She can be found online at katherinelockebooks.com and always on Twitter: @bibliogato.