If you read that title and instantly felt concerned that this post was going to turn out to be a rant of some kind, you can relax.
For those who haven’t heard yet, June has been designated as Pride Month, which is fun and exciting for those of us in the community and for our allies. I’m even heading to a Pride festival this weekend, which I’m hella pumped for. I’ve been saturating myself in LGBTQA+ positive content a lot more than usual lately, which has got me feeling
I hadn’t necessarily planned to launch “The Star and the Ocean” in June because of Pride Month, but now I’m glad it worked out this way.
I’ve been struggling with how to bill this book: it’s not a typical piece of LGBTQA+ lit in the way that many people expect when they seek that kind of writing out. Yes, it’s a story that focuses on two wlw characters, but it’s not a story that centres around the fact that they identify as lesbian and bi. It’s also not a story that necessarily focuses on these characters discovering or coming to terms with their sexuality; there’s some navigating new waters, sure, but what you’ll see instead are two characters that already know this about themselves and have long since embraced it, even if some of the associated struggles remain very real.
Writing the story this way was really important to me. There’s a very important place in literature for works that focus on characters who are just figuring themselves out. “Coming out” stories are often crucial for people who are going through the same thing themselves. But I feel those stories are better handled by stronger writers than myself and, besides, that wasn’t the story I wanted to tell.
I wanted to tell a story that shows characters existing beyond their labels. I wanted to show life (even if it is fantasy life) lived beyond the period of time in which a person embraces their sexuality. We’re all people, after all, and for most of us there’s a lot more to life than just that specific experience (even though for a lot of us this is still a very big part of our personal stories overall).
I guess in a sense I’m also trying to help contribute to the normalization of LGBTQA+ characters and relationships in fiction. Our sexuality and our relationships are so often boiled down to stereotypes and tropes that it’s hard to find relatable content. I’m trying to write stories I wish I could find more commonly out in the wild. I’m trying to be a bi Shakespeare, okay?
Because, as I tried to explain to this charming someone on the Wattpad forums once upon a time: representation matters.
If you’re a fellow writer who focuses on LGBTQA+ characters, or if you’re someone who’s been seeking this kind of content, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
The prologue of “The Star and the Ocean” is queued up and ready to go live tomorrow. I hope you’ll check it out!