This Colorado autumn morning was damp and grey. After shuttling my shoulder-shrugging daughter to school I came back home to plan my day. I have laundry to fold and last night’s dishes are looking rather needy in the sink. I have errands to run and dinner to plan.
But I also have hot coffee to drink and the call of warm blankets drowns out the muffled screams of the dusty furniture. It’s the perfect sort of morning to disappear into a book. Excellent. It’s settled then. But what to read… I’ll look for something new on my Kindle.
I pull up the Amazon store to browse titles and seeing the list of categories, I click on Gay and Lesbian which brings me to a header of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender eBooks. This is not as promising as it sounds. Below this is a subheading, LGBT eBooks Best Sellers. The first images of book covers on the screen are ripped, bare-chested men oiled to a glistening sheen. Others are categorized as Lesbian, but are really Male Fantasy with titles like “Girl-Boy-Girl Threesome”, and “Nikki Wants Him Rough”, none of which are my cup of tea.
I try not to give up and continue looking on my Kindle by entering a manual search for Lesbian Fiction. This is more of what I’d hoped for but the majority of the titles are classic coming-of-age stories geared toward teens and young adults. I know these themes are vital for the survival of queer youth, but where are the stories with characters like me? Females I can relate to and connect with?
Our LGBTQIA+ community has made great strides in the past twenty years in gaining rights and changing the minds of society. We are seeing this change on TV and the big screen but I feel we are still grossly underrepresented in contemporary literature. Yes, our sexuality is a facet of who we are but we are multi-dimensional human beings. Our community is often over-sexualized.
My preference for women doesn’t mean I reach for pornography or erotica first and foremost. I want a good story with real characters who have big ambitions and many obstacles to overcome. Perhaps one of her many traits is her preference for women. Someone like me.
I finished my coffee as a voice in my head told me, “Toni Morrison said, ‘If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.’ ”
I put down my Kindle, poured another cup of coffee and went down to my desk to start writing.