Reading lesbian fiction has brought so much joy to my life that one day I decided to try to give back and write some myself. That decision started a long journey that was more complex than I’d imagined—creating a book requires not just patience with the writing process, but excellent collaborators and editors. The process has been rewarding in ways I couldn’t have imagined. Why do we write—and read—lesbian fiction? The list below is by no means comprehensive, but it’s a start:
The women who create this community—readers, writers, critics, fan-fiction aficionados, editors, and publishers—are generous, thoughtful, and united by our love of strong, nuanced women. Fiction gives us a common language—we can discuss our favorite characters and lines, forging new friendships through fandoms and learning about ourselves through narratives.
We are still dramatically underrepresented across media (books, television, film, dramatic literature). And because LGBTQ people often grow up in predominately straight households (parents, siblings), we have to look elsewhere to learn who we are, to meet people like us. Narrative helps us recognize that we are not alone, and enables us in turn to show the straight community how rich and compelling our lives are. Our stories need to be told.
Seriously, fiction is such a playground. Imagining new people, tense conflicts, physical and verbal humor, scenarios that I’ve never experienced, and ones that I have that I wish had turned out differently. Writing fiction brings out sides of me not exercised in other arenas in life, challenging me in ways that give me joy. These reasons for writing lesbian fiction, incidentally, are also the same reasons I read it!
In a world where it’s become a political statement to say that Black Lives Matter, it’s essential that we recognize that racial justice is LGBTQ justice. That immigrant rights are gay rights. I write to tell stories of marginalized communities recognizing their unity, building coalitions, recognizing intersectionality and celebrating both our differences and our common humanity.
By envisioning new worlds, we change the existing one. On a small scale, helping one lesbian feel less alone changes the world. On a large scale, continuing to build this community of readers and writers shows ourselves and the world that we matter.
So, that’s why I write. I’d love to hear from you all about why you write and read!
by Blythe Rippon