Why Queer Writers Need Queer Community

I had two polar opposite experiences last week that convinced me that queer people need safe spaces to raise their voices and write their stories more than ever.

First, I read in the newspaper that the Pope declared that being gay isn’t a crime—sure, it’s a “sin,” but not a crime. So comforting.

I haven’t had time to unpack all the feelings that exploded through my body when I read that headline, but here are a few:

  • I spent 50+ years of my life with the privilege of not worrying whether people thought my identity was sinful, let alone a crime.
  • My heart aches for my queer siblings who haven’t experienced that privilege—whose lives have been traumatized in the name of the church.
  • I fear for queer people who live in countries where their very identity is considered a crime—and I fear for the path our country is on where sodomy laws are being reconsidered and where people can’t say "gay” in public schools.

I am more committed than ever to dedicating this chapter of my life to helping get more queer stories out into the world.

Second, I jumped on a Zoom with 20+ other folx to listen to a book talk by Jessi Hempel, the author of the memoir The Family Outing, sponsored by PFLAG Charlotte.

The Family Outing is a memoir about an entire family who came out of the closet and is one of the mentor texts in the courses inside WRITE YOURSELF OUT, my mentorship and community for LGBTQ+ writers.

Two things I discovered on the call:

  • There are many, many ways a queer memoir can touch people’s lives. There were people on the call who were queer. People who had queer family members. People who belonged to affirming churches. People who just appreciated a well-written, powerful story.
  • I realized how safe and wonderful it felt to be in a space where queer stories and queer people were accepted and not judged.

Queer stories matter. They matter for the writer. They matter for queer—and straight—readers.

And we need safe spaces to discuss these stories. And to write these stories.

All this talk about queer life, queer community and really anything queer is still a relatively new for me. After all, I spent the first 50+ years of my life identifying as a straight white woman, with all the privilege that entails. 

But over the past seven years, I've learned what it feels like to be the only queer in the room. To have to think about what’s safe to share and what’s not. To have to decide whether to reveal my queer identity—or not. To feel somewhat like a fish out of water even when I’m in spaces where I know that my queerness is accepted.

These days I also know what it feels like to be in a queer-centered space.

Where I can hold my wife’s hand or give her a kiss and not have to think twice about it. Where I can talk about chosen family and the pain of having family members who were less than accepting when I came out. Where I can share my later-in-life coming out story and know what the people in the room get it. They get me.

There's nothing like being in community with other queers to feel totally like myself.

That’s why I’ve created a mentorship and community for LGBTQ+ writers because it’s hard to be the only queer writer in the room.

And besides, LGBTQ+ writers are better together.


Just fill out the details below and you'll be good to go. Please note, your information is safe with me, and welcome!