This may be a bit windy, so bear with me.
I was part of a discussion recently about the current nature of LGBTQ literature, and whether or not we need it as a separate entity.
The general answer was yes, we still need it. (Yay, I keep my job!)
But when I asked this question, things got rather tense:
Do you identify as a Gay/Lesbian Writer, or do you identify as a writer who happens to be LGBT?
The panel was split, and the audience were split as well. While some identified as specifically lgbt writers, some said they were writers first, who happened to be lgbt. Personally, I identify as a lesbian writer–my experiences as a lesbian shape the person I am as a writer, even if I’m not writing specifically lesbian texts. A few folks in the audience became quite insistent we should not label ourselves in such a way, as it limits our writing as well as our readership. My thought is that I know my market, and yes, my work is often directed at the lgbt community. I don’t feel it limits me, as I’m writing for exactly the people I want to reach.
Which brings me to the next issue:
At what point do you call yourself a writer? Because there are loads and loads of different types of writing these days. Is a blogger a writer? Or ‘just’ a blogger? Can I call myself a writer if I’ve only published short stories and articles, and not a novel? What if someone has never published anything, but writes for personal enjoyment? Can they call themselves a writer? Would you consider them one? I have no problem calling myself an editor–so is it a financial thing? When you get paid for something, you can call yourself by that name, but not if you do it for fun/free? If an artist never sells anything, are they still ‘An Artist’? Or are they something else, and an artist as a hobby?
1. Do you identify as a _______ writer, or just a writer who happens to be ___________.
2. At what point do you consider someone a __________. (writer, painter, poet, artist, etc).
Song: A Thousand Years by Christina Perri (really beautiful lyrics)
Book: Cassandra by Christa Wolf