Do you like THINGS THAT ARE AWESOME? If so, you’ll love what I’ve got today:
Thank you for your interest in supporting Topside Press and our first book, THE COLLECTION: Short Fiction from the Transgender Vanguard. Two years in the making, THE COLLECTION features the work of 28 authors from all corners of North America. Until now we’ve been completely self-funded, and we’re excited to be able to finally be able to offer you the very first product of this new venture into the landscape of queer publishing.
Pre-ordering this title helps us lower the initial cost of printing the book and will also enable Topside Press to plan additional release events to promote the book and support the authors. It will also help us pay our author royalties sooner, which we’re sure they will appreciate. Finally, pre-sales of this book will help us get started publishing our next great titles, including Imogen Binnie’s NEVADA, due out in March 2013.
Bonus Immortality: In addition to getting a copy of the book the week of its released, we’ll also immortalize each one of our early supporters by thanking each one of you in print in the book itself.
I have a short story in The Collection, and from what I’ve seen of the advance copy, there’s a lot of really excellent writing in it. Though they seem to hold that a transgender vanguard exists (and, more distressingly, that I’M in it. :) )If you’re interested in great writing and voices that go unheard, pre-order a copy. Topside Press has also received a donation to send copies to queer and trans people who are incarcerated, and the press has the potential to become a major force in queer writing. So go support them!
Now, on to some less happy news.
When I sent my story to Topside Press for consideration, I worried about being pigeonholed as a trans writer. Well, I’d love to be pigeonholed, because I just opened a contributor copy of the other publication (Confrontation magazine) that accepted one of my stories this year, and discovered that someone had changed all of the pronouns in my bio to “she” and “her.”
And I’m angry, and frustrated, but not at all surprised.
I’ve been out as a non-binary trans person for several years now, and I understand and accept that I will be explaining my identity and my choices to people for the rest of my life. Even when I want to shut the door to my office and say “Jesus, people, all I ever wanted to do with my life was write awesome books.”
(I’d like to remind everyone that I don’t use gender-neutral pronouns to be confusing, or to make an abstract point about gender – I use them to be able to connect with people on an authentic and genuine level.)
And I’m angry that I’m thinking of the justifications I’ll have to offer to those who protest that gender-neutral pronouns are unfamiliar to most people. Like that it’s terrible and unethical editorial practice to make a change to an author’s BIO without querying the author. When the real problem is that someone decided I was really a woman, and then chose to present me as a woman to the world.
But right now, I’m not interested in losing another day to crafting another angry yet diplomatic email, or in receiveing another lukewarm apology and profession of ignorance. It’s draining, it doesn’t un-print the words, and it’s just too inefficient a way to go about creating large-scale cultural change.
So let’s do this instead:
If this story makes you angry, I want you to channel your energy into an action that makes the world easier for trans and gender-nonconforming people. I don’t necessarily mean buy a book (although Sassafras Lowrey is also dropping an important one in October). Support or propose an anti-discrimination bill or health care initiative in your area. Practice asking people what their name and pronoun is. Change the bathrooms policy at your job. Or do some self-education and spend time reading blogs (I like WeHappyTrans as a starting point).
Be awesome to each other.