Monday, October 24, 2011

GUEST POST: The Invisible by Storm Moon Press

It is my great pleasure to welcome the amazing folks over at Storm Moon Press to my little Bibrary Book Lust blog! Today I`m featuring a wonderful guest post on Bisexual, Trans*, and Intersexed Characters, while tomorrow I`ll have an interview with none other than S.L. Armstrong & K. Piet - the faces behind the pages!

If you`d like a little taste of what Storm Moon Press has to offer, I urge you to check out my review of Daughters of Artemis, published by Storm Moon Press, edited by S.L. Armstrong, and containing stories by both S.L. Armstrong & K. Piet!


The Invisible: Bisexual, Trans, and Intersexed Characters
by Storm Moon Press

Throughout fiction, there has always been The Invisible – a class of minority characters that writers keep out of their writing. At various times in history, The Invisible has been women, people of color, and homosexuals. Now, The Invisible are bisexual, trans* (a term which represents a combination of transgender, transsexual, and transvestite), and intersexed (referring to any number of genetic conditions characterized by an ambiguity in the appearance of sex-linked traits) characters. And I believe it’s time to start bringing them into the light as well.

All too often, bisexual characters – especially bisexual male characters – are reserved for "ménage" stories in which their bisexuality frequently manifests as infidelity or promiscuity, generally culminating in a "why didn't you tell me?" moment from their established partner (usually female) and leads into a threesome scene, curtain falls, story over. In these cases, the bisexual partner is portrayed as dishonest, uncommunicative, and shady, while the other two characters are always understanding and open. It shouldn't need to be said, but this is very rarely the way things work out in reality.

Alternatively, the bisexuality of a character is completely erased, as in the common "Gay For You" trope. In this type of story, the character (again, usually male) is either shown in an existing heterosexual relationship or shown to have a history of heterosexual relationships. But then he meets the one man in all the world with the power to make him question his lifelong assumptions. Sometimes, this story dovetails with the above, with the author making the point that the man is still "really" straight, it's just this one man he wants. Other times, the man is shown throwing away his heterosexual relationship entirely in favor of starting life anew as a "real" gay man.

For trans* and intersexed characters, the situation is even grimmer. They are almost never featured in fiction at all, not even in the marginalized capacities that bisexual characters can be found! Even worse, trans* characters are often conflated with intersexed characters, which are then treated with an utter lack of respect or medical accuracy. Sometimes, these characters exist for no other reason than to facilitate an mpreg (male pregnancy) storyline. The very real difficulties for trans* and intersexed individuals are hardly ever addressed.

Complicating the matter is the fact that readers of heterosexual romance rarely want to see same-sex contact, and the reverse is true for readers of same-sex romance. And the general lack of common knowledge (and prevalence of misconception) make both writing and reading about trans* and intersexed characters somewhat problematic. And so authors have the tendency to stick to "safer" waters for their subject matter, publishers avoid taking on projects that may challenge their audience and potentially harm sales, and marginalized readers find their voices drowned out by the mainstream clamoring for more of the same.

So, what's the solution? Well, just as the Grand Canyon was once the Completely Uninteresting Gully, the answer lies in time, persistence, and slowly chipping away at the foundation. Other invisible characters have endured and become more prevalent in fiction (admittedly with varying degrees of success – there is always more that can be done!), so we have no doubt that bisexual, trans*, and intersexed characters will begin to appear more frequently and in more positive representations. What it will take are authors willing to write outside their comfort zones, publishers willing to take a chance on a new market, and readers willing to challenge their own perceptions of what characters can be.

This is an area in which we hope Storm Moon Press can stand out. We are actively searching for romances and other fiction that include positive portrayals of bisexual, trans*, and intersexed characters. We have several anthology calls on our site that specifically cater to each of these niche (for now) areas, and we invite authors of these types of characters who have been unable to locate a publisher, as well as those who may not have considered them in the past but are willing to take a chance, to submit a short story to one or more of these collections. We also hope readers will expand their horizons a little bit more and give these sorts of stories a chance. There are wonderful worlds out there filled with unique characters, and they’re just waiting to be given a voice.

Where you can find Storm Moon Press:
Twitter: @stormmoonpress


  1. This was a really interesting and informative post.

    I'm open to all genres. If you provide them, I'll read them.

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  2. Great post! I am bisexual and genderqueer, and I'd definitely like to see us represented in fiction more often, especially in a positive light and not just as a side character either. In time, I hope to write it myself too. I'm glad that SMP is not only open to bi, trans*, or intersexed characters, but also encourages them as well. :)

  3. Thank you for having us here, Sally! :)

    Piper -- I'm bisexual as well, and K. is genderqueer, so we would love to see more representations of our identities in fiction. It's sorely lacking at the moment, but I'm hoping SMP can help change that!