There's been a lot of challenges lately in the lgbtqia+ books-and-writing world, particularly on the M/M Romance front. I don't have a dog in that fight, since I don't technically write genre romance or exclusively M/M. But it's been disheartening to see family fighting.
The last time I mentioned that, several people told me flat-out that we're not "family." Just because we share space under the rainbow doesn't mean we have much in common or want to hang out together, even in the book world. That may be true, but it makes me sad.
Here's the thing. There may be some truth to that, especially since many of us are looking exclusively for "books about people mostly like ourselves" in a broad sense. But I also think it isn't quite on the mark.
Supposed Crimes, as well as a number of other small lgbtqia/lgbtqia-friendly presses, have created family. The same is true for a few other writing groups mainly made up of independent/self-published/small press authors. Several of my writing colleagues have gone out of their way to create space for diverse voices from all backgrounds.
Our authors talk and interact, share stories, contribute to crowdfunding, and boost each other's work. Not all of us identify as part of the rainbow, but those who are allies are true blue. The lgbtqia-identified authors represent every letter, believe it or not. Our relationships with each other are built on mutual trust and respect. We, and other presses like us, are what things could--and should--be like. Not just in the writing world but everywhere.
This is what I try to achieve when I write. I hear often from people who say the reason they like the happily ever afters is that it's a bit of fantasy, of dreaming about what life could be like. What I want isn't just the HEA between two romantic leads--it's a HEA between friends and family and coworkers. That's the fantasy I dream of.
Are we lgbtqia+ writers "family"? I can't answer that for anyone except myself. From what I've experienced in the few places I've had the privilege to be published or work as a designated reviewer, yes. It's what happens when people genuinely care for and want the best for each other. Then HEA becomes a reality.