Pride, Not Prejudice, Unbound and #AnthologyWeek

Friends! It’s a special occasion over at Unbound publishing. This week marks one year since the publication of their wildly successful book, The Good Immigrant! TGI is a pioneering book, and with it editor Nikesh Shukla opened the door for a whole host of anthologies, collections of work by authors from marginalised communities whose voices might not otherwise be heard. I wouldn’t be writing to you today if not for The Good Immigrant.

So why am I here writing to you today? I’m trans. You probably know that. And you can probably guess that I wasn’t always as open about it as I am now. I’ve felt for a really long time since coming out that I wasn’t giving enough back to my community. As writers I think we have a tendency to see ourselves as, at best, ‘armchair activists’: we put words on paper but what does that actually accomplish?

But books can and do make a difference. Growing up I had no literature to refer to about being trans, let alone about being nonbinary. If I’d been able to pick up a novel where the main character was trans, or see a mention of someone like Marsha P Johnson or Christine Jorgensen in a school history textbook, I would have been deeply affected. I would have known that I wasn’t weird or unnatural or alone, and that people like me have made, and are making, history.

That’s what this book is for. We’ve gathered a group of transgender and nonbinary writers and activists and bloggers and artists from a really diverse range of backgrounds, and with a wide range of different gender identities. Transness isn’t a monolith, nor is it the be all, end all of ourselves as people. What I want this book to do is to tell other trans people that there’s nothing wrong with being trans, that their stories are important, and that they’re not alone. It’s what I would have wanted when I was a kid.

If you want to help me and my fellow trans and genderqueer authors tell our stories, you can pre-order a copy of the book from our crowdfunding page. Please keep in mind that we can ONLY publish if we receive enough pre-orders to cover production costs, so I encourage you to pre-order.

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CROATIA SKETCHES 1 // leaving Edinburgh

29 Aug, 3am.
I awake surprisingly easily. This cough has been making sleep a matter of extreme self discipline, akin to meditation. I’ve been waking at all hours, sleeping at most for stretches of six hours. I’m not exhausted, either, which surprises me.
I shut the door to my flat behind me, trying not to think of what I may have forgotten. As I walk down Clerk St in the dark there are still people about. I had forgotten this was the last day of the fringe. These people have not gone to bed. I nod good morning and they look back at me, suspicious or guilty. The kinship of the hour is not enough to negate the strangeness of it. Nonetheless, their presence comforts the traveller in me. I am not alone. I am a pilgrim and they are my silent guides.

29 Aug, 4.40am.
I’m at the airport. I’m still hawking up gobbets of yellow phlegm. They’re surprisingly solid and sit, foreign and complacent on my tongue until I can spit them discretely into a square of toilet roll. I’ve come prepared.
The effects of the cocodamol are less pronounced than I would have hoped. But still I cling to the idea of it like a lifeline. With the cocodamol I can walk and talk and carry my backpack and that is all I need right now. I must remember to get change for the bus when the plane lands in Dubrovnik.