Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-03-16
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Victoria Brownworth talks Axelrod, identity and feminism
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Sarah Toce
2015-03-24

This article shared 3743 times since Tue Mar 24, 2015
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Lambda Literary award-winning author Victoria Brownworth contributes regularly to a respectable arrangement of global publications, including The Advocate, SheWired, Curve, and Huffington Post. With an array of viable options from which to choose her next centerpiece, how does the self-professed "politics junkie" decide on a genre?

"I believe the best literature is genre literature. I have made students gasp in classes when I've said that, but if we look at classic literature, that's what we have: Jane Austen and Virginia Woolf and Tolstoy—all romance writers, as were Dickens and Flaubert," she said. "Our greatest current American novelists, Joyce Carol Oates and Toni Morrison, are both genre writers. Oates does romance and mystery and horror, Morrison mostly romance. Genre gets a bad name, a diminished name. It shouldn't. It's where we live in letters."

Speaking of letters, "A few years ago I started a mentoring program for inner city kids, KITH ( Kids in the Hood ) for reading and writing because our public schools here are 86 percent of color and among the very worst in the country, so I wanted to help get kids on board with writing about their lives as a means of maintaining interest in school and in how to use words to keep themselves centered in the midst of what can be a tough time—middle school and junior high," she shared.

The print landscape has morphed since the invention of the Internet, blogging and new media—a topic that hits close to home for Brownworth.

"I love getting my news via Twitter every morning, I admit—I follow 20 different publications from the New York Times and BBC World News to smaller queer publications. But I am, as a journalist who came of age in daily newspapers, disturbed by the lack of fact checking, the presumption that a tweet is the same as actual fact and that kind of sloppiness in reporting."

Further on the subject of instantaneous news, Brownworth doesn't discount its potential to get a story from the laptop to a worldwide audience in seconds.

"Social media is essential. I am a fiend for Twitter because of its immediacy and its political edge and the instant gratification it offers with regard to the issue of the moment," she said. "Twenty years ago stories didn't go viral because people were buying newspapers and magazines and there was a time lag between TV news and print news. Now I can write a story within a few hours of an event and it's out there. That's the up side of social media: more readers."

But there's a caveat.

"The catch is, are they actually reading these stories or just reading the headline in the tweet? I see a lot of 'discussions' on Twitter between journalists and 'readers' where it's apparent the reader arguing hasn't even read the piece. So that's the down side—seven second news," she said.

Brownworth has authored 13 novels ranging from horror stories to erotica. Her next novel, Ordinary Mayhem, was released Feb. 17.

"Ordinary Mayhem is a novel about a photojournalist, Faye Blakemore. She works for a daily newspaper in New York City, which is not stated as the New York Times, but is. Faye goes for the stories that shock and stun readers, but those stories, of course, take their toll. The novel is about how Faye's past and present converge as she covers stories that are about what is happening to women in the world," she explained. "If the novel has a specific theme it is violence against women, which impacts one in three women worldwide."

Brownworth went on to discuss her second upcoming release—Lesbian Erasure: Silencing Lesbians—out in late 2015.

"For the past several years I have been increasingly concerned by the obliteration of lesbians as a group by mainstream culture, mainstream feminism and regrettably, even by our own community," she said. "Major online publications like Slate and Salon conflate lesbian into gay, as if lesbians and gay men don't have separate identities. And increasingly there is also a revision of butch lesbians as trans men when that is rarely the case—that makes both butch lesbians and trans men invisible. Not all trans men were lesbians, not all butch lesbians are closet trans men. Let each have their distinct identities."

It's a concept straight women can innately digest as well.

"Mainstream feminism has similar problems. There is a long history within mainstream feminism of lesbians being erased or expunged and that is still true. Within straight culture lesbians are the most likely to be raped and killed. There's a lot of attention to the murders of trans women of color, many of them sex workers, who are killed, but very little to lesbians who are murdered. We have to change that," she said. "Corrective rape was invented specifically to teach lesbians a lesson about heterosexual normatively. While it's most common in South Africa, India and Jamaica, it also happen in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere. There are 78 countries where it is illegal to be lesbian or gay—specifically. Lesbians are the victims of honor killings in a dozen countries. The forced marriages of lesbians to men happens in several dozen countries. These are some of the things I write about in Erasure."

Brownworth said she hopes to have two more novels hitting the stands within the next year. "Cutting is a young adult novel about a young lesbian dealing with conflict over her sexual orientation. I also really want to write more non-fiction about the role of lesbians in national politics and do another book on lesbians and cancer—my first being Coming Out of Cancer: Writings from the Lesbian Cancer Epidemic, which won the Lambda Literary Award," she said.

With such a vast history in the LGBT movement, Brownworth offered some insight for the upcoming generation.

"I am of the first generation of lesbians and gay men who came out post-Stonewall," Brownworth added. "A lot has changed in those years, but a lot hasn't. Yes, we have marriage equality in many states now, and Alabama was just forced to allow marriages, but at the same time it's more than 20 years since ENDA was first introduced. It still hasn't passed.

"David Axelrod's new political memoir asserts that Barack Obama was always pro-same-sex marriage but that he hid that to get elected. The problem with that narrative is that Obama repeatedly said post-election that he was against marriage equality and evolving on the issue and if Vice President Biden hadn't spoken out, would Obama ever have? We just can't know. So going on Axelrod's book, either the President is a cynical liar, or Axelrod is looking to sell more books with a good, if untrue, story. That's pretty ghastly if we consider the ramifications of it and the impact it had on the real lives of lesbians and gay men."

With the looming SCOTUS decision regarding national marriage equality this June, Brownworth said, "[Edie Windsor's] face should have been on the cover of every magazine in the country. And yet even The Advocate—the LGBT mag of record—made Pope Francis the person of the year for 2013. That was shocking."

Learn more about Victoria Brownworth and purchase her books at www.victoriabrownworth.com .


This article shared 3743 times since Tue Mar 24, 2015
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

State Farm drops GenderCool Project; Illinois General Assembly LGBTQ Caucus, Equality Illinois respond 2022-05-26
- This week in response to an outcry from a hateful few, Illinois-based insurer State Farm dropped their support for The GenderCool Project, which provides LGBTQ-affirming books to schools across the country on a voluntary basis. We ...


Gay News

Actor/model David Pevsner challenges age and body stereotypes in recent book 2022-05-24
- When writing his recent book—Damn Shame: Desire, Defiance and Show Tunes—actor/model/filmmaker David Pevsner noticed three themes coming to the fore: body shame, sexuality and ageism. "All three of those are ...


Gay News

Gayla Turner talks new book uncovering her grandmother's secret queer identity 2022-05-23
- In Gayla Turner's debut book, Don't You Dare: Uncovering Lost Love (BookBaby, May 24), she reveals her Grandmother Ruby's (1896-1977) century-old secret queer identity that she hid from the wider world. This revelation became c ...


Gay News

HIV/AIDS activist Rae Lewis-Thornton on her new memoir, 'Unprotected' 2022-05-18
- Emmy-winning HIV/AIDS activist, author, minister, political organizer, motivational speaker, life coach, jewelry designer and social media figure Rae Clara Lewis-Thornton's recently released book, Unprotected: A Memoir, is already a pre-release ...


Gay News

TV Writer Joel Kim Booster, director Andrew Ahn take a trip to 'Fire Island' 2022-05-15
- Based on the classic Jane Austen book Pride and Prejudice, the new Fox Searchlight film Fire Island has an important story to tell LGBTQ+ audiences specifically. In that story, there are plenty of laughs along the ...


Gay News

BOOKS 'Tinderbox' author to appear in Palatine on June 14 2022-05-13
- Author Robert Fieseler will discuss his debut book—Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation—on Tuesday, June 14, at 7 p.m. at Palatine's Cutting Hall Performing Arts Center, ...


Gay News

THEATER Underscore's 'Notes & Letters' running through May 28 2022-05-12
- Underscore Theatre Company celebrates its 10th-anniversary season with the world premiere of the musical Notes & Letters, which features book, music and lyrics by Annabelle Lee Revak (she/her) and is ...


Gay News

Book-signing for HIV/AIDS activist's 'Unprotected: A Memoir' on May 21 2022-05-05
-- From a press release - "I had been torn apart by the doings of others and blamed myself for surviving to the best of my ability. It would literally take decades for me to understand that I was the product of what happened to me." Emmy ...


Gay News

Gerber/Hart announces change in leadership 2022-05-04
- Wil Brant is no longer executive director of Gerber/Hart Library and Archives. According to an open letter from board co-chairs James Conley and Kevin Nunley as well as Board Treasurer Becky Chmielewski, Brant "served in this ...


Gay News

'It Was Vulgar and It Was Beautiful' explores art collective's part in HIV/AIDS activism 2022-04-23
- In Jack Lowery's book, It Was Vulgar and It Was Beautiful: How AIDS Activists Used Art to Fight a Pandemic, the historian shares how the art collective Gran Fury utilized community-made propaganda to address the HIV/AIDS ...


Gay News

Wisconsin LGBTQ History Project showcases 'History of Milwaukee Drag' starting June 27 2022-04-21
-- From a press release - Milwaukee, WI. - A History of Milwaukee Drag: Seven Generations of Glamour, by local historians Michail Takach and BJ Daniels, will be released Monday, June 27 by The History Press. For nearly 150 years, Milwaukee has ...


Gay News

Gay Latino techie Michael Sayman talks about his inspiring book, 'App Kid' 2022-04-17
- Michael Sayman is a key figure in Silicon Valley, having worked at Instagram, Google and, now, Twitter. However, he stands out in many ways. The twentysomething Sayman—an openly gay Latino—was only in his teens when he ...


Gay News

Indie Bookstore Crawl on Independent Bookstore Day April 30 2022-04-14
-- From a press release - Chicago, April 12, 2022 — It's back! Yet again, Chicagoland proves itself to be the dream destination for book lovers and readers of all ages! Nearly 40 independent bookstores in the greater Chicago area—from Lake Forest ...


Gay News

'Trans Bodies, Trans Selves' second edition out April 15 2022-04-11
-- From a press release - NEW YORK CITY, New York, MApril 11, 2022—The Trans Bodies, Trans Selves board is proud to announce the release of Trans Bodies, Trans Selves' second edition, published April 15, 2022. The Trans Bodies Trans Selvessecond edition ...


Gay News

Mary Lynn Rajskub: Actress/comedian discusses acting, sexuality in new book 2022-04-10
- Emmy-winning actresses and stand-up comedians who just finished publishing their new memoirs, while simultaneously embarking on their stand-up tours, rarely have moments to themselves. Thankfully, Mary Lynn Rajskub, best known for her work on the TV ...


 



Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.