Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-08-21
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

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

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 .


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Bechdel Fest 7 set for Aug. 25-28 2019-08-21 - Broken Nose Theatre ( BNT ) has announced the full line-up for Bechdel Fest 7: Momentum—the company's annual festival of new short plays ...


Gay News

Goldie Goldbloom on new book, being a queer Chasidic Jew 2019-08-21 - Chicago author and queer Chasidic Jew Goldie Goldbloom's newest book is On Division. It centers on the life of Surie Eckstein in Brooklyn, ...


Gay News

MOMBIAN Pushing for inclusivity in children's books, one publisher shows how 2019-08-21 - Orca Book Publishers of British Columbia, Canada, is an independent publisher with the goal of offering "reading material that represents the diversity of ...


Gay News

BOOK REVIEW The Ghost Photographer 2019-08-21 - By Julie Rieger $25; Enliven/Atria Books; 243 pages You know how they do it. It's a snap, really. A little bit of ...


Gay News

Author Shapiro speaks at Women and Children First 2019-08-14 - Fort Lauderdale-based writer Gregg Shapiro, a native of Skokie, visited Women & Children First Bookstore in Andersonville the evening of Aug. 7. Shapiro, ...


Gay News

Women & Children First to host Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor 2019-08-13 - Women & Children First is honored to present U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor for a moderated conversation and audience Q&A followed by ...


Gay News

Women & Children First, forty years of book-selling history 2019-08-07 - To celebrate Women & Children First's 40th anniversary, the store will be hosting a summer block party with a feminist slant Saturday, Aug. ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Comic-book heroes, Cara and Ashley, Chris Pine, Pride Summit 2019-08-06 - The animated character Aquaman was confirmed to be LGBT+ on the latest episode of Young Justice: Outsiders—the DC Universe's animated show about teenage ...


Gay News

Gene Siskel Film Center to present Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am Aug. 23-29 2019-08-06 - As a venue that celebrates all art forms and a public program of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Gene ...


Gay News

Author Toni Morrison dies at 88 2019-08-06 - Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison has died at 88. Morrison was the first Black woman to receive the Nobel literature prize, awarded ...


 



Copyright © 2019 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


 



About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

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.