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    Game Changers

    By Michele Karlsberg

    Michele Karlsberg: Two new books by lesbian authors Kathleen Archambeau and Robin Lowey are featured in this issue of the San Francisco Bay Times. I asked both Archambeau and Lowey to share their thoughts about these new works and what inspired them.

    Kathleen Archambeau: A slight, long-haired, fine-featured young intersex student with oversized glasses reminded me of why I wrote Pride & Joy: LGBTQ Artists, Icons and Everyday Heroes. When I got off the call with Scout Schultz, President of the Georgia Tech University Pride Alliance, I was excited about the prospect of speaking to the group—Scout leading the charge with an unbridled curiosity and enthusiasm that fueled my own.

    The meeting in October never happened because in September, Scout called in their own threat and, wandering outside their dorm barefoot, Scout was shot through the heart at close range by a rookie GTU cop. To this day, it gnaws at me that had I been able to come to the campus and discuss the prospects for living a full, open, happy and loving queer life, maybe Scout, a 3.9 GPA computer science senior, might not have taken their life.

    The statistics are still daunting for queer youth—92% are bullied in American schools. Queer teens are four times as likely to commit suicide and eight times as likely to do so in religiously condemning households, which is why the messages in this book are so important: from Academy Award-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black to the first openly lesbian Bishop Karen Oliveto. 

    As many queer youth, straight parents, teachers and allies have figured out, “finding community, finding your peeps” is the best inoculation against self-abnegation. My book is just the beginning of a new conversation that starts with the premise, “You are fabulous just the way you are and everything’s possible.”

    Kathleen Archambeau is an award-winning writer and LGBTQ activist. She was a founding member of the SF Public Library’s LGBT wing. To learn more: www.kathleenarchambeau.com

    Robin Lowey: I wrote Game Changers – Lesbians You Should Know About in response to the FAIR Act, a 2011 law requiring inclusion of LGBT studies in the California public school curriculum. It’s a fun, large-format book with colorful portraits, aha moments, illustrated timelines and pull-out game cards.

    The women featured are over 50, came out young, and made significant contributions to LGBTQ culture. Kate Kendell, Jewelle Gomez, Mariah Hanson, Marga Gomez, and Crystal Jang are among the 30 featured lesbians who are well known in the LGBTQ community, but not necessarily in the world at large.

    I was a pioneering lesbian mom in the 1990s. I was stunned when I turned 50, my kids grew up, my 27-year relationship ended, I got laid off and my best friend died. I needed to start over and find a new path. I began volunteering for my local LGBT Center and visiting classrooms to dispel myths about LGBTQ people.

    In 2010, I launched Epochalips.com – Smart Lesbian Commentary, popular with lesbians over 40. When the FAIR Act passed, I realized I needed to write this book. I raised $20,000 through crowd funding to achieve my goal of providing a book to every public high school in the Bay Area. It’s important that today’s youth understand about our history. I’m having a blast taking the book into classrooms and leading discussions about LGBTQ issues, history, stereotyping and how it leads to discrimination. Plans are in the works for an animated E-book, and a Volume 2.

    Robin Lowey’s writing has appeared at several websites (such as Epochalips.com Lesbian.com and More.com). She was Creative Director of “Girlfriends Magazine,” and a graphic designer for “Coming up” (now “San Francisco Bay Times”) during the 1990s. For more info: www.lesbiangamechangers.com

     

    Michele Karlsberg Marketing and Management specializes in publicity for the LGBT community. This year, Karlsberg celebrates thirty years of successful book campaigns.