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  • Ava Freeman

Romantic Fiction and Queer Black Women

“I’ve read these already..”

That was me talking to myself a couple of years ago as I was looking for something to read. I have eclectic tastes and basically go through phases where I want deep serious literary work and then phases where I want to get sucked into a juicy romantic story. At the time I was looking for an African American author who wrote lesbian romance. I was finding that the pickings were woefully slim and the good authors were either not writing more or I had read their work already.

A lack of content is an issue that many marginalized groups experience. The advent of YouTube and self publishing has helped with that but even so I don't see a large amount of fiction being written by Black women in the LGBTQ community. The biggest barrier is of course publishers aren't exactly clamoring for material from us because they live by the age old idea that if they think there is no audience for something there must not be one. Whereas, we know that there appears to be no audience because there is little to no content being created that we can consume. On YouTube there are plenty of web series featuring African American lesbian and bisexual women and I love it. But surprisingly there isn't much fiction and I know for a fact that Black women love to read regardless of who they desire.

I chose to write romance because I am a romantic at heart but I also think love is beautiful to write about. It can even be seen as a radical act when the focus is on a marginalized group. Black queer women are a minority within a minority and that makes it even harder to be seen and heard. Everyone deserves to have stories told that they can relate to. As a teen and young adult I read Black erotica by writers like Zane and romance by writers like Eric Jerome Dickey. I loved the books but as a bisexual woman I wanted to see romance between women as well and it was in short supply. The first books I remember reading that featured Black lesbian characters was the Choices series by Skyy. Reading those helped me see the potential for creating stories that reflected queer Black women. My favorite recent author Fiona Zedde, who is so adventurous in what she writes, also showed me the potential within lesbian romance to go beyond the mainstream in romance.

As I write this post, I am slowly starting to see more Black authors hitting the scene with lesbian and queer romances. I look forward to a renaissance where we too can have options in the stories available to us because like all people, Black queer women have many facets to them and many stories to be told.

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