Editor’s note: So much has changed — largely for the better — since this article was written. While its subject appears to have vanished from the Internet, the transgender literary scene appears to have positively exploded in the meantime. As a starting point, we commend to your attention this Wikipedia list of transgender publications. Happy reading!
Our Own Stories, an online, literary magazine featuring short stories, poems and essays on transsexual themes has been launched, according to Terry M., editor-in-chief of the new e-zine.
“Our mission,” says M., “is to provide a forum for quality fiction which celebrates the transsexual experience, to nurture beginning transgender writers, and to help move fiction with transgender characters into the mainstream of fiction.”
M. notes that while many sites on the Internet publish transgender fiction, Our Own Stories is different in that it will be highly selective of the stories featured each month.
“This won’t be an archive site like so many TG fiction sites,” explains M.. “It will be a magazine style site featuring only 4-5 of the best stories each month along with a few poems and essays. We will also have a monthly feature for writers called ‘The Writing School’ since our purpose is also to help develop writing talent as well as publish it.”
M. also emphasizes one other difference in her site. “Most TG Fiction sites are dominated by explicitly sexual stories of forced feminization or domination and submission fantasies. Our site will feature only clean, wholesome fiction.”
Is there a market for “clean, wholesome” transgender fiction? M. thinks so.
“About eight years ago, I published the first Emergence web site I had been writing a series of stories with a TS character named Cindy. Those pages turned out to be the most popular pages on the entire site. But more than that I was swamped with email from readers who were effusive in their appreciation on finding some clean, dignified, but realistic stories with a transgender character,” M. said.
M. has a history of success combining “wholesome” living and transsexualism. Her Emergence web site was one of the first to blend transsexualism and Christianity.
“When I tell people I’m a Christian and a Transsexual, they often do a double take as though one cannot be both. But being a transsexual is not antithetical to sound Bible doctrine. That’s the message of Emergence Ministries. God Loves You! Yes, you in the green dress. He loves you,” she said.
When she speaks one can hear the cadence of a Pentecostal preacher, which is only fair since she grew up in that tradition and attends a Pentecostal church.
“My mother and grandmother on my mother’s side were both Pentecostal preachers as well as my Grandfather on my father’s side of the family. I didn’t have a chance,” she quips with a smile.
M. says many of her short stories deal with the struggle of being a Christian transsexual.
“Sometimes I feel like a lightning rod set in a field with thunderstorms approaching from the south and the north at the same time. Some church people believe I’m a sinner because I’m transsexual and some transsexuals don’t like me because I’m a Christian. Many of my stories reflect that struggle,” she says.
Apparently, that blending of Christianity and Transsexualism has struck a chord with many others who share M.’s religious traditions. The Emergence Website gets about 20,000 hits a month and the Emergence email discussion list is the spiritual home for about 250 people.
“For many of our list members, Emergence is almost like a second church family. For some it’s their only church family. We provide support and encouragement and also challenge each other to be the best we can be for our Lord,” M. says.
M. says that the new web site is a logical extension of the original ministry since the purpose of true religion is to provide dignity for the individual. “And this magazine,” says M., “has the same mission to elevate transgender fiction out of the gutter and give our people more dignity in the literature which is uniquely ours.”