'Queer' Teens Invited to Share Their True Stories

Susan Jones | Morning Editor | Wednesday, February 02, 2005

'Queer' Teens Invited to Share Their True Stories

(CNSNews.com) - "We're looking for young people (ages 13 to 23) who have something to say about what it's like to queer in America today," say the organizers of a "Queerthology" book project.

Two young authors -- in conjunction with Knopf Books and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education network -- say they are "putting together an anthology of personal nonfiction about today's queer teen experience."

They say the anthology will be published this year by Knopf, a division of Random House Children's Books - and proceeds from the book will benefit GLSEN, the group that helps students establish Gay/Straight Alliances in the nation's high schools.

People from 13 to 23 whose stories are selected for publication will receive $100 from the publisher, according to the Queerthology website.

"It used to be that queer teens were fighting to find a single voice," the website says. "Now we each have our own voices -- and finally someone wants to give us a place to tell our stories in order to show what gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender/questioning life is really like now. So that other people -- both queer and straight -- can know."

The project organizers -- two young authors named David Levithan (author of Boy Meets Boy, published by Knopf) and Billy Merrell (author of Talking in the Dark) -- say they're looking for "honest, "real," "sincere" nonfiction stories "concerning gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and/or other related sexuality issues."

"Curse words and sexual content are fine," the Queerthology website says in its "frequently asked questions" section.

"We're looking for honest, true experiences and therefore aren't looking to censor anyone...real life involves real language and content. That said, keep in mind that we are publishing this book for young people, and it will be difficult to convince the higher-ups that a piece should be in if the language or content seems extraneous or unnecessary."

Levithan and Merrell note, "The book will be published by Knopf, a division of Random House, and we're planning on it coming out (pardon the pun) in late 2005."

Young people entering the writing contest do not have to be "queer" ("absolutely not!") -- nor do they have to be American, Levithan and Merrell say.

GLSEN, the group that will receive royalties from the "Queerthology," describes its mission as "working to ensure safe and effective schools for all students."

Planned Parenthood's "Teenwire" is linking its readers to the Queerthology website.