Herstories

4 11 2009

A friend of mine was traveling to New York recently and because I wanted to grab the opportunity to order some good lesbian books online and have her bring them back home, I started my search very excitedly on Amazon. I typed in the search words ‘Asian + lesbian’ but very little turned up. I then added the word ‘South’ before ‘Asian’ to the search words… but again not much came up. So I added the word ‘queer’.

This produced far more results than the other categories so I started browsing the titles and reading the excerpts. But sadly in spite of the volume of results of the search, I found very little of relevance to my life…or to what I think is representative of my life.

I tried searching other online stores as well. All of them had a large selection of gay and lesbian literature and many of the titles seemed interesting. Most of the literature was out of America and not by Asian writers. I was looking for something more Asian – more South Asian really and more Sri Lankan to be precise. That would have been perfect.

And I was looking for something lesbian – not male-centric. Comics, novels, novellas, fiction, non-fiction, I searched all the categories but found almost nothing. Two choices did come up though: Facing the mirror: Lesbian writing from India which i have read and have no great opinion of and Stealing Nazreen – a novel which I have yet to read.

Besides these two books there was nothing of real significance – and certainly nothing from Sri Lanka.

And then it struck me. We need to write our own ‘Herstories’!

That is the only way we will gain more visibility through literature. It really is our responsibility – to ourselves and to the next generation of young soul-searching Sri Lankan lesbians – to make them feel less alone and that they are not the first to be this way and will certainly not be the last.

We need to write our stories to ensure we are not omitted from the pages of history. We have to create our own language where none exists – to describe our lives and what and who we are. We can’t keep expecting other people to write the stories of our lives when we are the ones living them. No. We have to write our own stories and our own histories…and the time is now.

So I sat down and started writing…

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6 responses

4 11 2009
lg77

Few times, I also did my part of research to find books by Asian authors, but ended up with disappointing results.

Funny boy by Shyam Selvadori is the only gay story book i read from a Srilankan author.

Bytheway, i came across one book, from, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha (the only queer srilnkan woman writer I have ever heard of)

http://www.amazon.com/Leah-Lakshmi-Piepzna-Samarasinha/e/B001K7XKFE/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0/187-7290519-2198823

I couldnt find any Queer story books/ authors yet.

I agree with u, I mean we really HAVE to write our stories 😀

4 11 2009
Vak

Finding ‘our’ books is one of the most difficult things yet I think. I would also suggest Mary Ann Mohanraj’s Bodies in Motion (not toally queer but somewhat).
But I think we will have to write our own fiction 😉

5 11 2009
Dee

maybe a collab…

5 11 2009
pissu perera

excellent! 🙂

halfway through the post i was thinking “why don’t they write a book. or books?”.

5 11 2009
DD

Besides Sri Lanka, read Anais Nin. Excellent female pornography author.

6 11 2009
aappathachchiya

thanks for the tips all of you! do keep them coming….we’ll maybe compile a collection?

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