Books: Local Writer’s Group Publishes Anthology

GayWrites hopes for larger role in LGBT literary community

Found love, lost love, sexuality, war, bravery, drug-use, new beginnings, new identities, fathers and sons, all of it, and more, can be found in GayWrites Anthology Volume 1.

Published by the local writers group, GayWrites, the Anthology is a mix of poems, short stories and excerpts by the gay and straight members of the group.

GayWrites has been meeting every Wednesday at the Stonewall Library since 2009 to critique each other’s writing.

“I guess coming in once a week wasn’t enough,” said Dr. Jay Asher, president and founder of GayWrites. Certain members, including Asher, have been published but this is the first time their work has been published together. Asher hopes to make an annual publication.

Copies of the Anthology will be available for sale at the Second Annual GayWrites Readings from the Authors on Sunday, Dec. 6 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Stonewall Gallery, 2157 Wilton Drive.

This though, said Asher, is just a “baby step.” The ultimate goal is to become a publishing house for LGBT writers and straight writers who want to publish LGBT-themed material. “All the stuff that would be representative of our community,” he said.

“It’s important the [heterosexual] community understands . . . you don’t have to be gay to write with GayWrites. We are very welcoming.”

Gloria Fleitman, a heterosexual woman and GayWrites’ treasurer, has known that for some time.

“I’m in the company of professionals who are willing to share,” she said. “I come up with a better quality story [with their help].”

Her writing in the group is dominated by her late friend, Cherry Hill, a male-to-female transgender woman who died before her time.

Cherry, born Charles, is featured in Fleitman’s two contributions to the Anthology – “I Am Cherry” and “Who Am I?”

Asked how she writes a transgender individual as a heterosexual woman, “From recollections of an individual who was a cherry in my life and my brother’s experiences, he was bisexual, and my own mindset of how I would want to be treated.”

She calls her writing, “a tribute to another human being. How she went from Charles to Cherry. Between the beginning and the end, there is a story that needs to be told. It’s stimulating and fascinating to watch her growth. She strove to be the best she could be.”

Ultimately, she wants her involvement in GayWrites to be about more than just writing.

“As long as I’m here, I want to make this world a better place. I want to help build a bridge of better understanding between the straight world and quote, unquote, alternative lifestyles.”

GayWrites meets every Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at Stonewall Library, 1300 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale.


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