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Write Brain


by: Robin Laborde

Writing Real LGBTQ Plus Characters: A Panel Discussion

I belong to a faith tradition, Unitarian Universalism, that affirms the inherent worth and dignity of every person. It’s a well-intentioned principle that in practice often keeps us on a comfortable periphery, preaching “tolerance” while staying far away from the bleeding edge of societal debates. I’m coming to believe that fixing the divisions in our society takes more than tolerance, it takes curiosity to learn about those we have been taught to consider as “other.” We must be brave enough not only to ask questions but to stay and listen to the answers, to accept that each person has a truth that may not be the same as our own, and to seek to understand.

The panel of PPW’s last Write Brain provided a variety of perspectives on the LGBTQ experience, including a spirited debate about the acronym itself. And while the myriad and constantly evolving labels can be confusing for those outside this culture, the conversation helped illuminate a central concern: the wish to be SEEN. To be acknowledged and understood.

Kudos to PPW for facilitating this valuable conversation. One of the intentions of the event was to help writers create diverse characters with sensitivity and understanding. The evening certainly helped me illuminate my own approach to writing a gender fluid character.

Write Brain’s Panelists were:

LGBTQ Panelists

David R Slayton grew up in Guthrie, Oklahoma, where finding fantasy novels was pretty challenging and finding fantasy novels with diverse characters was downright impossible. Now he lives in Denver and writes the books he always wanted to read. His debut YA fantasy, GHOST DRAGON, will be published in January 2020 by Harmony Ink Press. He is represented by Lesley Sabga of the Seymour Agency.

Emily Kay Singer/Nonir Amicitia has never really fit into molds or boxes. They claim labels such as queer, nerd, Heathen, and Social Justice Cleric, but none of those completely describe them. They’ve published short stories in anthologies, entirely too much fanfic, and has several novels-in-progress, all featuring queer characters and diverse casts. They also co-write the Aces High, Jokers Wild series under the penname O.E. Tearmann.

Suzanne Anderson is a schoolteacher, writer, and long-standing member of the geek community in Colorado Springs. She brings an intimate voice and open trans perspective to the discussion of authentic characters.

When not fighting our robot overlords or tinkering with Tarot spreads, Vivian Caethe writes weird fiction, science fiction, fantasy, quirky nonfiction and everything in between. She lives in Colorado with a super villain cat. She can be found as a writer at and as an editor at

Robin Laborde

This recap from Write Brain is presented by Contributing Editor Robin Laborde. Robin is not sure exactly how long she has been a member of Pikes Peak Writers but she enjoys it very much. While she is currently writing a speculative fiction novel set in the near future, she dreams of flying to the moon in a spaceship made from butterfly wings.

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