At a time when trans individuals are more likely to live in poverty, experience psychological distress, or face violence than other US residents, it's critical that we hear more stories from these communities.
Enter: Amy Heart, an Olympia-based author and illustrator who has dedicated her career to elevating the voices of transgender women and nonbinary people who were assigned male at birth. Her most recent effort: Launching the Resilience anthology, a collection of short stories, essays, and poems from more than 30 writers exploring "the myriad of ways we're fighting to stay alive." The forthcoming book, printed by Heart's Heartspark Press, features work from a number of Pacific Northwest writers, including Seattle's own Magpie Leibowitz, Tobi Hill-Meyer, Lilith Dawn, and Rabbi Emily Aviva Kapor-Mater.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the anthology had raised $4,700 of Heartspark Press' $6,000 goal via Kickstarter.
Money from the fundraiser will go toward Resilience's first printing round and providing honorariums for the anthology's contributors and stipends for volunteer staff and editors.
Heart, who is trans, said it's often difficult to get mainstream publishing houses to pick up books by and for trans women and nonbinary people. Additionally, authors of these identities, particularly those who have disabilities, are non-white, or live in poverty, "face insurmountable odds" trying to get published, she said.
"I’ve frequently heard from people, ‘Why do people want to hear what you have to say? You’re a trans woman. That doesn’t apply to us,’" she said. "Maybe that’s true, but what about people like us who need to hear those voices, who need to hear from people like them? It would’ve completely changed my life if I heard that while I was young."
Heart believes that Resilience will be the largest literary collection of trans women and nonbinary writers currently in circulation. She hopes that the anthology will help people like her 8-year-old niece who faced transphobic teachers, classmates, and family members when she began transitioning.
"It’s now 2017 and the stuff I dealt with as a kid is still the same as when I was growing up," she said.
Heartspark Press plans to release Resilience next month. Seattleites will be able to pick up copies at Left Bank Books in Pike Place Market.
Learn more about the Resilience Kickstarter campaign here.