Over the weekend, I was lucky to be a guest of Out Chicago with Scott Duff, a new Sunday show on WCPT, Chicago's Progressive Talk Radio. It was a fantastic opportunity to share Iris with a community of local activists for whom youth advocacy is a major concern. It's immensely gratifying to us whenever we find a message of encouragement from a reader who not only sees the potential but the necessity of Iris. However, it means the absolute world to us when we hear, 'I wish I'd had this when I was younger.'
Part of the reason we founded Iris last summer was precisely because Bex and I, growing up an ocean apart, were frustrated by the lack of LGBT role models in our books. I adored Annie On My Mind, like many Sapphically-inclined ladies of my generation. But Annie On My Mind was like an oasis in a sea of books which I enjoyed but which lacked a character whose experiences echoed my own. We find these stories of adults who grew up, like we did, without seeing - apart from a few brave examples - positive LGBT representation in text to be not only regrettable, but incredibly sad. We lived through that kind of dearth of characters 'like us,' and we felt the same way. So, hearing other adults say that they wish that Iris had existed for their childhoods, is truly an honor for us.
For me, then, the most remarkable aspect of our conversation was hearing the impact that Iris made on Scott and the Out Chicago team. At Creating Iris, we love receiving messages from readers telling us what they thought of the magazine! But Sunday was the first time I've ever been able to actually speak with someone about what precisely touched them, and it was really great to finally have that kind of conversation! I'm always interested to know which pieces speak to readers, but it was lovely to be able to talk about it, too - to speak a little about why we chose it and what we hoped readers would take away from its inclusion.
If you're following us on Facebook, you undoubtedly saw my liveblog of sorts, so you know that I was pretty nervous about the whole speaking extemporaneously on live radio thing. But everyone at Out Chicago, from the awesome producers to Scott and guest co-host Honey West, put me at ease and made sure I had a lot of fun! All in all, I don't think I did too badly, though I'll withhold judgment until I receive the clip of our segment from the Out Chicago production team - especially since I have it on fairly good authority (my parents, of course!) that I sounded different from the way I do in person. (Since I was basically aiming for an Oscar in Professional Intonation, I found that rather encouraging!)
Unfortunately, no pictures, since I was in the middle of the program - so Scott will simply have to invite me back to take some! (Hear that, Scott?)