Behind the Pages: Bookstr Team’s Journey as Part of the LGBTQ+ Community

Embark on a colorful journey with the Bookstr team as we delve into our vibrant stories within the LGBTQ+ community, celebrating diversity and unity.

Author's Corner LGBTQ Voices

At Bookstr, our team is more than just a group of book enthusiasts; we are a proud part of the LGBTQ+ community. Our collective experiences shape the vibrant, inclusive space we strive to create every day. Being part of the LGBTQ+ community means celebrating diversity, advocating for representation, and sharing stories that resonate deeply with our identities. Join us as we explore how our unique perspectives and shared passions fuel our mission to connect, empower, and inspire readers from all walks of life.

Spring Break Revelation: My Gay Panic in American Eagle

Finding out I wasn’t straight and actually doing very gay things happened at totally different times. During the spring break of 2023, I went on a trip with my family. While I was alone in American Eagle, a girl approached me and asked me out. In the span of five seconds, my world turned upside down. In those five seconds, my thoughts raced: “Wow, she’s so pretty. I want to go out with her… Wait, what? I want to go out with her? She’s a girl. Am I into girls? Wait, what the hell is going on?!” Then, like a thunderbolt, it hit me: I’ve been attracted to women my entire life. My first kiss ever was with a girl, for goodness’ sake! Every time I kissed a girl or found them pretty, I’d tell myself, “Yep, that’s normal for a straight girl to think and do.” Newsflash: It’s not.

To say she noticed my panic is an understatement. To say I turned bright red as a tomato is also an understatement. I got so flustered that I couldn’t talk properly. She was very nice about it, though, and gave me her number to stay in touch. I put a pin in my crisis because it wasn’t something I wanted to go through in front of my family.

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IMAGE VIA TRISH G

Once I got back home, the panic began. My comfort was rewatching Heartstopper non-stop because Nick was going through the same thing I was. I did quizzes and Googled so many things, trying to figure out what was going on. In June of that same year, I came out as bisexual. Now, one year later, I’m 24 years old and happier than ever, having admitted to myself that while I am bisexual, I’ve also figured out that I’m homoromantic. Embracing my true self has been a wild ride, but I wouldn’t change a thing.

  • Trish G, Editorial

Val and Their Journey (It Gets Gay)

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IMAGE VIA TRISH G

I first realized I liked girls when I was around 12, while watching Victorious. Yes, my crush was none other than Jade West (who is even surprised). Long story short, I identified as bisexual for years until I went to three Kehlani concerts and realized I was actually a lesbian. That was back in September of 2022, and here I am now — gay as hell and very much proud.

  • Val Gritsenko, Social and Video

Thanks, TikTok!

My experience with the LGBTQ+ community is a little more recent (thanks, COVID) so I’m still learning my way around. I also don’t quite remember the full story of how I found my identity. I was in my early 20s when I started to consider my sexuality and romantic orientation. I don’t know why I started to, but I did. I went through the possibilities, but none seemed to fit how I felt until TikTok.

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IMAGE VIA TRISH G

I don’t remember what led me to it, I may have been doing research into asexuality, but I came across this account that was going through its sub-labels. This particular video was about aegosexuality, and as he described the common “characteristics,” I just remember freezing and thinking how well that described me. So, I did a little more research about what it was and was just awe-struck that there was a label that gave a reason as to why I acted differently than the people around me when it came to having crushes and reading smut.

  • Ashley Lewis, Social and Editorial

Late to the Party

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IMAGE VIA TRISH G

I realized I was different when I was around 10 because I thought girls and boys were both attractive. I was scared to say that around my friends and family, though, so I didn’t actually come out as bisexual until I was 22. I’ve only come out to my mother and my sister, and now I don’t really feel the need to address it. It’s part of who I am, and it’s taken me a long time to become comfortable with also liking women. I’m lucky to have such a large group of supportive loved ones. And my experience, while frightening and stressful at first, has been something that has made me a better person, and I cherish it.

  • Paige Ritson, editorial

Girls Like Girls Like Boys Do

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IMAGE VIA CANVA

My queerness has been with me since a child, even when I didn’t recognize it. As I look back now, I realize how I always dreamed about Disney princesses instead of princes, how I chose boy crushes specifically because the girl I really liked had a crush on them, and how I never could quite picture my wedding or my life — until I began to imagine them as queer. As I grow older, I am so proud to be a part of a community that stands for intersectionality and love. My queerness is a compass that I use in my life to prioritize diversity and try to make a change in any way that I can. Books are my mode of doing that; as an author and burgeoning publishing professional, I hope to advocate for #OwnVoices queer representation on the page and on shelves.

  • Fiona Hansen, Editorial & Outreach

Pansexually Speaking

I realized stuff as soon as I hit my preteen years. I would see a character on TV — Star Trek Voyager’s Seven of Nine, played by the cat-suit wearing Jeri Ryan, for example — and I would think, “Hmm, I might be a little bit gay.” A few years later, the first Resident Evil movie came out, and I skipped school with a friend to go see it because her older cousin could buy our tickets for us.

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IMAGE VIA TRISH G

Well, there Michelle Rodriguez was on the big screen, portraying a badass zombie-killing soldier. And again, I thought, “Hmm, I might be a little bit gay.” This goes on, but really the only word around me culturally at the time that came near describing me was “bisexual.” Fast forward to my young adult years, experiencing complete freedom finally, and discovering people like Ru Paul. Before long, that rabbit hole taught me the word I had been searching for all along: pansexual.

  • Erin Dzielski, Editorial

That Explains a Lot

In high school, I realized I was different from my classmates. I never thought about sex, and I never wanted to do anything even remotely similar, yet my classmates certainly were. I later stumbled across the word “asexual,” and I felt so seen. There were people like me, and suddenly, I felt less lonely.
It took another few years for me to realize that I was biromantic — in fact, I didn’t know it until college.

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IMAGE VIA TRISH G

I already knew I was romantically attracted to men, but I started questioning how I felt about women. I’ve always had strong feelings about women, but I thought that was because I was/am a feminist. That’s part of it, but it turns out I’ve always been attracted to women romantically. Maybe the first clue should have been the secret admirer note I sent another girl in the first grade.

  • Danielle Tomlinson, Editorial

Bisexual Ongoing Journey

I was attracted to boys at first. Then I noticed I was paying the same amount of attention to both boys and girls that I liked or thought were cute. I did school things with a few guys in middle school. There was one guy that I liked, but I also liked his sisters. I didn’t understand what my feelings were. I didn’t know that there was a name to describe my feelings toward guys and girls.

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IMAGE VIA TRISH G

I’ve discovered a whole community of people who are different and unique, like me. I’ve only come out to my work colleagues and my mom. My mom doesn’t understand. Two months ago, she was concerned that I was making my life even more difficult as a minority (Latina). 2 days ago, she was all “anti-gay and anti-LBGTQ agenda.” I’m still trying to figure things out. My colleagues are very welcoming. I’m looking forward to discovering more about myself and the community.

  • Christina H, Graphics

Our journey at Bookstr, as members of the LGBTQ+ community, has been one of connection, empowerment, and unyielding pride. Through our work, we’ve built more than just a platform; we’ve cultivated a sanctuary where every voice is heard and every story matters. As we continue to champion diversity and inclusion, we remain dedicated to fostering a community where everyone can see themselves reflected in the stories they love. Here’s to celebrating who we are, embracing our identities, and sharing the love of literature with the world.


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FEATURED IMAGE VIA BOOKSTR / TRISH G