Horror Writers Association

A Point of Pride Series


E.F. Schraeder is the author of the queer gothic novella Liar: Memoir of a Haunting (Omnium Gatherum, 2021), the queer monster tale As Fast as She Can (Sirens Call Publications, 2022), a story collection, and two poetry chapbooks. Recent work has appeared in Dancing in the Shadows: A Tribute to Anne Rice, What Remains, Lost Contact, Mystery Weekly Magazine, Strange Horizons, and other journals and anthologies. Schraeder’s nonfiction has appeared in Vastarien: A Literary Journal; Radical Teacher; the American Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom blog, and elsewhere. Current creative projects include a monster’s coming-of-age novella and a full-length manuscript of poems. An ex-professor turned youth librarian, Schraeder holds an interdisciplinary Ph.D. and advanced degree in Library Science. An Active Member in the Horror Writers Association, E. F. Schraeder believes in ghosts, magic, and dogs.

Unspeakable Fears: A Convergence of Horror and Pride

E.F. Schraeder

I’m honored to introduce the many fantastic horror creators for HWA Pride Month. Like the horror community, the LGBTQ+ community isn’t comprised of a single set of experiences or identities or limited to one thing, but a beautiful, sometimes messy combination of many influences and differences.  For members of the LGBTQ+ community who create horror, Pride can be a meaningful time of celebration and recognition. Looking back, it’s inspiring to discover the rich work and long history of LGBTQ+ horror creators, some of whom inspired
nightmares that predate the construction of the very social categories and terms to identify members of  the ‘LGBTQ+’ community itself.

It’s a strange moment of reckoning when what you love becomes subject to ridicule, rejection, or condescension. The simple phrase, “I don’t like horror” is one many HWA members may recognize as a familiar response when we share our work and news with people outside horror fandom.  Though what we create and who we are reflect very different aspects of our realities, for folks belonging to the diverse LGBTQ+ community of horror content makers, such
reactionary rejections may feel oddly and uncomfortably familiar. Subtle and sometimes not so subtle rejections like that mirror horror’s complex history with queerness. Like the monstrous “predatory twilight creatures” described by Vito Russo’s groundbreaking study of queer identities in the movies (The Celluloid Closet), horror has long been a place of mould-breaking. There have been countless queer characterizations and subtexts, work examining what
contributes to the perception of evil, stories that delve into hidden worlds and secret identities, and bold alternatives considering desire and challenging heteronormative assumptions. Horror seems to make considerable room for everything and everyone inhabiting liminal spaces, including those in the LGBTQ+ community. Thankfully within the HWA, such experiences and differences are increasingly acknowledged with purposeful and mindful intent; as a result, the complexity of influences informing the horror created within many historically marginalized communities have become recognized as valued contributions to the genre and regarded as works that deepen the ever-evolving examination of fear in all its forms.

Like the experience of horror generally, LGBTQ+ horror contains multitudes, and as we look to the content creators featured this month you will find their work reflects a fantastic range. From probing psychological tales, newly imagined gothic traditions, existential and cosmic to body horror, the LGBTQ+ horror makers you’ll meet this month have been very busy imagining boundary transgressions, offering social critiques, inventing alternative worlds,
inverting paradigms and social assumptions, and much more. This month, as the HWA acknowledges horror makers from the LGBTQ+ community, I invite you to step into the strange worlds built by these diverse rulebreakers, changemakers, and content creators.  From publishers, writers, poets, and beyond, these multi-genre horror creators are making significant contributions to the genre, answering the acutely personal question, “what scares you?’ Looking to diverse experiences facilitates an intense discovery of the layered, complicated, and terrifying elements
of a vibrant and thriving horror community. During Pride month and beyond, LGBTQ+ horror creators’ work reflects many kinds of fear, and I hope you enjoy exploring these vital voices. Whether you look under the bed, at the person beside you, into the mirror, or into the closet: LGBTQ+ horror will thrive as long as there are shadows to explore.

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