Congratulations to Elliot Bailey, the recipient of Indigo’s 2021 student scholarship. We can’t wait to work with you, Elliot! Here’s Elliot’s fantastic submission essay:

As a queer, specifically bisexual, transgender man, my demographic is severely underrepresented in the publishing industry. There is a small number of queer authors who are widely published, but there is a lack of queer voices and queer works being published, as well as a lack of queer voices and perspectives behind the scenes in publishing. Most stories written by and for queer people are about (and by) cisgender gay men, which leaves out lesbian, transgender, and other queer narratives, and ostracizes other queer readers and perspectives. While these stories are good and have potential, there is not a wide enough range of queer characters in books, nor is there a wide enough range of queer individuals in the publishing industry.

This underrepresentation has affected me personally by originally discouraging me from pursuing an education and career in the publishing industry, but recently, it has given me drive to continue my education within publishing and pursue a publishing career. Originally, when I knew I wanted to pursue a career within the publishing field, I did not know that I was transgender, only queer. Upon discovering my identity and becoming comfortable in my transition, I looked further into trans people who are published and who are in publishing, and was discouraged by how little representation I saw, and even further by how few trans people attend graduate school. After my initial discouragement, however, I decided that pursuing a career and further education in publishing is how I can help affect change from within the industry, even if it is on a small scale through the publishing press I eventually work for. The underrepresentation of queer and transgender people within publishing has affected my community in similar ways to me; many queer people that I know do not read much outside of assigned reading for classes, simply because there are no characters or authors that look like them or share their experiences within popular literature.

I hope to contribute to publishing diverse voices to improve the book world by becoming an editor and championing queer authors and queer books from the very beginning of my career and pushing for these authors and stories to get meetings and get published. I hope to be a voice for them and someone who can encourage these stories to be published. I want to advocate as much as possible for queer authors and queer books at every level that I can.