Pride Month may be over but the beauty of Queer existence continues to be celebrated, as the 21st century’s first ever collection of lesbian love notes has officially been released – and by a writer based right here in Glasgow. Aischa Daughtery, a Scottish writer and University of Glasgow masters student is making her publishing debut with This Is How We Love, an anthology of real lesbian love letters, text messages, poems and artwork from all over the world.
Aischa told me about the project’s humble beginnings as an Instagram account called Lesbian Love Notes, which she launched during the first COVID-19 lockdown. She told me that the account initially served as a visual gallery of love letters and moving backstories submitted by followers, showcasing expressions of lesbian affection.
Aischa explained that she first launched the account during this difficult time “for lack of a better way to feel connected to my community”.
However, the account quickly gained popularity, and soon Aischa was receiving at least 10 submissions a day which, she said, “(made) it clear that during this horrible time of frozen mobility and social limitation, I certainly wasn’t the only one craving the comfort, validation and hope that only our community could provide.”
Aischa also believed that people were drawn to the representation the account offered, saying:
“It hit me that this account was resonating with the community so much because this authentic representation of the way we love was something we had been, for the most part, deprived of our whole lives.”
She continued: “I felt like I had successfully created something even a tiny bit meaningful in terms of representation. Riding the high, I was determined to take it a step further…”
Once Aischa had secured necessary funding, she posted an open call for submissions and waited – and eventually she had received 370 heartfelt love notes from lesbians all over the world, and was left to decide which submissions would be featured.
Aischa said: “The selection process was tricky at times, but was mostly incredibly exciting and smooth-sailing… I was blown away by the quality and variety of contributions, and I am thrilled at the diversity of gender identities, ages, locations, ethnicities, backgrounds and relationships that are included in the book.”
Aischa explained why this book was so important to her: “Lack of exposure to the realities of lesbian love and existence in literature and the wider media tends to play a huge part in stunting lesbians’ journeys of growth and self-acceptance.”
She ended by telling me her wish for her book to provide a small piece of authentic and comforting representation for the lesbian community: “I’ll be over the moon if its contents can provide even one member of my magical community — to whom I owe almost everything good in my life — with well-deserved affirmation and hope for the future in a world that makes this difficult to maintain at the best of times.”
Go to thisishowwelove.co.uk to order your copy today.