MY NAME ISN’T CHARLIE, a coming-of-age Black and queer in the South memoir

LGBTQ* people of color must reconcile two identities – their racial belonging and their queerness.

I, for example, have started an international youth-led environmental organization, won 32 awards for entrepreneurship, been featured on MSNBC and countless news outlets, traveled to 28 countries, and even shook President Barack Obama’s hand. And, at every step of the way, my identity as a gay, Black male who was raised between South Carolina and Georgia has colored every chapter of my life.

I first ideated sharing my complex, poignant (and sometimes hilarious) stories when I was only a junior in high school. While applying to colleges, I quickly realized that the Common Application’s 750-word limit was an insufficient allotment to write my personal statement. If I were to write a story with unflinching authenticity, I would need more time and space. This was over six years ago—shortly thereafter, I developed what would become my first draft manuscript of my memoir and have been working on improving it ever since.

MY NAME ISN’T CHARLIE Mission Statement

MY NAME ISN’T CHARLIE explores the all-too-often unexplored intersection of Black, male, and queer identities in the South.

Through powerful storytelling, the memoirist invites us into an intimate conversation about his life experiences, including his childhood, which was fraught by abuse, one parent’s mental illness, and poverty. After recounting trauma, the story makes a dramatic shift and readers eventually conclude with a perspective full of possibility. All the while, the memoirist engages the reader in humorous and contemplative discussion about our society’s historical rejection of certain groups.

The memoirist’s story will resonate most deeply with individuals who’ve ever faced rejection and had the desire to rise above societal expectations. And for these individuals, hopefully the memoirist’s story can offer a testimony of resilience and ultimately spare at least one life from suicide.

●・○・●・○・●・○・●・○・●

The next step for me as a writer is to find either a literary agent or a publisher who would like to help me put this story out into the world.

If this sounds like something you’d like to be a part of, please consider helping in one of the following ways.

  1. Join my e-mailing list for updates on my writing journey
  2. Contact me at charles (at) charlesorgbon.com
    • if you are a writer and would like to form a critique circle where we can review each other’s pieces
    • if you are a literary agent or publisher and would like to discuss my writing
    • if you’re a part of a social group or organization that would like to host me for a talk either now or when my book will be published