Thursday, December 18, 2014

Dr. James Duggins

Happy Thursday, boys and girls!

Today's blog is going to be different. Still focusing on the Lambda Literary Awards, I want to talk about Dr. James Duggins and the Dr. James Duggins Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist Award.

I was just nominated for this amazing award by my publisher. I am honored and thrilled and humbled. The timing, however, is sadly ironic.

I was nominated on Monday. On Tuesday, I read that Dr. Duggins had passed away over the weekend.

Dr. Duggins was an amazing man. Not only was he a true scholar, he was also a pioneer and a hero. He paved the way for us LGBT writers. His works are among the greatest pieces published in our lifetime. He gave to charities and organizations in order to help the LGBT literary community. LGBT authors such as myself would not be where we are today if not for him, his bravery, his openness, his determination, and his generosity.

I am saddened to hear of his unexpected passing. This is a tremendous loss for us all. He will always be greatly remembered and admired.

I posted an article on Facebook about his passing. A friend commented on how we are losing such heroes, and that they are leaving giant vacancies in our society. I agree. That can be changed, though.

No one will ever be able to replace Dr. Duggins. However, we can step up to the plate. I could easily just stay where I am, and not create any forward movement. Anybody can do that. But does that help me? Does it help the LGBT community? Does it help the literary world? The answer to all of those is no.

I have always been a fighter. I have needed to struggle and fight for everything I have today. I don't regret it one bit. Using my own tenacity, I shall honor Dr. Duggins by doing my best to continue to fight and pioneer for LGBTs. My road is much smoother because of what monumental changes he brought about. But I will do my best to continue to pave that way for other LGBT writers. Dr. Duggins has left us his legacy, and also a responsibility to continue to carry out that legacy. With all of my heart, soul, and determination, I will do what I can to contribute.

It is an honor to have been nominated for an award that bears the name of such a great man. Regardless of what happens, I will do my best to honor that name with my work.

Thank you, Dr. Duggins. You are an incredible human being. You will be greatly missed and remembered.

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