The Kristen Archive Collection is a wide collection of LGBTQ+ fiction, poems, and other literature across different genres and in various formats and settings. The collection was founded by a group of unknown individuals in 1998 and has gained widespread growth and popularity to become one of the biggest LGBTQ+ literary collections in the world.
In this article, we are going to take a look at the history behind the collection, its significance, and how it has impacted the LGBTQ+ community.
History of the Kristen Archive Collection
The creation of the Kristen archive collection came about as a result of the oppression and marginalization of the LGBTQ. Then the internet was at its prime, and the founders were motivated to create an online space that would connect the LGBTQ+ around the world and where they could share their stories, fight for their rights in union, and find needed support.
At first, it started as a small community where individuals shared their personal stories and LGBTQ+ experiences with every other person in the group. Within a short period of time, it expanded into a big organization, with several volunteers working to monitor and organize the vast amount of information and stories submitted by individuals to the website.
Currently, the collection is one of the biggest LGBTQ+ collections, with more than 15,000 stories and literature across different genres like fiction, romance, fantasy, and sci-fi. In addition, it also contains non-fiction such as memoirs, academic papers, and personal essays.
Impact of the Kristen Archive Collection on the LGBTQ+ Community
Kristen Archive collection has made a lot of impact on LGBTQ+ people. It has helped many individuals flip the script and embrace their LGBTQ+-ness, relate to other members, explore their identities, and share their experiences with others.
It has brought LGBTQ+ literature into the limelight. In the past, LGBTQ+ people have been marginalized and talked down to, both physically and through the media. The collection has helped somewhat to change the narratives by showing the relevance and diversity of the LGBTQ+ community through its vast stories and literary works.
In addition, Kristen Archive has offered the LGBTQ+ community a platform for their authors to put out their work and reach people in the community and mainstream people. A lot of authors have gained wide popularity, made an impact, and achieved success through the support they gained for publishing on the site.
The Kristen archive collection has played a significant role in impacting the LGBTQ+ community in many positive ways.
Through this collection and several other collections, the marginalization and sidelining of the community have drastically reduced; people now see members as part of society without segregating them and also show them love and take them as normal people, rather than the “abnormality stigma” that has been on over the past few years.
Many countries in the world have also signed LGBTQ+ rights into law, and countries that feel they do not exist or should be annexed now treat them with love and respect. The community has actually gained a whole lot of power recently and has raised its voice when marginalized. Some countries have even introduced severe sanctions for gay rights offenders.
Challenges Faced by the Kristen Collection
Of course, the Kristen archive collection has benefited the LGBTQ+ in many different ways; it has faced and is still facing numerous setbacks and controversies.
1. Copyright issues
One of the few setbacks that the Kristen archive collections have faced over the years are several cases of copyright infringement. Some authors post works that are not their own. This has caused several issues that question the legitimacy of the site, and several tussles have happened among both authors and readers.
Actually, the site is lacking in the area of addressing copyright infringement issues. There are actually no rules or policies in place to checkmate them. It has continued to receive numerous criticisms from both users and authors. However, since it was founded by an anonymous group, there is almost no one to hold responsible except the moderators who are failing in this regard.
2. Moderation of Contents
Content moderation is another challenge the Kristen Archive Collection is facing. The site allows absolute freedom of speech, not minding the choice of words used by authors and users. The site has failed to address this complaint by striking a balance in story sharing and making sure the story content is respectful. This has, however, led to serious backlash and criticism among several people who perceive the site as filled with numerous contents that condone hate speech and harassment.
3. Financial Issues
Just like all other online communities, the site depends on freewill donations and ad revenue to sustain itself and continue offering a safe space for LGBTQ+ people to connect. However, it has failed to secure long-term financial backing, and this poses a huge threat to its sustainability. This has raised numerous concerns among users, who seem to be concerned about the sustainability and continuity of the site.
4. Technical problems
Downtime and server breakdowns have also been very serious issues for the site. It happens often that users find it hard to access the collection. This is due to numerous cyberattacks and a lack of adequate security measures in place. Users are concerned about the security of their information and data breaches.
5. Legitimizing fanfiction as recognized literature
Despite its growing popularity, the Kristen collection has found it difficult to secure substantial recognition and appropriate funding for the work done by it and its authors, who have been the bedrock of its success.
With the growing widespread acceptance of the people in mainstream society, the Kristen archive is faced with a lot of competition. Fanfiction websites have increased, and many of them seem to be doing great and attracting several users worldwide, including people who want to learn and understand things about the community.
Some of the new sites may have the same or better features and resources and attract more users to their platforms. Many are still coming up, and this may actually mean bad business for the Kristen collection, and it may lose its popularity in the fanfiction community if adequate steps are not taken to match up and even exceed user expectations.
The collection can only be accessed online and seems not to have space for LGBTQ+ people with disabilities. Moreover, people who do not have or rely on the internet for information may find it hard to access their contents. This setback limits the site’s maximum reach, therefore limiting people who would have loved to use it from reaching it.
Similarly, there are still some countries that might not have access to the site, perhaps because of government restrictions. LGBTQ+ people in some Asian and African countries may feel excluded from the white paper. These people deserve all the information that is shared on the platform to practically navigate life as part of the community.
The fanfiction community has gained wide acceptance from the mainstream media; however, it still faces a lot of stigma in academic circles. It has not been treated like the other kinds of literary works yet. Hence, only users can learn about the LGBTQ+; this seems to have relegated the fanfiction space to a mere community for the people in the community. There is a need for the site to partner with prominent LGBTQ+ people to lead the campaign in promoting fanfiction to be added to the academic sphere.
9. Existential Challenges
Even though the site is known by many LGBTQ+ people, there are still a significant number of people who ought to be users who don’t even know such a site exists. This is not only limiting its potential reach but also covering enough people who should be drawing motivation to navigate the stigma associated with being an LGBTQ+ individual. There is a need to run multiple ads and campaigns so many, if not all, can gain access to and consume the content.
10. Low engagement
Sometimes the engagement can be very low, which is actually very discouraging and poses a threat to its continuity. The management needs to do more in terms of driving traffic to the site and reaching more audience.
Despite the numerous challenges the Kristen archive collection has faced over the years, it has achieved a significant percentage of its goal. It has achieved landmark success and changed the narratives of the media toward LGBTQ+ individuals. It has served and continues to serve as a safe space for members to connect with other members in different parts of the planet and share their stories and experiences.
Kristen Archive has rendered a voice to the voiceless, oppressed, and marginalized LGBTQ+ individuals globally, promoted its culture, and brought forth widespread acceptance as well as freedom of speech, which are very commendable. As the fanfiction community continues to witness immense support and growth, there is a need to reach a wider audience, both members and non-members, so they can understand the community and not only see the negative side of the LGBTQ+ community.