Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Gender 101, episode #18 Redux: Being Trans Enough

Continuing my discussions with my gender queer friend Lucy, we explore Lucy's experiences with being seen in different circumstances as being either too trans or not trans enough. Here's the link, with the video below:

Thanks, Lucy.

Here are the comments from the original post, some of which reference a planned break in the roll-out of the Gender 101 series:

ivanova said...
I'm going to miss these Gender 101 videos and look forward to seeing them again in the spring. I have heard some things recently that echo what Lucy was saying about being considered not trans enough or too trans, such as some people in the trans community criticizing "no hos" or saying that genderqueer people are just posing. I like what Lee says about keeping your eyes on your own mat. There are a lot of people "on our team" who don't have a handy label to describe them, like partners of trans people. Queer people don't all have to like each other or hold hands and sing kumbayah, but I feel like allowing differences to divide us is just knuckling under to forces of oppression, if that doesn't sound too dramatic.
December 7, 2011 at 8:54 AM

erica lorraine scheidt said...
Lee, I've really liked this series too.

I'm going to resend you an email, will you look out for it from elscheidt at gmail?

Thanks -- see you soon.

And Lucy? You rock.
December 7, 2011 at 11:20 AM

Kelly Robinson said...
I'm a new reader/subscriber, but I've loved what I've seen of this series. I know there will be plenty of good content to take its place, though!
December 7, 2011 at 3:40 PM

KristinClarkVenuti said...
I've enjoyed this series and look forward to future content! Episode #18 really hit home in terms of expressing the unique challenges of gender fluidity. Love the yoga analogy and the gentle reminder that everyone needs to keep their eyes on their own mat. Bravo!
December 8, 2011 at 8:14 AM

Hannah said...
I've found this vlog post very in formative. As a trans woman, I often feel that I am not trans enough. Not because I haven't transitioned, I have, but because I don't fit the unwritten criteria of other trans people. Additionally I find SOFFA groups or people often dominate trans support groups and often challenge particular trans voices.
December 8, 2011 at 1:57 PM

Monday, August 18, 2014

Replica - A YA Dystopian Future of Clones, Spies, Murder and A Gay Secret

Replica by Jenna Black

Sixteen-year-old Nadia Lake’s marriage has been arranged with the most powerful family in the Corporate States. She lives a life of privilege even if she has to put up with paparazzi tracking her every move, every detail of her private life tabloid fodder. But her future is assured, as long as she can maintain her flawless public image—no easy feat when your betrothed is a notorious playboy.

Nathaniel Hayes is the heir to the company that pioneered human replication: a technology that every state and every country in the world would kill to have. Except he’s more interested in sneaking around the seedy underbelly of the state formerly known as New York than he is in learning to run his future company or courting his bride-to-be. She’s not exactly his type…not that he can tell anyone that.

But then Nate turns up dead, and Nadia was the last person to see him alive.

When the new Nate wakes up in the replication tanks, he knows he must have died, but with a memory that only reaches to his last memory back-up, he doesn’t know what—or rather, who—killed him.
Together, Nadia and Nate must discover what really happened without revealing the secrets that those who run their world would kill to protect.

It's the first in a series. Add your review of "Replica" in comments.

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Coldest Girl In Coldtown - Urban Fantasy Horror with a Transgender Character

The Coldest Girl In Coldtown by Holly Black

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

And yes, one of the character is revealed to be transgender. No, I won't tell you who... Add your review of "The Coldest Girl In Coldtown" in comments!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Gender 101, Episode 17 Redux: The No Pronoun Preference

In this episode my gender queer friend Lucy explains how even well-intentioned questions about preferred gender pronouns from queer people and our allies can misfire - and then explains how to successfully navigate the conversation.

I really am learning so much! Thanks, Lucy.


Here are the comments on the original post:

Kelly Robinson said...
Very informative and makes so much sense. Pronouns take the place of a noun, so there's no reason they have to be used at all. (As we learned on Schoolhouse Rock, though, if your name is Rufus Xavier Sasaparilla, it can be tiring to say!)
November 30, 2011 at 9:32 AM

Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...
I love the name "Rufus Xavier Sasaparilla!" (I'm going to have to watch that one again soon.)
Glad the video resonated for you,
November 30, 2011 at 9:38 AM

ivanova said...
I learned something here. I can see how it could be awkward if you ended up with a sentence like like "Sasparilla left Sasparilla's bag in Sasparilla's car," but being respectful is worth it.
November 30, 2011 at 8:44 PM

LBT said...
And as many folk who've been closeted about the gender of a significant other can tell you (plenty of LGBs), constructing sentences in ways that don't require pronouns may take practice, but can end up sounding perfectly unstilted.

"She & I tried to be punctual, but she forgot the tickets in the car and I forgot my jacket."
"The two of us tried to be punctual, but forgot the tickets and a jacket in the car."
Also saying "this one" and nodding towards the person in question when telling a story about someone who is present is a handy trick, especially in casual contexts.
December 1, 2011 at 11:56 PM

Anonymous said...
My GSA plays a kind of game for introductions that I learned at a team building work shop. Everyone introduces themself, but they do it in the third person, like they were introducing a friend. Besides being an interesting twists on introductions, it's also a good way to find out how someone wants to be referred to without explicitly asking them.
December 2, 2011 at 6:26 PM

Emilie K said...
One of my friends is gender-fluid, and when I was introduced to [name], they said 'you can call me [name], and as for pronouns... i use 'unicorn''. This just goes to show that we have no actual use for pronouns, other than the sheer fact that we always have used them! My friend is the cooled unicorn i've ever met :)
December 5, 2011 at 11:10 PM

Monday, August 11, 2014

WONDERland - A YA Mystery with Teen Outcasts and Three Queer Relationships

WONDERland by David-Matthew Barnes

After her mother loses her battle to cancer, fifteen-year-old Destiny Moore moves from Chicago to Avalon Cove, a mysterious island in South Carolina. There, she starts a new life working part-time as a magician’s assistant and living with her eccentric uncle Fred and his hottie husband, Clark. Destiny is soon befriended by two outcasts, Tasha Gordon and Topher McGentry. She accepts their invitation to accompany them to a place called Wonderland, a former boarding house owned by the enigmatic Adrianna Marveaux. It’s there that Destiny meets and falls in love with Dominic, Tasha becomes enamored with Juliet, and Topher gives his heart to Pablo. When Destiny uncovers the reason she and her friends have really been brought to Wonderland, she’s faced with the most crucial choice of her life.

Add your review of WONDERland in comments!

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher - Middle Grade Hijinks With A Family Of Four Boys and Two Dads

The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy

Meet the Fletchers: four boys, two dads, and one new neighbor who just might ruin everything.

Sam, age 12
Mostly interested in soccer. And food. And his phone.

Jax, age 10
Psyched for fourth grade. Thinks the new neighbor stinks, and not just because of the skunk.

Eli, age 10 (but younger than Jax)
Delighted to be starting this year at the Pinnacle School, where everyone’s “the smart kid.”

Frog (not his real name), age 6
Wants his new friends at kindergarten to save a seat for his invisible cheetah.

The start of the school year is not going as hoped for the Fletcher brothers. Their miserable new neighbor, Mr. Nelson, complains about everything. Even worse, each boy finds his plans for school success veering off in unexpected directions. As the year continues, the boys learn the hard and often hilarious lesson that sometimes what you least expect is what you come to care about the most.

From camping trips to scary tales told in the dark, from new schools to old friends, from imaginary cheetahs to very real skunks, the Fletchers’ school year—as always—is anything but boring.

There's a fun interview with debut author Dana Alison Levy here at Mr. Schu Reads. Thanks to Yapha for the heads-up on this title.

You can add your own review of "The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher" in comments!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Gender 101, episode #16 Redux: Masculinity, Femininity, Androgyny (And The Alien Abduction Question...)

Okay, my conversation with our gender-queer friend Lucy really is about Masculinity, Femininity and Androgyny. About how we identify, on the outside and on the inside. And even about the gender-loaded terms "handsome" and "beautiful."

But the Alien question is in there.

Thanks, Lucy!


The original posting had these comments: said...
This episode got me thinking (as usual). My mom has referred to various women family members as "handsome," and I've seen the photos to see what she means -- classically attractive features, but more androgynous than very feminine. I've heard other people use "handsome" to describe female masculinity, but I do think it's uncommon... perhaps since female masculinity is undervalued in our society and even thought unattractive by many people.

I've heard "beautiful" to describe men's physical appearance, too, but I think it's usually with a touch of irony (e.g., "Colin Firth is a beautiful, beautiful man and I want to have his brooding British babies."). I've more often heard "beautiful" to refer to both male and female animals -- "That's a beautiful dog / cat / tiger" -- without getting hung up on sex/gender. It would be great if we could do that with people, too.
November 7, 2011 at 5:35 AM

Grass said...
If it helps, i tend to lean towards the word gorgeous when describing particularly attractive people, but i use the word beautiful to describe pretty much everything under the sun (men, Women, Gender queer peeps, unicorns and the occaisional cactus.)
March 29, 2012 at 11:34 AM

Monday, August 4, 2014

Inspiration Sings To Me... #LA14SCBWI

I've been at this blog all weekend...

I just completed three days of non-stop work (and fun), blogging and leading the team of bloggers for the Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators 2014 Summer Conference. We've had over 43,000 page views in three-and-a-half days to the conference blog, and it's been an amazing experience.

From my own journal, here are profound moments that are still resonating for me:

Author Meg Rosoff sharing Mem Fox's goal for their book:

"that the emotional temperature of a reader has been changed by reading it."

Meg's own advice:

"Write the strongest, fiercest, most subversive thing you can write."

Agent Erin Murphy:

"For every success in publishing there is a waiting period that feels like failure."

Author Stephen Chbosky:

"The next generation of classic are literally in this room."

and again, Stephen Chbosky:

"There was never George Orwell's 1985."

Senior Editor at Booklist, Ilene Cooper, on reviews:

Remember that "Booklist didn't care for Charlotte's Web."

From the Diversity Panel:

"One of the best ways to support diverse books is to buy diverse books."

From the LGBTQ Q&A, Author Tim Federle:

"You will get push-back and you will be celebrated."

Also from the LGBTQ Q&A, Agent Danielle Smith:

"Don't be afraid to write the characters you want to write. Kids need them."

Publisher Justin Chanda:

"It's your job to write the book you want to write. That is it. And that is everything."

Illustrator Aaron Becker (or was it Journey?):

"Don't stop... Believing!"

Author Martha Brockenbrough:

"Teachers need help with Common Core." And we authors can help them.

Author Maggie Stiefvater:

"It's not write what you know. It's write what you know the essence of."

Author Meagan McDonald:

"Many a children's book is working out some childhood splinter that still pains you. That thing that pierces you and won't let you go."

Author Jim Averbeck:

When writing your book and doing research "be well organized." This will save you when you're gathering all the materials after writing it.

Director for Penguin Random House Young Reader Sales Felicia Frazier:

"The book is new for somebody every year!"

and Felicia again:

"Our failures are opportunities."

Exec. Director of Publicity for Penguin Young Readers Group Shanta Newlin:

"Every year we see more book festivals popping up." And that's a good sign.

One editor told Deborah Halverson:

"I'm not looking to reject. I'm looking to find."

Author Linda Sue Park:

"Our job is to make every word count."

Author Sharon Flake:

Being on the road, she lets kids see her insecurities. "They have to know" that you can have insecurities and still achieve great things.

Author Pat Zietlow Miller on receiving the Golden Kite Award for Picture Book Text:

"I got 126 rejections before I got my first acceptance."

Author David Meissner on receiving the Golden Kite Award for Nonfiction:

"Don't confuse your success as a writer with your own self-worth."

Author/Illustrator Tomie dePaola:

"the fame mosquito."

and Tomie again, on his favorite piece of advice:

"Be Brave."

And the final quote goes to iconic author Judy Blume:

"Writing, in many ways, saved my life."

Friday, August 1, 2014

A sneak peek of the LGBTQ Q&A conference faculty guests at this year's sold-out SCBWI Summer Conference!

One of my favorite events of the year, the SCBWI Summer Conference starts today! I'm once again heading up SCBWI's Team Blog, and we'll be tweeting (follow the hashtag #la14scbwi) and blogging live from the conference floor over at the Official Conference Blog.

Among the conference events I'm most excited about is getting to host the LGBTQ Q&A session this evening (Friday August 1, 2014), from 7:30pm - 8:30pm in Olympic II.

Our faculty guests this year are fantastic, and will be joining us with enthusiasm, encouragement, and answers to attendees' questions about the fears, challenges and triumphs of including LGBTQ characters and themes in works for children and teens.

Who are they?

Tim Federle, 2014 Golden Kite For Fiction Winner for his Middle Grade novel, "Better Nate Than Ever." I did a fun pre-conference interview with Tim here.

Author Tim Federle

Agent Danielle Smith, of Red Fox Literary

Agent Danielle Smith

Agent Adriana Dominguez, of Full Circle Literary

Agent Adriana Dominguez

Art Director Laurent Linn from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (who worked on Tim's cover!)

Laurent Linn and a friend

and legendary author Bruce Coville (who has published over 120 books and whose "Am I Blue?" short story back in 1995 gave the title to the ground-breaking Marion Dane Bauer-edited anthology, "Am I Blue?: Coming Out From the Silence."

Author Bruce Coville

If you're attending the SCBWI Summer conference, I hope to see you there. Otherwise, if it's of interest, stay tuned to the conference blog and to twitter for a tapas-like taste of what's sure to be an amazing event, in a weekend of superlatives!

** UPDATE SAT AUG 2, 2014, 6:33AM **

You can read my session summary here at the Official SCBWI Conference Blog.



Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Gender 101, episode #15 Redux: transsexual, transgender and drag queen/drag king

In episode #15, Lucy defines and distinguishes between the terms "Transsexual," "Transgender," "Drag King" and "Drag Queen."

The movie Lucy mentions is "Paris Is Burning" - I watched it years ago, and remember it being fascinating and really entertaining.

As always with these discussions, I learned so much. And I'm delighted to share these videos with all of you.


The original post had this anonymous comment:

Anonymous said...
I currently self identify as a drag king. To me, that means that I mainly identify as female, and normally am on the slightly butcher side of the female spectrum. However, I have a masculine facet to my identity that is expressed when I do drag. I use the term drag king because I am much more outgoing in drag and see myself getting into some type of drag performance when I'm older, but I'm not currently involved in any kid of drag performance, except for the occasional male role in the school play. I also sometimes will describe myself as a cross dresser, but that doesn't seem as applicable to my identity as drag king. Sometimes I'll also use the term gender fluid, because there are some days where I feel more feminine and others where I feel more androgynous or masculine. Another term I use a lot for my gender is just queer or queer femme, because I'm mostly female identified, but there are other aspects to my gender identity, and queer is the easiest way to explain both that and my orientation. I feel like drag king also covers how my masculine side is a facet of my identity, but isn't necessarily how I present myself on a day to day basis. With all that being said, I am fairly young, and I'm still on the journey of really finding what feels right to me gender wise.
Also thank you for mentioning drag kings. I feel like a lot of the time people only think about drag as being men dressing as women, whereas there's us women dressing as men, too.
June 20, 2012 at 10:40 PM

Monday, July 28, 2014

A great quote from Hanne Blank's "Straight: The Surprisingly Short History of Heterosexuality"

"I have no deep personal attachment to labeling myself in terms of sexual orientation, nor do I have the sensation of "being" heterosexual or homosexual or anything but a human being who loves and desires other human beings. I have been romantically and sexually involved with people of a variety of biological sexes and social genders over the course of my adult life. When pressed, I am most likely to declare my "sexual identity" as "taken.""

- Hanne Blank, from page xiii of the introduction to

I thought that was fascinating!

Namaste (the light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in every one of you),

Friday, July 25, 2014

If I Lie - A Girl, A Marine, And A Secret's Terrible Cost

If I Lie by Corrine Jackson

Cheater. Traitor. Slut.

Quinn’s done the unthinkable: she kissed a guy who is not Carey, her boyfriend. And she got caught. Shunned by everyone she knows, Quinn loses her friends, her reputation, and her identity. Because Carey’s not just any guy—he’s a Marine who’s serving overseas, and beloved by everyone in their small, military town.

But Quinn didn’t cheat. She could clear her name, but that would mean revealing secrets she’s vowed to keep—secrets that aren’t hers to share. So she stays silent, and she waits for Carey to come home.

Then Carey goes MIA, and Quinn must decide how far she’ll go to protect her boyfriend…and her promise.

Add your review of "If I Lie" in comments!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Gender 101, Episode #14 Redux:

This post was originally published on Oct 19, 2011.

So this past weekend I did my Smashing Stereotypes workshop at the Los Angeles Models of Pride conference, the largest queer and allied youth conference ever - with over 1,100 young people attending, and separate tracks for parents and educators. My workshop went great - overflowing the seats available, and we all had a great shared experience.

It was an amazing day (I kept thinking how this would have rocked my world when I was a teen) - and at the lunchtime resource fair, I ran into a good friend: is a super resource.

One of my favorite quotes of the genderfork readers I didn't grab an in-focus photo of read:

"I decided that my gender is 'dragon.' I mean, it's 'technically' genderqueer but I have dubbed my own personal flavour as 'dragon.' Because dragons make everything better, are awesome, and come in a whole boatload of varieties." - Anonymous

I'm so happy to learn more about genderfork, and to share that info with you!

Thanks, Benji!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Progress: A Shout out to People Magazine's May Profile of "Online Dating's Most Wanted: Sexiest Singles Alive!"

Amid all the challenging news of the summer, this piece in People Magazine (you can see the online version here) made me ridiculously happy...

Four of the seven online dating sites profiled included men looking for men or women looking for women. And out of the nineteen people profiled and shown, seven were out and looking for their Lesbian, Gay or Bi special someone...

I'm certainly not looking (love you, husband!) but I keep thinking how this would have ROCKED MY WORLD as a teen. To see these people proudly looking for love - the kind of love I so deeply and secretly yearned for - and to have them presented as equals, indeed as among the "Sexiest Singles Alive!" is a powerful message celebrating our differences.

For using their platform to make our world a better place for LGBTQ people, I want to say:

Thanks, People Magazine!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Archenemy - Teen Girl Soccer and Unrequited Love

Archenemy by Paul Hoblin

As a defender for the Fraser High girls soccer team, biracial Addie used to be ready for anything. There was no play she couldn't shut down. But now the biggest threat on the field is one of her teammates . . . who is also Addie's former best friend. When Eva Riley moved to town, she and Addie became super close.

They even came out to each other, about liking girls... But when Eva wanted to be more than "just friends," Addie put soccer first instead.

Suddenly Eva's sending Addie mean notes. Then she's screwing up Addie's plays. After a while, Addie's not sure she even wants her friend back. She has to worry about other things--like keeping her spot on the team after Eva's latest act of sabotage.

This book is part of the author's six volume "Counterattack" series. Add your review of "Archenemy" in comments!