Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Gender 101, Episode #27 Redux: Emmi's Gender Non-Conforming Heroes

Benji (a.k.a. Lucy) continues the conversation about Gender with Emmi...

You can find out more about Julia Serano at

Thanks Lucy and Emmi!

You can see the original posting here.


Monday, October 20, 2014

GSA Mondays: A Great Quote On Race from Professor Dorothy Roberts

Professor Dorothy Roberts

"We need to definitively reject the myth that human beings are naturally divided into races and instead affirm our shared humanity by working to end the social injustices preserved by the political system of race."

- Dorothy E. Roberts is The George A. Weiss University Professor of Law and Sociology and Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights at the University of Pennsylvania. 

This quote was from page 14 of the Summer 2014 Penn Arts and Sciences Magazine, and I thought it was brilliant, inspiring, and a great catalyst for conversation and change - both in how we think about race and social justice and in how we work towards achieving a better future.

Friday, October 17, 2014

3 Cubic Feet: A Novella about a Gay Teen in Missouri

3 Cubic Feet by Lania Knight

Theo Williamson lives in Springfield, Missouri, an oppressive town hostile to change – no place for a gay teenager. His family has good intentions, but Theo’s father is recovering from a car accident, and his stepmother won’t give him a moment to himself. And Theo has guy problems–the closeted older man he seduced wants nothing to do with him, and Theo’s best friend Jonathan isn’t interested in anything more than friendship. When Jonathan’s father turns violent, Theo must decide just how far he is willing to go for love.

Three Cubic Feet was a finalist for the 2012 Lambda Literary Award in Debut Fiction. Add your review of this novella in comments!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Gender 101, Episode #26 Redux: Meet Emmi

Our Gender-Queer friend Lucy (a.k.a. Benji) introduces us to another wonderful Gender Queer community member, Emmi!

I'm delighted to meet Emmi, and look forward to the discussions ahead.

Here are the comments from the original posting:

ivanova said...
Way to go, Emmi! That was expressed so well. I love "Gender 101."
April 18, 2012 at 10:36 AM

Joanna said...
Thanks, Emmi, I am so enjoying this series - every episode!
April 19, 2012 at 10:32 AM


Monday, October 13, 2014

October is LGBTQ History Month!

I'm so excited that it's another month jam-packed with amazing LGBTQ people from history!

The 2014 list covers the Famous:

Tallulah Bankhead! Freddie Mercury! Lord Byron!

The Agents of Change:

Ivy Bottini! Natalie Barney! Margaret Cho!

And people I'm just learning about:

Faisal Alam! Bernice Bing! Michael Callen!

And many more...

Check out the great resources (especially the pdf biographies of each of the 31 featured people in history!) at the equality forum's lgbt history month website.

And happy LGBTQ History Month!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Until We Could - Poetry and Video Come Together To Create A Powerful Celebration of Love and The Right To Marry

Richard Blanco wrote the beautiful poem, and then it was made into this remarkable video:

You can find out more at The Daily Beast, where I found this video.

GSAs - what a great discussion prompt, about the power of poetry, the power of video, the power of our stories well-told. How can you tell your stories to change your school - and our world - for the better?


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Gender 101, Episode #25 Redux: How Gender Non-Conforming Are You?

Continuing the conversation about gender and gender expression with Nenu...

"Breaking the gender norms" - It's a great point, Nenu!

You can check out the original post here.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Looking forward to Bent-Con 2014

The folks behind Bent-Con have launched a kickstarter campaign to help make this 5th anniversary LGBTQ-focused Comic Con happen. It's going to be November 7-9th, 2014 at the Los Angeles Burbank Marriott Convention Center in Burbank, California.

With panels, exhibits and cosplay it promises to be a pretty cool event - and as Zan from Northwest Press put it in a recent email blast:

"Even though I had already spent over a decade helping to build a strong LGBT presence at Comic-Con, even though there was now programming aimed at me as a gay guy, and even though there were plenty of social events and stuff that welcomed me, I discovered that I’d never really fully unclenched, exhaled, and felt completely at home.

It’s really hard to describe the feeling of having that layer of self-consciousness—that I didn’t even know still existed!—peeled away from the comic convention experience. But Bent-Con did that for me, even when it was just a tiny show, and that feeling of freedom is the reason I’ve been such a passionate supporter of the show since then."


"...if the Internet can raise over fifty-thousand dollars for a bowl of potato salad, then we can pull together and support a grassroots queer pop culture show and ensure that it sticks around, so we can all have our own version of that warm, comfy feeling.

It's a good point.

Will you be at Bent-Con, too?


Friday, October 3, 2014

The Fight: A Teen Rallies Against Her School District's 'Neutrality' Policy -- A Policy that Keeps Her High School Homophobic

The Fight: Surviving Southside by Elizabeth Karre

When Bella witnesses an anti-gay attack in the school - and a teacher who doesn't intervene - she decides to join the school's GSA. But then she discovers it's an 'unofficial' club, since no teacher will get involved. She digs deeper, and discovers the district's "neutrality" policy - a policy that had ended up being anything but neutral. Can she and fellow GSAer Zoe rally their community against it?

Add to that a girl in school, June, that Bella just might be crushing on...

"The Fight" is part of the Surviving Southside series,

a 12-book set of high-interest YA urban novels that's written at a fourth-grade reading level, specifically designed for reluctant and striving readers, including those who read below grade level or are ESL/ELL students. All of the stories feature diverse characters who go to school at Southside High. As in any teen life, getting through the day is no picnic, whether you're the star quarterback or the quiet artist.

Add your review of "The Fight" in comments. You can check out the Kirkus review of the book here.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Gender 101, Episode #24 Redux: Nenu's Gender Non-Conforming Heroes

Our Gender Queer friend Lucy, a.k.a. Benji, continues our conversation about Gender with Nenu Cruz, exploring Nenu's gender non-conforming heroes.

You can find out more about Frida Kahlo here.

And how awesome is it for Nenu to be able to refer to Nenu's grandmother as "bad ass?"


You can see the original post here.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Friday, September 26, 2014

Disparate Youth - a new series of LGBTQ & Gender-Queer Flash Fiction

Disparate Youth by Alliah

Offered for free on the internet (and as an email subscription) these are short-format stories. In the words of the Brazilian genderfluid writer and visual artist:

"The only rule I impose myself when writing these particular stories is that at least one character must have diverse sexual orientation and/or diverse gender identity."

I read the M.A.R.K. story, "a sci-fi piece set in space, more specifically, inside a research facility on an exoplanet"and enjoyed it.

Add your review of Alliah's Disparate Youth stories in comments!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Gender 101, Episode #23 Redux: Meet Nenu

Our Gender Queer Friend Lucy, a.k.a. Benji, continues the conversation about gender with Nenu Cruz, who explains their own journey with gender, and introduces us to the term "Maribri."

Here's that amazing image of Maribri again, and my thanks to artist Cindy Segura for allowing me to share it with you all!


"A Maribri is a hybrid that transforms into their own image without limits or expectations.  The mix of a Mariposa (butterfly) and Colibri (hummingbird).  The hybrid of masculinity and femininity and neither.  A third gender that wants to be liberated from the social construct roles and their own."
- Nenu

I'm so glad to have met Nenu!


ps- my apologies for the video quality being so inconsistent.

You can check out the original posting and comment here.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Banned Books Week Celebrates The Freedom To Read! September 21-27, 2014

You can find out more about Banned Books Week at the American Library Association's Website.

As explained in the American Library Association's list of the most challenged and banned books of 2013-2014,

This freedom, not only to choose what we read, but
also to select from a full array of possibilities, is firmly
rooted in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,
which guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of
the press. Although we enjoy an increasing quantity and
availability of information and reading material, we must
remain vigilant to ensure that access to this material is
preserved; would-be censors who continue to threaten
the freedom to read come from all quarters and all
political persuasions. Even if well intentioned, censors
try to limit the freedom of others to choose what they
read, see, or hear.

So read a banned book. And talk about it.

And let's keep fighting for - and celebrating - our right to read!


Friday, September 19, 2014

My mother is dead. And I’m gay. But those aren’t causal.

1938 - 2014

My mom in 1974, when I was seven. Our relationship was great until I realized – around age 12 – that I couldn’t be honest with her about the feelings I felt for other guys (and that I didn’t feel for girls.)

When I finally came out to my parents at age 25, my mom acted like it was the big act-one finale of some grand opera – oh, the tragedy of her life, two gay sons (yup, my older brother is gay, too.) My truth meant, to her, a life of despair – no grandchildren, no joy, no hope.

Her reaction was incredibly hard to experience.

I’m 47 today, and when my mom died last week, after a three-and-a-half year battle with ovarian cancer, she had my brother, myself and our dad at her side, and so much had changed. The truth of my mom’s life had transformed, and somewhere in these last 22 years we went from living in a tragedy to living a joyous, if sometimes bittersweet, comedy.

My mom this past summer, age 76.

My mom still had two gay sons, but she also had a son-in-law (my husband) and a granddaughter (our amazing daughter.) The six of us had spent two separate vacations this summer together, cramming in the great memories – my mom and daughter making matzah-ball soup for an early holiday meal, my parents meeting the rest of us for lunch after we had walked the gay pride parade in Tel Aviv with some of our gay and allied Israeli family, and all of us slathering on the salty mud by the shore of the Dead Sea in Israel.

We’d had such tough times, but my mom and I had finally arrived at a really good place. (Even though there were always little things, like my mom never really visiting this blog, which hurt my feelings. But as I was pulling together materials for her obituary, it hit me that I never really visited her artist website, either. None of us are perfect, and we’re all just doing the best we can.)

And while it’s tempting to be angry about all the time we didn’t get now that we finally arrived at this good place – the fifteen, or twenty, more years I wish we had with my mother – I find myself focusing on how grateful I am.

I’m so grateful we were able to heal from our hurt on all sides, and move on to the comedy, and the joy.

I’m so grateful I was able to be there for her final days, that there was nothing left unsaid between us. That I was able to tell my mom that I love her, and have always loved her, and that after all this time I know – even though I didn’t always feel it – I know she loved me always, too.

I’m so grateful for the 47 years she was my mom.

I’m so grateful for the 11 years she was a grandmother to my daughter.

I’m so grateful that change is possible.

And while I’m so sad, that gives me great hope.

My mom, surrounded by her husband, two gay sons, son-in-law and granddaughter… all of us covered in mud!

So this post is for everyone who’s struggling with their relationship with a parent (or with a child.) And, of course, this post is for her.

I love you, Mom.