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!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Gender 101, Episode #13 Redux: Presenting & Passing

Join me as I continue the conversation with Benji, my gender-variant friend, as we dive into the issues of "presenting" - as cis or trans or other, and "passing" - being perceived as non-queer when you are queer. We even play with the lexicon, minting some new words to describe love:

You can get those "Legalize Trans" t-shirts Benji mentioned here.

I'm learning so much from these discussions (I'd never even heard of Queer Femme before.) Fascinating stuff!

Thanks, Benji.


You can check out the original post here.

Monday, July 14, 2014

George Takei's fascinating talk: "Why I love a country that once betrayed me"

This TEDx talk by George Takei is really powerful - and it made me even more proud to, like him, work towards a better America.

Thanks, George!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Night Creatures: Gay Teen Historical Fantasy

Night Creatures by Jeremy Jordan King

It’s 1981, and Bryant thinks his move to New York will be the beginning of a new life. But the men he meets are being threatened by a mysterious illness. Could transforming into a Night Creature save him and his loved ones from certain death? Book Two of Immortal Testimonies travels back in time to the gay community’s darkest days.

Here's the synopsis of book one, In Stone: A Grotesque Faerie Tale Add your review of "Night Creatures" in comments!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Gender 101, Episode #12: Gender-Neutral Restaurant Etiquette (and socks!)

Our gender-variant friend Lucy continues their discussion with me about gender - how should wait staff address someone gender queer? (And check out the metaphor we worked with Lucy's socks!)

Thanks, Lucy!


ps - Yes, on editing this I did notice that I said "waiter" rather than "wait-person" or "wait-staff,' or "server" (the last is the one I think sounds best.) It's a reminder that this is a process and a journey, and it's okay to occasionally mis-speak. Being aware of the gender-bias in our language is a huge step... and the more we discuss this, the better we'll all get at it. Thanks for watching!

Some of the comments from the original post:

Lisa Jenn Bigelow said...
Totally awesome socks!

"Folks" is a word I've been trying to work into my daily vocabulary more as a gender-neutral alternative to "guys." It's hard! But every time I slip, I notice and kick myself, which feels like progress.

This video makes me rethink how I address kids at the reference desk, though. Sometimes I do say, "Yes, ma'am" or "What can I do for you, sir?" I tend to do this when *I* feel certain of a child's gender... but it doesn't really matter what *I* feel is "certain," does it? I could still be wrong.

Thanks, as always, for the great food for thought.
September 28, 2011 at 6:12 AM

Cynthia Leitich Smith said...
I say "folks" all the time. I'm glad that's a good choice.

In the south/southwest, you can probably also say "y'all."

Incidentally, since moving to Austin, I've also taken to saying "honey" as a reference to someone's significant other. As in, "So how is your honey doing now that the cast is off?" I wouldn't tend to do it north of Oklahoma, though.

I love how this blog makes me think, and by the way, I really enjoyed the video sample of your presentation.
September 28, 2011 at 7:51 AM

Lee Wind said...
Thanks Lisa and Cynthia,
I'm working hard to eliminate "guys" as my go-to term, and I'm so glad these discussions with Lucy are resonating!

And Lisa, yes, I think that's a really important insight - it's not about how sure WE feel of someone's gender identity, it's really their call... One of the interviews coming up in the series is with a fascinating individual who presents as a very masculine man with a lumberjack-style beard - and yet the gender of their mind is female.

And Cynthia, thanks for the kind words about my presentation - I love doing them and helping move us all forward!

September 28, 2011 at 8:02 AM

Angie said...
It's funny, I learned to say "you guys" when I was a little girl -- preschool age -- playing with a group of other little girls. This was back in the sixties, and we called each other "you guys" all the time, and certainly didn't mean males. [ponder] "Folks" works fine, though, and I actually say that occasionally. I'll have to pay attention and use it more often.

With words like "waiter" and "actor" and such, I'm all for just ditching the -ess variant and calling everyone by the root. A waiter is someone who waits on you. And actor is someone who acts. We used to use "paintress" and "sculptress" for a female painter or sculptor, but now everyone is a painter or sculptor regardless of gender. The words don't contain the blatantly gendered "man" particle, so declare them neutral and use them.

You can do the same thing with words like "stewardess." Instead of stuffing "flight attendant" into your mouth, go back to the original "steward" and call everyone that, regardless of gender. There you go, back to two syllables.

September 28, 2011 at 4:03 PM

maddox said...
As a gender-variant person I don't particularly mind the use of neutral terms, which also happen to be masculine, like guys, waiter, actor, etc.

I *do* mind when people call me ma'am or sir or ladies, because *that* is a) purposefully gendering someone, and b) it is a completely unnecessary gendering. The server who says "what you would like to eat ma'am" as already gone out of their way to gender me, when it could just as easily (or more) have been avoided.

Thanks for your videos Lee (and Lucy)!
September 30, 2011 at 10:54 AM

Monday, July 7, 2014

Secret Lies - A Secret Romance Between Two Teenage British Schoolgirls

Secret Lies by Amy Dunne

Nicola Jackson escapes from her abuser, only to realize she has no one to turn to and nowhere to go. In a twist of fate, she accidentally bumps into Jenny O’Connor, the most popular girl at school. They strike up an unlikely friendship. As their trust in each other develops, they share their darkest secrets, and their relationship blossoms into a secret romance.
Jenny loves Nicola, but she is fearful that if their secret relationship is discovered, she might lose her family, friends, and her seemingly perfect life.
Nicola confronts her abuser and blackmails him to leave for good, but things go terrifyingly wrong.
Jenny is left with a life-changing dilemma: should she face her fear and accept who she is, or let Nicola take the blame and pretend their relationship never happened?

Add your review of "Secret Lies" in comments!

Friday, July 4, 2014

You wanna see pride in action? Check out Mama "T"'s response to anti-gay protesters at Seattle Pride

I loved this moment of standing up to bullies who came to gay pride to preach hate:

Go, Mama T!

"Once you learn to drop the hate, you too can find happiness."

And that's Pride in action!

Happy 4th of July to my fellow Americans,

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Gender 101 Episode Eleven Redux: Gendered Vitamins & Toys

From the rigid gender constructions of advertising to the blending of gender norms that my gender-queer friend Lucy found natural as a child, here are two stories that will make you think about gender:

Thanks, Lucy!

You can see the original posting here.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Far From The Tree - A Must-Read NonFiction Book For Parents (And maybe everyone else, too.)

"Anyone with an open heart should know that the world would have ended long ago without the translators who convey male and female meanings across gender's fierce boundaries. It may be a recent phenomenon for that to be an identity, but what has changed is the characterization of such people -- not their eternal merit, not their uncanny, necessary splendor."
- Andrew Solomon

That's from pg. 675 of "Far From The Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity" - Andrew Solomon's brilliant (and epic) nonfiction book about how in most families, a child's identity is vertical - if your parents are Japanese, and you're Japanese, you share that identity and they can help you understand what it is to be Japanese. Hence, the expression, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

But sometimes, the apple DOES fall far from the tree: My parents are straight, and I'm gay. To understand and claim what being gay meant for my identity, I needed to go outside of my family, to a horizontal identity community.

Andrew Solomon, who is gay and dyslexic and suffers from depression himself, started to see parallels between the journeys of parents and their children who had horizontal identities.

At one point, he writes of being gay:
"My own recovery has been from the perception of illness."
and that, in him, his parents had a child who spoke a language they'd never thought of studying.

The book explores deaf children of hearing parents, little people born to normative-sized parents, children with Down Syndrome, Autism, Schizophrenia, Disability, Prodigies, Children of rape, children who commit crimes, and transgender children -- exploring the parallels and insights their experiences collectively offer as to what identity is and how families come to love and accept and appreciate the gifts of children and circumstances they would never have chosen.

Over ten years, Andrew interviewed more than 300 families for the book and the result is brilliant - a must-read for every parent on the planet (and maybe everyone who has been parented, too.)

Friday, June 27, 2014

Kirith Kirin - High Fantasy With A Gay Romance

Kirith Kirin by Jim Grimsley

In Aeryn, where science has never developed but magic is powerful, the Blue Queen, a usurper aided by a very powerful wizard, has ravaged the land. A boy (Jessex) is called out of his own life on a farm to enter a legendary forest and learn magic in order to help Kirith Kirin reclaim his rightful throne to maintain the balance of order. Jessex grows strong in his magical studies and fighting skills, discovering his crucial role in the battle against the evil that overshadows his land.

And in the course of the adventure, Jessex and Kirith fall in love.

This book won the 2001 Lambda Literary Award for best queer Horror/Science Fiction/Fantasy novel. Add your review of "Kirith Kirin" in comments!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Gender 101 Episode Ten Redux: Gendered Words in our Language and Culture

Here's the next installment of our talks on gender with Benji, a Gender Queer Activist and an awesome new friend...

I adore these conversations with Benji. When editing this, I almost cut out the part where Benji says they don't know exactly how to pronounce "Mx." but then I realized it's one of the things I adore best about them and these discussions. Understanding that the lens with which we view gender is so rigid in our society, and the issues of gender conformity so broad-ranging, that even someone as plugged in and on top of things as Benji could have a moment/issue where they still had things to learn, too.

And I think that's a great thing to remember for all of us as we continue thinking about Gender within ourselves and our culture - that we can all continue to learn, and grow, and expand our world-views to embrace gender non-conformity.

Oh, and Benji wanted me to share with everyone that "honorific" was the word they intended to say, rather than "honorarium." No worries, I'm constantly having the wrong words pop out, too, to my kid's amusement (and my husband's eye rolls!)

Lucy also wrote in the comments to the original post that they found someone who pronounces Mx. as "mix."