Wednesday, September 5, 2007

On Labels

(G) Gay Teen Characters/Themes

(L) Lesbian Teen Characters/Themes

(B) Bisexual Teen Characters/Themes

(T) Transgender Teen Characters/Themes

(Q) Queer Teen Characters/Themes

(?) Questioning Teen Character/Themes

Okay, I'm sure the labeling system I'm using is going to piss some of you off. And that's okay. I went through a very hard patch with the whole label thing, and while I've come out (quite literally) on the other side of that quite comfy with calling myself "gay," I recognize and acknowledge that labels are clunky things.

Especially for people.

However, they are useful, for books. Especially when you just want to know what books to turn to first to see some reflection of YOUR journey. I would have given up driving for a whole extra year - and not driven until I was in college - if I could have had access to all the books listed in "Books with Gay Teen Characters/Themes" in the side column of this blog.

It would have changed my life. And yes, I'm serious about the delaying driving thing. And to show you how much I mean it - I grew up in the suburbs!

WARNING: Don't think that just because a book isn't labeled with "your" identity it has nothing to offer you - the whole point of our community's march to equality is to see the universal in the specific - in other words, if we want straight people to see we're people, too, we need to recognize that a drag queen love story can make us gay boys who never intend to do drag stand up and cheer - and maybe even get a little teary-eyed. (That was my reaction to "Freak Show," by the way...)

So, read read read - read them all! And the label thing - either use it or ignore it. I know it's flawed and somewhat judgemental.

You'll just have to forgive me.



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