Friday, February 29, 2008


By Carrie Mac

17 year old Hope is sent to live with her sister in New York while their parents go halfway around the world on a humanitarian mission.

Once there, Hope gets a job as a nanny for a lesbian couple, which throws her a little.

Then she develops a crush on Nat, which throws her a lot. 'Cause Nat... is a girl, too.

Add your review of this book in "comments!"

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Filly

By Mark Probst

17 year old Ethan is pretty sheltered for growing up in the 1870s in his mother's boarding house.

Travis is a cowboy passing through who charms Ethan into joining up on a 900 mile cattle drive through the "untamed west."

What neither of them expect is that the biggest adventure ahead of them is that they fall for each other!

Passionate about old westerns and re-making them in his own style, Mark published "The Filly" under his own Cheyenne Publishing banner.

Add your review of this book in "comments!"

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Queen Califia and the 15th Century Lesbian Myth behind the name "California!"


You may or may not have known that California's state motto is: "Eureka!" (I didn't) but the Lesbian history of the name California was a total surprise to me.

In the 1400s, Garci Rodriguez de Montalvo wrote

a protolesbian tale about a mythical island called "California," where Queen Califia lived with her beloved subjects, all of them masculine women. "And there were no males among them at all," Montalvo wrote. He described the women as having "energetic bodies and courageous, ardent hearts." Like the Amazons of Greek myth, they waged bloody war on other lands, killing most of the males but carrying away a few so that they might copulate with them for the sake of procreation. Female babies were kept among them; male babies were slaughtered.

Here's an amazing mural of Queen Califia and two of her female warriors in the Mark Hopkins Hotel in San Francisco:

Now, after it was published, the story caught on with Europeans and Spaniards, and especially caught the fancy of

So much so that...
In 1535, Hernan Cortes, sharing his era's enchantment with the story of these fierce, manless women, wrote the name "California" on a map of a strip of land on the west coast of North America. It has remained its name ever since - though the protolesbian source was long forgotten.
Interestingly enough, early maps of California (like the one below) showed California as an island, a fallacy that wasn't corrected until after 1747, when King Ferdinand of Spain decreed that "California is not an Island."

A Lesbian Myth as the historical source for the name "California." Hmmm. How's THAT for unexpected and incredibly cool?


Both quotes are from pg. 10 of "Gay L.A.: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics, and Lipstick Lesbians" by Lillian Faderman and Stuart Timmons.

The source of the original myth of "California" was Garci Rodriguez de Montalvo's "The Labors of the Very Brave Knight Esplandian," trans. William Thomas Little (Binghamton, N.Y.: Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 1992), pg. 456-458

The info on the maps came from this website.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Simon Says

By Elaine Marie Alphin

Charles is 16, he's a serious artist, and he's sick of playing games.

He transfers to a boarding High School for artists to meet Graeme, a Teenager who wrote a book all about the "Simon Says" games that people play. He's sure Graeme will help him figure out how to balance being an artist and living life.

The guys' connection with each other is intense, but (in the words of the author:)

" his effort to find a way to be true to himself, Charles becomes caught in a tragic game of Simon Says that will ultimately leave one student dead."

Elaine originally wrote this book when she was in college. It took another 25 years (and publishing loads of other great books) before she re-worked this one and had it published. Now that's perseverance!

Add your review of this book in "comments!"

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Chinese Garden

By Rosemary Manning

16 year old Rachel attends an all-girls boarding school, where the "ultimate crime" is students falling in love with each other.

When her friend Margaret is caught with another girl, Rachel's ensnared in the administration's net. In the face of Rachel's growing understanding of her own sexual identity, she realizes that if she doesn't betray her friend, she'll suffer the same fate. But how can she?

The author originally published this book in 1962. It was republished in 2000, by The Feminist Press.

Add your review of this book in "comments!"

Friday, February 22, 2008

Cheeky Angel

By Hiroyuki Nishimori

When Megumi, a 9 year old martial arts fanatic, saves a sorcerer and gets a magic genie to grant him his fondest wish, he asks to be "the manliest man on Earth."

But, the genie's hard of hearing, and thinks Megumi asked to be "the womanliest woman on Earth."


Now, it's 6 years later, and 15 year old Megumi is the hottest, bad-guy-ass-kickin'-est GIRL around.

And watch out - the town's resident bad guy has fallen for her!

Note: This post is about "Cheeky Angel: volume 1" To date there are 20 mangas in this series!

Add your review of this book in "comments!"

Thursday, February 21, 2008

7 Days At The Hot Corner

By Terry Trueman

Scott is 18, a senior, and lives for his role as third baseman on the High School baseball team. That position is called the "Hot Corner" because anything can happen there and you have to be ready for it.

Things get crazy for Scott when he learns that his best friend Travis is gay. Scott freaks out, thinking that a batting cage accident where he got his friend's blood on his hands might mean he himself got infected with HIV. When Travis' parents kick him out of their house for being gay, Scott's father lets his friend stay with them.

Then the school newspaper publishes an article on "Coming Out." Now Scott's whole life seems to be the "Hot Corner!"

With the All-city high school baseball tournament approaching, Scott has 7 days to figure out how to handle it all.

Add your review of this book in "comments!"

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Responding to The Tragedy of Lawrence King: What Can We Do When A Gay 15 year old boy is Murdered by another student?

If you haven't heard of this horrible event that happened at a middle school in Oxnard, California last week, here's the low-down:

15 year old Larry (Lawrence) King was an 8th grader who had come out as gay earlier in the year.

He recently told a classmate that he had a crush on him.

That classmate brought a gun to school last Tuesday and shot Larry in the head.

Larry died later that week.

How do we respond to this? What can each of us do? Here are three things:


Over 1,000 students from the Hueneme district's schools came together ON THEIR OWN to rally and remember Larry. Here's a link to the LA Times article about the giant peace rally held in memory of Larry. That's amazing, and gives me hope.


"That's so Gay" is something kids hear all the time in school, as slang for something being lame, or bad, or wrong. Think how YOU would feel if the expression were "That's so black." Or "That's so Jew." Or "That's so Born Again." Try it out with whatever YOUR identity is, and say it out loud, with the same negative inflection you use for "That's so Gay." See how that feels?

Hate speech is hate speech, and accepting and allowing this verbal bashing of GLBTQ kids creates an atmosphere where homophobia is accepted.


There are so many books (non-fiction and fiction novels) that are available Today that could be life-changing and truly useful - not just for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Teens but for ALL Teens, to read.

Reading novels with GLBTQ Teen characters can help everyone realize that GLBTQ Teens are just like every other Teenager - with dreams, ambitions, problems, anxieties, crushes, and adventures.

Novels tap into our mythic underpinnings as a culture - we love a good story. American Idol is so popular because it's basically a retelling of the Cinderella Story.

We need to get the diversity of sexual orientation and identity included in the myths we share as a culture and as individuals. To do this, we need to READ!


So I've called the school district office, and put in motion my offer to donate these 15 books to the E.O. Green Junior High School Library, in memory of Larry (Lawrence) King.

(It was really challenging narrowing it down...)

books with Gay Teen Characters
Absolutely Positively NOT
Rainbow Boys
Geography Club
The God Box
Freak Show

books with Lesbian Teen Characters
Erik & Isabelle Freshman Year at Foresthill High (also has a Gay Teen main character)
Hard Love
Keeping You a Secret

books with Transgender Teen Characters

books with Questioning Teen Characters
The House You Pass Along The Way

books with GLBTQ Parents/Caretakers
The Manny Files
The Arizona Kid

and one graphic novel
Tough Love: High School Confidential

Hopefully the district will accept the donation and these books can get on the shelves and then into kids' hands for them to read.

It may not be the total answer (and it's certainly not EVERY book with GLBTQ characters and/or content that their library should have), but it's a step - 15 steps - in the right direction.

To Larry's family and friends, my heart goes out to you.

To every Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning and Queer Kid out there, I urge you to not live in fear. Be yourself. Be proud.

And let's ALL work to change our culture from one of fear and hate of differences, to one of understanding and acceptance of others.

With Blessings,



Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tiresias: Gender Outlaw in Greek Mythology

Ovid tells how Hera and Zeus once argued over whether men's or women's pleasure in lovemaking was greater. They called on the ancient seer Tiresias to settle their playful disagreement for he had experienced both.

Once as a youth he [Tiresias] had come upon two serpents making love; upon striking them with his staff he was immediately turned into a woman.
(Hera didn't like the disrespect.)

As a woman, Tiresias became a priestess of Hera, married a guy and had children!

7 or 8 years later Tiresias again came upon two serpents copulating, and this time she either stomped them or left them alone (the stories are unclear on this point...)

Anyway, what she did pleased Hera this time, and Tiresias was returned to his masculine form.

Tiresias told the divine pair that women had nine times as much pleasure as men, an answer that so infuriated Hera that she struck him blind. In recompense Zeus gave him the gift of foretelling the future and a long life as well. (Met. 3.322-50) Though the tales that emphasis Tiresias's prophetic insights in later years make no reference to these events of his youth, one could still play with the notion that some part of his wisdom derives from perspectives gained during the years he spent as a woman.
It's fascinating that this example of fluidity of gender comes to us from the mythic underpinnings of our culture. In the same tradition of native shamen, and two-spirit people possessing qualities both male and female, it's a great reminder of why alternate gender identity - the "T" in GLBTQ, is so much part of our community.

We are all different - and in the very things that make us different, lay our strengths.


The quotes above are found on pgs. 182-183 of the chapter "Same-Sex Love in the Age of Heroes" in "Myths and Mysteries of Same Sex Love" by Christine Downing.

Monday, February 18, 2008

12 Days

By June Kim

When Jackie's female lover Noah leaves her to marry a man, it feels like a death.

When Noah dies in a car accident, it's even worse - because now she can never change her mind and come back to Jackie.

Over 12 days, to get Noah out of her system, Jackie takes her ex-lover's cremated ashes and blends them into smoothies - which she drinks. One a day. For twelve days. And she and Noah's brother spend those days together - remembering, grieving, and figuring out how to move on.

Here's a link to an article where the author talks about manga and creating this graphic novel.

Add your review of this book in "comments!"

Friday, February 15, 2008

LOVE IS... Two Saris Together

Okay, for the finale of this week of Queer Love stories, here's an excerpt from the amazing "Another Mother Tongue" by Judy Grahn:

Delicate shell-bead necklaces in warm subtle tones of brown, orange, and cream cascade from my neck as I write. They are a gift from my friend, Linda Marie, who brought them from the south coast of India, where the shells were gathered from a sparkling beach that slopes into the intense blue water of the Indian Ocean. They are strung together into slender necklaces by the women and children of the village Kanya Kumari. As Linda explained to me, these Tamil-speaking dark-skinned Hindu people are descendants of the original women-centered tribes who, centuries ago, were pushed to the south of India by the invading patriarchal Aryans who began to dominate the north. Still matrilineal, the women, as so many others around the world, have been reduced to selling necklaces to tourists for a living.

They worship the goddess Kumari, a Spinster God who never took a lover and never married. The great temple of Kumari overlooks the blue sea at the very south tip of India. Huge wooden doors two stories high once opened to allow the godess, as she sits in her large statue form, to look out over the sea. Long beams of light were said to reflect over the water, gleams of the torchlights held by her worshippers and reflected from the diamonds set into her nose. But once years ago, a Portuguese colonial ship caught in a storm had mistaken her diamond light for a lighthouse signal and crashed on the rocks. Since then, the great doors of Kumari's temple are closed to the sea, though her temple services go on as before.

The local people live in thatched houses of their own making. Rape is unknown in this region, and the men are very shy around the women. The title of respect is "Mother." Linda Marie, an American woman married to an Indian man from a more northern province, had traveled to the south coast villages in 1966 and made a special friend named Antonia. Now in 1978 she returned to find her again. This time she sought an added dimension to their friendship, for in the meantime in America she had divorced her husband and had come out as a Lesbian. What follows is her account of the second visit; she has used an autobiographical character name, Cassie, as the short, red-haired, white American traveler.


The next morning Cassie brought Saris for Antonia and her daughter and sisters. Then she took Antonia to her hotel-room and asked her to stay until Cassie went back to the USA. Cassie asked the question by pointing to the floor, then to the two beds, then to herself and the other woman. Antonia agreed, and they put the mattresses on the floor next to one another. Then so many hours were spent talking, talking, each in her own language, and the language of women, tossing their heads and waving their hands...

Cassie learned from Antonia that her mother had died when she was small but before dying she had a hex sign tattooed on Antonia's arm. Antonia taught Cassie what the word was in her language, Tamil, for two-turbans together; then another word for two-saris-together. But as for a-sari-and-a-turban-together, even when Cassie repeated the word in a near-whisper, Antonia would bite her lip and blush. Since she didn't seem to mind Cassie saying the words for two saris or two turbans out loud, Cassie surmised that a-sari-and-a-turban together was a dirty word in Tamil...

Antonia was humming, holding up her hands with her eyes closed and weaving back and forth. She knew the word "Love." She pronounced it "Luva." She understood love to mean our secret, the one we keep from the world. What would happen if the world knew an Untouchable from India and an Outcast from America shared a secret? Would it start world wars? Would the United Nations forbid women from traveling alone? If these two were caught, would they be cast to the sea and fed to the sharks? Or worse yet, would they be teated as lepers, would dogs bark and children laugh and point as they passed by? Cassie wondered. The best that could happen if everyone knew this secret would be that women from all over the world would mingle shamelessly and the men would become silent before their power.

LOVE is... this, too.

Thanks for going along with me on this Valentine's week exploration of so many different kinds of Queer Love. I hope your lives are infused with blessings and love, too.


The excerpt is from pgs. 107-111.
Thanks to Sara Wilson Etienne for the candy heart link! (Click on the "Gay Love" candy heart above to link to the site where you can create your own text on a candy heart image!)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

LOVE IS... World War II Soldiers Kissing

From the TV series Torchwood:


I keep watching this. It definitely feeds a part of me - that adolescent inside me, the kid I was, who NEVER got to see any loving portrayal of men loving men. How this would have Rocked My World back then.

How it Rocks My World now.

LOVE IS... Yeah, like this, too.

Oh, and if the above wasn't reason enough to be a total FAN of John Barrowman, how's this for more? Check out this ad campaign featuring the OUT, GAY and PROUD actor!

There you go - Two sweets for Valentines Day!


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

LOVE IS... Drunk with Pleasure, Like the Islamic Poet Muhammed Shams ud-din Hafiz

I find it incredible how much today's image of Islam has been taken over by militancy and fundamentalist privation. In the face of this very limited definition of Islam, it's wonderful to realize that there was, and is, a broader, more liberal and inclusive Islam. That there was, and still is, an Islamic path that is a sensual, homoerotic celebration of abandoning restraint and pursuing ecstasy as another pathway to merge with the Divine.

Hafiz (sometimes spelled Hafez) was born in the Persian city of Shiraz (what is now Iran) around 1326. He wrote in a particular verse form, the

"erotic ghazal," a lyric poem of six to fifteen rhymed couplets unified not by logic but by symbols and images: often the ghazal is compared to a thread of pearls. Love and wine were traditional themes of the ghazal because they symbolized ecstasy and liberation from restraint. Hafiz took these subjects and made them his own while infusing them with his own brand of Sufi mysticism and its yearning for a total, obliterating union of the earthly with the divine.

Here's one of his amazing ghazals:

With locks disheveled, flushed in a sweat of drunkenness,
His shirt torn open, a song on his lips and wine cup in his hand -

With eyes looking for trouble, lips softly complaining -
So at midnight last night he came and sat at my pillow.

He bent his head down to my ear, and in a voice full of sadness
He said: "Oh, my old lover, are you asleep?"

What lover, given such wine at midnight,
Would prove love's heretic, not worshipping wine?

Don't scold us, you puritan, for drinking down to the dregs;
This fate was dealt us in God's prime Covenant.

Whatever He poured into our tankard we'll swallow;
If it's liquor of Paradise, or the wine that poisons.

A laughing wine cup, a tangle of knotted hair -
And let good resolutions, like those of Hafiz, be shattered!

LOVE IS... this, too.


These quotes above are from pgs. 148-151 of "The Gay 100: A Ranking of The Most Influential Gay Men and Lesbians, Past and Present" by Paul Russell.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

LOVE IS... The Train Station Good-bye Cliche - but OUR Cliche, this time.

On the platform we kissed, damn them all; we kissed, and we said, "See you," and then I got on the train, and he stood there for a moment, a tall, black knight in shining armor, and then he gave me a half smile and half a bow, and he ran up the stairs two at a time, turned at the top and waved, and that was the last I ever saw of him.

But it is still all there in my memory, the brightest memory of them all.

- Merle Miller, from What Happened

This Love-Cliche-Made-Ours Theme goes perfectly with this amazing photo of two sailors kissing (a reference to the famous end-of-WWII Times Square soldier-kissing-nurse photo), photographed by David Lachapelle for Diesel in 1994.

LOVE IS... Like this, too.


This quote is from pg. 52 of "In Your Eyes: Quotations on Gay Love" edited by Richard Derus

Monday, February 11, 2008

LOVE IS... The Ladies Of Llangollen: A Romantic Friendship of Passion

"The Two most celebrated virgins in Europe!"

-Prince Puckler Muskaus (1)

Eleanor Butler (1739-1829) and Sara Ponsonby (1755-1831) were two upper-class Irishwomen who left Ireland together in 1778 and set up home together in Plas Newydd, a cottage in Llangollen Vale in Wales. This was the second time they had attempted to elope, and they had to do it in male clothes so as not to be too conspicuous on the route. Their families realized they could not be stopped, and eventually gave them small stipends. (2)

In 1782 only two years after taking up house together people were confessing themselves captivated by their romantic mode of life, and three years later their fame had traveled so widely that the Queen was asking for plans of the cottage and garden. This was only the prelude to an adulation accorded to few celebrities in any era, and it was to last until their deaths and after. (3)

Here's a poem a friend of theirs (a Mrs. Grant) wrote of their love and lives, which they liked so much they transcribed copies of it to give their friends and visitors:

'In the Vale of Langollen a Cottage is seen
Well shelter'd from tempests by shades ever green
Where the daisy first opens its eye - to the day
And the hawthorn first flowers on the bosom of May.

There far from the haunts of ambition and pride
Contentment, and virtue, and friendship abide,
And nature, complacent smiles sweet on the pair
Who have splendour forsaken to worship her there.

Bright Patterns of wisdom affection and truth
Retired to the shade in the gay bloom of youth
Your sweet rural cottage and pastoral views
Are the charm of the Vale, and the theme of the Muse.

To the Shade for concealment in vain you retire,
We follow to wonder - to gaze - and admire.
Those graces which fancy and feeling refine,
Like the glow-worm thro' deepest obscurity shine

While ambition exults in her storm-beaten dome,
Like the tower on your Mountain that frowns o'er your home
With tranquil seclusion, and friendship your lot
How blest, how secure, and how envied your cot! (4)

Now, were they lesbians, as we think of womyn-loving-womyn today? They certainly didn't want other people to think theirs was a physical relationship. When the General Evening Post ran an article on July 24th, 1790, about The Ladies of the Vale, under the title "Extraordinary Female Affection" they contacted their lawyers about their chances to sue for libel. (They didn't, in the end.)

Yet, Eleanor and Sara

"...share everything. Their bound books are gold-lettered, E.B. on the front, S.P. on the back; so with their china and with nearly every possession they have. Their letters are signed jointly, the initials of the Beloved followed by the full name of the writer of the letter. In speech they use always the collective 'We'. They call one another 'Beloved' always, as Dorothy and William Wordsworth do. 'Beloved', which had about the same weight then as 'Darling', and which even in Sara's account book was shortened to 'My B'.

Yet none of this compares with the subtilty [sic] of the concealed relationship, for to all appearances Eleanor Butler seems to be the stronger character; people notice that it is she who appears to make the decisions; to do most of the talking; who is the active principle. Yet when the library chimney catches fire and their precious cottage is likely to burn down it is not Eleanor but Sarah who has the presence of mind to thrust her arm up the chimney, burning it as she does so, and to pull down Lady Dungannon's dull, voluminous letter, which has started the trouble. When a drunken man calls at the cottage and puts his foot in the kitchen door it is not Eleanor but Sarah who goes down to send him away. (5)

And they shared a bed.

They cared for and loved each other, as shown in this letter Eleanor wrote in 1817 to her friend Mrs Montagu:

I kept my bed all day with one of My dreadful Headaches. My Sally. My Tender, My Sweet Love lay beside me holding and supporting My Head till one o'clock when I by Much entreaty prevailed with her to rise and get her breakfast. She never left me for half a Moment the entire day Except at Two o'clock when she perceived Mr Whalley and little Richard coming down the Field. She ran out to Prevent his rapping at the door and to borrow the 1st Volume of the Tab de Suisse which she knew I was pining for... My beloved Sat by My Bed Side reading it to me for near Two Hours - I wou'd not permit her to Continue - lest it shou'd impair her precious Health. Mrs Tatters uneasy that we did not come down Stairs at the usual hour Scratched at our Door for admittance, came on the bed to me and lay there till Ten o'clock at night Purring all the Time - a day of Tenderness and Sensibility'

'My Sally How can I acknowledge the grateful Sense my Heart labours under of Your Tenderness, anxiety and incessant attention to your B.' (6)

So many of our ideas of Romantic Love come from this era of idealized, Romantic Friendship.

How much of our culture's Valentine's Day obsession do we owe these two ladies, who dressed in women's clothes and men's top hats, who made a life of refinement and 'retirement' together, and who changed the world with their love and passion for one another!

LOVE IS... like this.


Quote 2 is from pg. 142 of "Cassell's Queer Companion" by William Stewart. Quotes 1 and 3 is from "The Ladies of Llangollen: A Study in Romantic Friendship" by Elizabeth Mavor, pg. 9. Quote 4 is from the same, pg. 99. Quote 5, pg. 102, Quote 6 pg. 104

Friday, February 8, 2008

Gotham Central Vol.2: Half a Life (Batman)

By Greg Rucka (Author) and Michael Lark (Illustrator)

This graphic novel goes into the world of Batman and focuses on the cops who deal with the uncostumed criminals of Gotham City that are below the Caped Crusader's radar.

Specifically, this story is about Detective Renee Montoya. When she's outed as a lesbian, the snitch turns up dead - and suddenly Renee's framed for the murder.

Add your review of this book in "comments!"

Thursday, February 7, 2008

A Queer Celebration of Chinese New Year!

Happy New Year! Chinese New Year, that is!

A Lesbian Lip-Lock in Tiananmen Square!

London's Chinatown all decorated!

Look at all the Red things for sale in Taiwan!

It's The Year of the Rat, and to celebrate (in addition to that Queer Kiss photo above - I'm so PROUD of those women - I don't know if I would be that brave!), here are three intellectual fireworks for you to enjoy:

Mythology behind the Holiday (from wikipedia):

According to legend, in ancient China, the Nián (年) was a man-eating beast from the mountains (in other versions from under the sea), which came out every 12 months somewhere close to winter to prey on humans. The people later believed that the Nian was sensitive to loud noises and the colour red, so they scared it away with explosions, fireworks and the liberal use of the colour red. These customs led to the first New Year celebrations. Guò nián (simplified Chinese: 过年; traditional Chinese: 過年), which means to celebrate the new year, literally means the passover of the Nian.
I didn't know that - and that's really cool, an explanation of the use of the color red and the loud fireworks!

Here's the next flower of light, to delight: There was a play about lesbian love, written and performed in China in the 1600s!

Li Yu's play, Lian xiang ban or "Pitying the Fragrant Companion." It is a story about two women (one of them married) who love each other so much that they perform a wedding ceremony for themselves. The married woman conspires successfully to have her husband accept her lover as a concubine and the two women live together happily ever after. That the play later became closely identified with the lesbian experience is unmistakable; for example, in the autobiographical work on Shen Fu (1763-?) Six Chapters of a Floating Life, we find him teasing his wife about her infatuation with a singsong girl, "Are you trying to imitate Li-weng's 'Pitying the Fragrant Companion'?"

And the third fabulous celebration of Chinese Gay Soul this New Years is:

From the Chronicles, too, we know about the affection between Duke Ling of Wei and his minister, Ni Xia. Once, when the two men were taking a stroll in an orchard, Ni picked a peach off one of the trees and took a bite off it. The fruit was so delicious that he offered the rest of it to the duke; a common euphemism for male homosexual love, fen tao zhi ai (literally, "the love of the shared peach"), is derived from this account.

Juicy, isn't it?

Here's hoping YOUR Chinese New Year Celebration is as Brave, Peachy, Fragrant, Dressed in Red and LOUD!



quote #2 is from pg. 85 of the essay "Homosexuality and the State in Late Imperial China" by Viven W. Ng, as in "Hidden from History: Reclaiming the Gay and Lesbian Past" edited by Martin Duberman, Martha Vicinus and George Chauncey, Jr. quote #3 is from pg. 77 of the same essay.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Girl, (Nearly) 16: Absolute Torture

By Sue Limb

In this British Teen Chick Lit sequel to "Girl, 15, Charming but Insane," Jess is dragged on a holiday with her Mom instead of getting to spend the summer with her boyfriend. The end point of the trip is visiting her dad, who she learns is gay.

Add your review of this book in "comments!"

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Hello, Groin

By Beth Goobie

Dylan's 16 and a closeted lesbian. She creates a controversial book display at school that gets censored. When she finally comes out (after kissing another girl at a dance) her family and friends are amazing - they accept and love her unconditionally. She even gets a girlfriend!

Check out this very heartening article on the publisher's website, where Beth explains some background on her interviews with Teens before writing "Hello, Groin." She also addresses her decision to make the reaction (by family, friends and society as a whole) to Dylan's being a lesbian be upbeat and very pro-gay.

Add your review of this book in "comments!"

Monday, February 4, 2008

Fictional Characters on Myspace? Lies on Facebook?

So you write a book, and you want to get it in front of Teen Eyeballs.

You create Myspace (or Facebook, etc...) profiles for your main characters. You have these characters interact in this internet-fueled realm, as if they're real Teens.

You have other real teens "friend" them and your fictional characters "friend" real teens.

Is this genius marketing? Or is it lying? Could it be both?


Interestingly, there's even a Myspace group called "The Department of Inanimate Objects and Fictional Characters." (29 members.)

and a "Fictional Characters of Myspace" group as well (this one has 73 members.)

It makes me think of a sort of internet version of COSPLAY, where people dress up as their own fictional characters to role-play, and then interact with each other as those characters. But in that situation, it's kind of like Halloween - everyone knows everyone else is dressed up and pretending/acting.

What's odd about the fictional characters on Myspace, etc... is that often there is no tag on it to tell a real life user that this is a profile of someone fictional...

It kind of reminds me also of that hysterical (possibly apocryphal?) episode of some daytime talk show where they were introducing "blind" dates - people who had met online, and they were going to meet in person for the first time that day. So they introduced the first girl of a lesbian pairing - only to reveal that she was a guy, pretending to be a lesbian. They asked him what he thought the other girl's reaction would be, on finding out he wasn't a lesbian also. Then they brought out the OTHER girl, and everyone was shocked to discover that this was ANOTHER guy, who had also been pretending to be a lesbian!!! (To my mind, these two guys deserved each other!)

Anyway, I admit that creating profiles for your fictional characters is a fascinating way to get Teens interested in your book, but what about the ethical line? Shouldn't there be a responsibility to let everyone KNOW somehow that this profile is a made-up character? Or are Teens all so savvy that they know you can't believe everything (or even most of the things) you read on the internet?

What about the people who lie just about their height, or weight? Is being honest too slippery a slope for us these days? Should we have some way to vet the truth of real people's posts as well?

Or is it all sort of a work of fiction, anyway?


It's a brave new world, and sometimes, it's messy.

What are your thoughts on this? Just join in the conversation by clicking on "comment."

Friday, February 1, 2008


By E. Lockhart

Sarah is a big white girl, Demi is a gay black boy, and together they're off to summer musical theater camp!

This bit from the author's website was too good not to share:

It's a season of hormones,
gold lamé,
hissy fits,
jazz hands,
song and dance,
true love,
and unitards
that will determine their future
--and test their friendship.
The author even has all the songs from the book on an imix on her website (right column, under "Sayde's imix") which is pretty cool - it's not even a movie (yet?), and it already has its own soundtrack!

Add your review of this book in "comments!"