Thursday, July 31, 2008
By Robin Reardon
Taylor's a junior in High School, and he's figured out that since he's Gay, God must have wanted him to be that way. He's crushing on a guy in his school, Will, and the feeling is mutual.
But Taylor's parents have a different view on it, and when they discover that their son is "confused" about his sexuality, they pack him off to a Christian rehab center called "Straight to God."
It's kind of a prison, specializing in ridding teenagers of their sins - drugs, violence, being attracted to other boys...
Taylor is constantly watched and has no privacy, and figures he has to play along with the reprogramming to survive. Or does he?
Add your review of "Thinking Straight" in comments!
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
By Robin Reardon
Jason is 16. He's a runner, and feels really comfortable on the track.
Where he doesn't feel so comfortable is with his feelings for guys - specifically, Raj, the new guy on the track team.
Jason has been hiding that part of himself, but now their attraction throws Jason's world for a loop.
And even if they can figure out things between themselves, how can they deal with the homophobes out there? Jason carries a secret knife to make him feel protected from the bullies. But Raj is convinced the non-violent strategy of Ghandi is the way to deal with the haters of the world.
Can Jason and Raj figure things out? Can they ever feel safe? Can they find and keep love?
Add your review of "A Secret Edge" in comments!
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
By Lexi Harris
Leah is starting over. She's moving in with her Dad and his new family, and starting at a new school. Everything's going great until she meets Jaxie in music class.
Now Leah's falling in love, with a girl.
Will she lose everything she has and everyone who loves her because of it?
"Heart" is a work of passion that Lexi self-published. Add your review of this book in "comments!"
Monday, July 28, 2008
By Judy MacLean
Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" gets a Girl-Girl update!
In modern day Northern California, Rosemary "Romey" is the only out lesbian at her high school. Her Mom runs a women's clinic that has been targeted by anti-abortion activists.
Julie's Dad is a fundamentalist minister (let's just say he's against clinics like Romey's Mom's...) and Julie is the star of their church's choir.
But Romey and Julie are the
pair of star-cross'd lovers
who in Judy's version of the classic are destined to fall in love...
Will their love have more of a chance than the original "Romeo and Juliet?"
Add your review of "Rosemary and Juliet" in comments!
Friday, July 25, 2008
Heavy Sigh. Politics can be so disheartening.
I want to jump on the Barack Obama bandwagon and cheer and lead the parade, bake my chocolate chip cookies, and hold a bake sale to raise money for his campaign - anything to get this more progressive, more level-headed guy into the White House so we can start to fix everything that's gone so terribly wrong in the last 8 years of George W. Bush.
The war in Iraq.
Our foreign policy in... well, almost EVERYwhere.
The ridiculous state of health care and how insurance companies are taking all the money that could otherwise be used to have universal coverage and healthier lives for all of us.
The slanting of the Judiciary away from personal rights and towards corporate rights.
The preference in all three branches of government for oil companies over preparing the U.S. for a Green future.
The destruction of our environment (under the guise of federal programs that in Orwellian logic increase the amount of mercury in water the government allows and yet are called "the clean water act."
The list goes on and on...
But I'm held back from true, deep enthusiasm.
here's a video to watch...
Now, I fully acknowledge that Barack Obama would be WORLDS better - in so many ways, and especially when we look at gay rights - than John McCain, whose original support of state's rights to allow gay marriage has morphed into out-and-out efforts to TAKE AWAY gay marriage.
In fact, here's a great illustration of McCain's change on this issue (shall we call a "flip flop" a "flip-flop," everyone?) that reveals that he's so desperate for socially conservative votes that he's willing to throw us (the GLBTQ community) under the proverbial bus to get them...
Click here to see an article talking about how back in 2004 McCain was against a federal constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage
Click here to read an article on how in 2008, McCain is supporting the initiative to amend the California constitution to ban gay marriage
Also to HIS credit, Barack Obama did release a statement -that while not coming out in FAVOR or APPROVING of gay marriage in California, at least he came out AGAINST the initiative to take away the new legal rights of gay and lesbians to marry.
In a letter to the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club, Barack Obama earlier this July spoke out against Proposition 8:
I am proud to join with and support the LGBT community in an effort to set our nation on a course that recognizes LGBT Americans with full equality under the law. That is why I support extending fully equal rights and benefits to same-sex couples under both state and federal law. That is why I support repealing the Defense of Marriage Act and the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy, and the passage of laws to protect LGBT Americans from hate crimes and employment discrimination. And that is why I oppose the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states.
For too long, issues of LGBT rights have been exploited by those seeking to divide us. It's time to move beyond polarization and live up to our founding promise of equality by treating all our citizens with dignity and respect.
It's like Barack Obama has been told "You can't say you support gay marriage. You can say equal rights. You can say equal benefits. But if you go ahead like Gavin Newsom
(The Mayor of San Francisco who was brave enough to be a straight politician making history in his light-years-ahead-of-everyone-else support of Same Sex Marriage)
and flat-out SAY Gays and Lesbians should be allowed to be MARRIED, you're never going to be President. And put on a flag lapel pin already, for Campaign's sake!"
And yet... In so many ways Barack Obama is a great ally for our GLBTQ community. Here's his statement for Gay Pride Month (June 2008):
Chicago, IL -- Senator Barack Obama today released the following statement commemorating Pride month.
“I am proud to join with our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered brothers and sisters in celebrating the accomplishments, the lives, and the families of all LGBT people during this Pride season. Too often, the issue of LGBT rights is exploited by those seeking to divide us. But at its core, this issue is about who we are as Americans.”
“It’s time to live up to our founding promise of equality by treating all our citizens with dignity and respect. Let’s enact federal civil rights legislation to outlaw hate crimes and protect workers against discrimination based upon sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. Let’s repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell and demonstrate that the most effective and professional military in the world is open to all Americans who are ready and willing to serve our country. Let’s treat the relationships and the families of LGBT Americans with full equality under the law.”
“We are ready to accomplish these goals because of the courage and persistence of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people who have are working every day to achieve equal rights. The gay couple who demand equal treatment in our family laws as they raise their children; the lesbian soldier who wants nothing more than to serve her country openly and honestly; the transgendered workers who asks for the simple dignity of being judged by the quality of their work. Generations of LGBT Americans, at once ordinary and extraordinary, have made possible this moment in our history. With leadership and hard work, we can fulfill the promise of equality for all.”
No question about it. On Gay rights, Barack Obama is miles ahead of where we are today. He's willing to take down legal barriers we face, to protect us from discrimination on the job and in the military...
But, I can't help but wish he could stand up proud for us - with us - for ALL our rights. For my marriage, too. It would really help me stand up proud for him.
Maybe he needs to be elected President, first.
And in the meantime, I'll keep the ingredients for my chocolate chip cookies in the kitchen. Just in case.
Oh, and Mr. Newsom - let me know when you're up for re-election. I'll have a bake sale for you.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
By Joe Babcock
Andy's in 6th grade at a Catholic School in Minessota, and he's starting to figure out why he's fascinated with the star basketball player and not so much in the beauty queen...
He has a best friend, James, who is gay and out and who makes Andy really uncomfortable.
But Andy has a huge crush on Mark, the star sports guy. Meawhile, Mark is dealing with figuring out his own sexual longings...
Add your review of "The Boys and The Bees" in comments!
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
By Joe Babcock
Erick is 16, stuck in a Catholic high school, and desperate to break OUT. He meets a 26 year old drag queen and decides that, like her, he'll find his fame (and his place in the world) as a fabulous drag persona, and so he re-invents himself as "Miss Geneva Flowers."
But, dropping out of school, running away, living with a 26 year old, getting addicted to drugs, and making bad relationship choices make Erick's life far from a comedy.
But can a real boyfriend help Erick turn "The Tragedy of Miss Geneva Flowers" around?
It's interesting to note that Joe original self-published this, his debut novel. It was subsequently picked up by Carroll & Graf publishers, and is considered a "self-publishing success story."
Add your review of "The Tragedy of Miss Geneva Flowers" in comments!
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
By Ellen Wittlinger
Marisol (from Ellen's "Hard Love") has taken a year off before college to write a novel and - yeah, she's planning this - fall in love.
She has a crazy roommate situation just outside Boston (Birdie's gay and has a habit of picking up strays - a cat, a dog, a guy who might be a boyfriend for him...)
She has to deal with Gio (the straight guy that fell for her last year even though he knew she only likes girls) being in her writing class. There's also a newly out lesbian, Lee, who has a complete crush on Marisol.
But her writing teacher, Olivia, is everything Marisol wants - and they start a teacher-student romance.
But is Marisol seeing things clearly? Or is she too blinded by love to see the lies?
Add your review of "Love & Lies: Marisol's Story" in comments!
Monday, July 21, 2008
Polena pa'a 'ia iho ke aloha i kuleana like ai kaua.
(In love tightly bound, you and I share equal rights.)
Okay, get this.
In 1779 Captain Cook was the first non-Polynesian to explore Hawaii.
His crew kept journals that included some amazing revelations:
They learned of concubines (often male) whose business, as the journals put it, "is to commit the Sin of Onan upon the old King" - a reference to oral sex. "It is an office that is esteemed honourable among them," continued the shocked log writer, "and they have frequently asked us on seeing a handsome young fellow if he was not an Ikany [aikane] to some of us."
The Hawaiian word aikane referred to a whole rank of people who were granted special political and social status as a result of a sexual role with the royalty, and who increased their mana, or spiritual power, this way, since royals were believed to be descended from the gods.
Cook's sailors recorded the kings of Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island all having male aikane. "A shocking inversion of the laws of nature, they bestow all those affections upon them that were intended for the other sex," gasped one log entry. "They talk of this infernal practice with all the indifference in the world."
To underscore the point, the great uniter of the Hawaiian Islands, King Kamehameha, even kept his own aikane, according to the ship's logs: "He with many of his attendants took up quarters on board the ship for the Night: among them is a Young Man of whom he seems very fond, which does not in the least surprise us, as we have had opportunities before of being acquainted with a detestable part of his Character which he is not in the least anxious to conceal."
WOW. Putting aside the judgement of the European prudes who wrote about it, the aikane and their special role with the Kings of Hawaii are a really great bit of Hidden Gay History!
Here's more about the historical tradition of Aikane - a website where the Petroglyph image above and the top quote was from.
The other quotes included are from an article in the latest "The Out Traveler" magazine, adapted from the book "The Out Traveler: Hawaii" by Matthew Link, Alyson Books, 2008.
Friday, July 18, 2008
The Fight Is On! California Same Sex Marriage WILL Go Up For A Majority "Yes" Or "No" Vote in November!
In this corner, standing 151 feet tall for Liberty and Justice for All, and weighing 450,000 pounds, Lady Liberty!
Whooo! Yeah! Go-Girl!!! Uh, you wanna put down your torch and your book, there?
And in this corner, standing at 5 feet 7 inches against Gay Marriage, against Adoption by Gay Men and Lesbians, and weighing the political expediency of denying GLBTQ Americans more and more of their rights so he can get more votes from his alienated conservative "base", U.S. Senator from Arizona, Backer of the California Initiative to Deny Marriage to Same Sex Couples, and Presumptive Republican Nominee... John McCain!
Boo! Hssss! Shame on you!
And in this corner... Well, I'll save my disappointment with Barack Obama's stance on Gay marriage for another time.
Here's The Breaking News this week:
That's from the Equality California website.
CA Supreme Court Rules on Bennett v. Bowen
– On July 16, the California Supreme Court issued an order in Bennett v. Bowen, S164520, denying a petition to remove Proposition 8, the proposed marriage ban, from the November ballot. SAN FRANCISCO
California, the for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal, and the American Civil Liberties Union issued the following statement: National Center
“We’re disappointed, but this ruling does not affect the campaign against Prop 8 in any way. We have been focused on continuing with the election and moving forward, talking to voters and working in the precincts—asking Californians to Vote No on 8. Californians do not want their Constitution to single out people to be treated differently. We are confident they will vote NO in November to make sure everyone is treated equally under the law.”
That means that Gay Marriage will be up for a majority vote.
That means that EVERYONE who is fair-minded and can vote HAS to do their part, to stand in solidarity for the civil rights of we, their Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning fellow human beings!
The fight is here.
The fight is now.
If we win this, they can't say it was "activist judges" or "procedural loopholes" or make any other excuses for how we won civil marriage rights for all.
Already, Massachusetts has put in place- just this week - the foundation for eliminating restrictions on out-of-state same sex couples from being married there. There is excitement about the economic boon of an influx of same sex couples coming to marry, both in Massachusetts and in California. New York state has said it will recognize out-of-state same sex marriages...
There is momentum building for freedom and rights for GLBTQ citizens, and that is exciting and wonderful.
If we lose this, the war will be more protracted. Thousands of couples who've already married (like myself) will be put in legal limbo. The socially conservative right will sneer that "people aren't ready" for gay marriage. Well guess what? "People" weren't ready for interracial marriage until 1991. (Check out my bigger discussion of this issue with poll results and my thoughts about majority rule and the True Meaning of Democracy here.)
The majority of people may not have been ready, but interracial marriage was made legal in this country by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1967. Should all those couples - all those families - have been made to WAIT those 24 years for the majority of voters to catch up?
Think for a second of ALL the mixed race couples YOU know. In fact, Barack Obama's parents (who, of different racial backgrounds, married in 1961) wouldn't have been able to marry in a number of states in the U.S. because of anti-interracial marriage laws! But in 1967, they had the freedom to go anywhere in the U.S. and have their marriage recognized as legal. Should they have had to wait until 1991 to feel like first class citizens?
Here's a message for those against same sex marriage, those for same sex marriage, and those who feel they have no opinion (can this category still exist?)
Make no mistake about it. We will WIN this war. There is no going back to the closets of history.
Our love is stronger, and will outlast this fight for our civil rights.
We have seen the future, and it is brighter and fairer and more just - and it is NOW.
Join the fight.
Donate Money, if you can, whatever you can.
Donate Time -volunteer with one of the many amazing organizations who are pulling together resources and strategizing this fight.
Talk to your family and friends about it - and explain how it's not about forcing religious ceremonies on anyone - it's about basic CIVIL fairness under the law.
VOTE in November!
And check out these amazing organizations:
The National Center For Lesbian Rights
Equality For All - Vow To Vote No on 8
And check out this cool petition you can sign at the Human Rights Campaign website that already has over a million signatures in support of same sex marriage rights!
The Fight is on. Let's go for a Knockout in this round!
DING! DING! DING!
Thursday, July 17, 2008
By Nick Nolan
A modern-day, grown up, and queer-ified take on Pinocchio, "Strings Attached" follows 17 year old Jeremy.
His father died mysteriously when he was little, and his mother's a druggie. When she O.D.'s and is sent away to re-hab, Jeremy goes from abject poverty to the upper, upper crust when he ends up living with his rich great Aunt Katherine.
Jeremy's sexy, with a swimmer's body, and that - along with his Aunt's money, gets him into Ballena Beach's inner circle.
But can he stay there? Can he hide his attraction to other guys? Can he fit into this new world of wealth and beauty?
Or like a puppet pulled by too many strings, will he be torn apart by the mystery, betrayal, lust, greed, and secrets of his new life?
Add your review of "Strings Attached" in comments!
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
by Lutz Van Dijk
translated by Elizabeth D. Crawford (from the German original)
Set during World War II, Stefan is 14 when his country, Poland, is occupied by the Germans.
Two years later Stefan knows he's gay, and unexpectedly falls in love with a German soldier.
The two young men begin a secret affair. They keep the war at bay for a while, until Willi's unit is sent to Russia. A letter Stefan writes him is intercepted...
When they're discovered by the Gestapo, Stefan is sent to a labor camp - he's there for three years before the war ends and he manages to get free.
This novelized true story includes an afterword by the real Stefan K., who tells us that after the war he never found out what happened to Willi, the soldier he loved.
Add your review of "Damned Strong Love: The True Story of Willi G. and Stefan K." in comments!
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
By Amber Kizer
Gert (short for Gertrude) has a "One Butt Cheek At A Time" philosophy on life (kind of like 'one small step at a time,' but she doesn't want to offend the people without feet. And, err... everyone has a butt, right?)
So Gert is 15, and her best friend is Adam. Adam's gay, and has a crush on Tim, who has a twin brother, Lucas, that Gert likes.
Lucas ignores her. Gert is forced to do a group project with her arch enemy. She needs to look at her private parts in a mirror for a sex ed class! She has to survive Adam getting a boyfriend and not spending time with her anymore. And then there's the homecoming dance - how is she ever going to make it to 16?
That's right. One Butt Cheek at a Time.
Add your review of "Gert Garibaldi's Rants and Raves: One Butt Cheek at a Time" in comments!
Monday, July 14, 2008
By Catherine Ryan Hyde
Jordy, 17 and gay, has run away from a life of abuse at home. Homeless in New York City, he rescues Chloe, 18, a lost soul struggling to cope with her horrible past and the intense depression she's trapped in.
Together, they take a cross country journey where Jordy tries to prove to Chloe that the world does has beauty and kindness in it - something he's not even sure of himself.
Add your review of "Becoming Chloe" in comments!
Friday, July 11, 2008
By Hayden Thorne
When 16 year old Eric is rescued from a sabotaged train by Magnifiman, Vintage City's newest studly superhero, his life starts to change.
You see, his best friend, Peter, is in love with him. Which is complicated because their best gal pal, Althea, is in love with Peter.
But the three friends don't have much time to figure it out - All around them, trains, banks and malls are being attacked by The Devil's Trill, the new supervillain in town.
And before they know it, Eric, Peter, and Althea are pulled into the war between good and evil.
Secrets are revealed. Masks are torn off. And Heroes Rise.
"Masks: Rise Of Heroes" is the first book in a trilogy - go Hayden!
Add your review of this book in Comments!
Thursday, July 10, 2008
By Rodger Larson
It's 1957, and Dave is turning 14. His mother just divorced his abusive father, and they've moved to a new town in California.
When his mother hires a local young man, Gene, to do some gardening for them, Dave sees that in contrast to his brother and father, there's another way to be a man in our world.
Now Dave doesn't even know gay people exist, and Gene is completely closeted (remember, it's 1957), but this is the summer that Dave comes to understand who Gene is, and who he himself is growing up to become...
Add your review of "What I Know Now" in comments!
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
By Marijane Meaker, a.k.a. M. E. Kerr
Sydney doesn't think anything can shock him.
After all, it's the 1970s. His Mom's a lesbian, and while he doesn't let on to her that he knows, he knows a lot about her and her girlfriends.
He works at a pet store taking care of snakes, and on top of that he's memorized the sex scenes in all the books he's ever read to help him seduce women.
So nothing can shock him - right? Uh, there is one thing Sydney's not prepared for: When his Mom seduces the girl of HIS dreams!
Add your review of "Shockproof Sydney Skate" in comments!
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
By Nina Revoyr
Teenage Lesbian Crushes! Basketball! Interracial Love!
Nancy's the Asian American star of her inner city Los Angeles High School's basketball team, and is being heavily recruited by colleges - and that's her ticket to the future.
She's also crushing on the star player of a rival team, Raina, who's African American, and has the same hopes for getting out of their dead-end neighborhood.
Suddenly the girls' single parents start to date, and Raina and her Mom move in with Nancy and her father!
It's Nancy and Raina's Senior Year of High School, and it's going to be a whopper.
Add your review of "The Necessary Hunger" in comments!
Monday, July 7, 2008
By Eliot Schrefer
15 year old Humphrey isn't very good at being "the new Kid" in school, but his Dad's a loser and his Mom's a frustrated actress who waits tables to keep the family afloat, so Humphrey's constantly being moved. This time in Florida, when he tries to make some headway on having friends, he miscalculates a relationship and gets beaten up.
Meanwhile, while Humphrey's recovering in the hospital, his older sister Gretchen discovers she isn't very good at being dumped - She follows her rich ex-boyfriend to Rome, and manages to stay the summer with his parents, the Lansings.
Hearing of Humphrey's troubles, The Lansings invite him to join them for the summer, too.
And while the rich adults pay for everything material, the two poor siblings find themselves paying in different currency as they become more and more sexually and emotionally entangled in the Lansing's web of dysfunction.
Add your review of "The New Kid" in comments!
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Okay, so I was reading the Declaration of Independence over at the wikipedia site on it, given that it's the founding document of our nation, and since the second continental congress approved it and John Hancock signed it on July 4, 1776, that's the "birthday" we celebrate of the United States of America.
It starts out with this introduction:
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
Then the famous preamble, which begins with:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
and it ends with:
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
Then it goes into a list of the British King's offenses.
The 27th and final offense (and this SHOCKED me when I read it) is this:
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
Wow. Okay, so "all men are created equal" - except the Natives who were living here before we arrived. They're "savages." We'll just lock them up on "reservations," steal their land, starve them, mock them, kill them... the list of injustices is unbelievably long and painful!
Oh, and women, they're not equal either (women wouldn't even get the right to vote until the passage of the 19th Amendment of the United States Constitution in 1920!).
Oh, and slaves - yeah, those people with dark skins that we captured and brought over from another continent to buy and sell and work for us until they die - they're not equal, either.
And I'm sure Gay people weren't exactly high on the list of those "equal" in Thomas Jefferson's mind when he drafted the document, nor Benjamin Franklin's when he edited it.
(Ironically, Thomas Jefferson not only owned slaves but, also possibly had a child with one of his female slaves, Sally Hemings! Check out this rather dry explanation of the scandal here.)
Yet... Even amidst all their flaws, those "founding fathers" created a document that - as it's grown throughout its 232 years so far, has grown in meaning BEYOND their "original intent."
Our Country has evolved its meaning to where Today, "all men are created equal" means ALL of us: Native Americans, Women, Blacks, Gays - everyone human.
And that, perhaps, is the biggest and best way to reconcile the Prejudice in the Declaration of Independence. Maybe that's a reason even Native Americans can take part in the celebration to some bittersweet extent - to celebrate that a country exists - the United States of America - where we believe that ALL of us have been created EQUAL, and where we ALL have rights - including the right to
THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS!
And that, I believe, is a great reason to celebrate.
So, to honor our Native American brothers and sisters, here's a different kind of fireworks for you to enjoy:
Happy 4th of July!
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
By Joyce Sweeney
Six 14 year olds are in thrown together in an accelerated High School program. Two of them, Eric and Paul, are friends who become competitors.
But just like Beowulf faces the dragon in the epic poem they're studying, a struggle for sexual identity, a girl, and a teacher's cruelty are the "Dragons" they must face.
And when it most counts, will Eric be able to put his competition with Paul aside, and stand with his friend?
Add your review of "Face The Dragon" in comments!
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
By Hayden Thorne
In this Victorian Ghost story, Natty (Nathaniel) leaves the secluded village where he grew up and accompanies his cousin to the estate of the sophisticated Miles Lovell.
Natty discovers he's attracted to the more worldly Miles, and struggles against his own nature.
Meanwhile, his family is self-destructing, and if that weren't enough, the faceless ghost of a woman starts to haunt him. He becomes convinced she's a Banshee, a harbinger of doom.
If he's ever going to have a life to call his own, Natty must navigate all these perils...
Add your review of "Banshee" in comments!