Monday, November 30, 2009

Is Simulated Oral Sex too much for night time TV? Or was it that it was GAY Simulated Oral Sex?


So a week ago Sunday, on the American Music Awards, Adam Lambert (Out Gay Rocker from American Idol's last season) performed a dressed S&M version of his new single, "For Your Entertainment."

He gyrated, led a dancer around by a leash, simulated oral sex with another male dancer, and kissed his male keyboardist. Oh, and he sang it like a rock star.

As you might expect, ABC got "flooded" with 1,500 complaints the next morning, much of it orchestrated by the Parents Television Council, whose Melissa Henson said their protest wasn't about Adam's gay kiss. It was about the simulated oral sex.


"The gender has nothing to do with it," Henson said. "It would be true if it had been a woman's face that was thrust into his crotch."

As for Adam, he said:

“People are scared and it’s really sad, I just wish people could open their minds up and enjoy things, it’s all for a laugh, it’s really not that big of a deal.”


Good Morning America canceled Adam's scheduled appearance last Wednesday in response, but Adam was picked up by its rival The Early Show on CBS.

So I ask you - Did Adam go too far? If it had been a girl dancer he "stimulated oral sex" with, would anyone have cared?

What about that Gay kiss? Do you buy that they didn't mind it? If so, was Adam a genius by making the issue the "simulated oral sex" and having everyone accept the gay kiss?

What do you think?

Talk about it with your GSA, or share your point of view with our virtual Gay-Straight Alliance, here in comments!


Adam's quote and the photo above are from here
.

Friday, November 27, 2009

"From Here To Eternity" Was a Whole Lot Gayer!

One of the most famous scenes in movie history, this passionate make-out session on the beach, is from the Hollywood version of "From Here To Eternity." Bert Lancaster and Deborah Kerr can't control themselves. Turns out, neither could some soldiers with other guys. But that didn't make the movie. Heck, much of it didn't make the book.

There's this incredible article by Kaylie Jones, over at The Daily Beast. Kaylie is the daughter of James Jones, who wrote the book From Here To Eternity. It was published in 1951, but Kaylie reveals in the article her father's battle with his publisher about a whole gay sex plotline, of soldiers having sex with men for money, and in one case, enjoying it.

You can click on the image in the article and see two of the actual pages where cuts were made, and still read the original type-written scene underneath the crossed out lines.

It's nothing more salacious than in any YA novel these days. But still, because it's Gay, there would probably be a furor over it, even Today.

And that's one of the more poignant moments of the article, because Kaylie says of her father,

He also believed also that homosexuality was a natural condition of men in close quarters, and that it in no way affected a soldier’s capabilities on the battlefield. What would have amazed him is that the discussion still continues to this day, cloaked in the same hypocrisy and silence as it was 60 years ago.


The story of her father's fight to keep some of the Gay content in what became an iconic historical novel is a powerful statement about censorship and our culture's lack of maturity and honesty when it comes to homosexuality.

We're still talking about Don't Ask Don't Tell.

And this just shows how antiquated and ridiculous that is.

Huge thanks to my twitter friends, @heatherwpetty and @EllenHopkinsYA for sharing this article with me, so I could share it with you. This is a great example of what makes twitter so powerful.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

There's this old prayer in the Jewish tradition, called the She-he-chi-ah-nu.

It's about being grateful. Taking a moment to acknowledge where you are in your life. To recognize the blessings you have, and not take them for granted.

My Maternal Grandmother used to say it every time she ate the first plum of the season.



I mean, you can walk by a pile of rocks. Or you can see the art in it, like the artist who stacked these at the beach the morning before I went walking there. I had to stop and look at it. Rocks were everywhere on the ground, but these rocks had a purpose. They made me stop and pay attention to the beauty all around me.

This Thanksgiving, amid all the feasting, and the feelings of guilt about having, uh... stolen this country from the Native Americans, and the shopping frenzy Corporate America and our Government seem to be hoping we all go on starting Friday morning, take a moment.

Think about some of the things that make you happy in your life. The people who make your days brighter. The music that makes you want to get up and dance. The art - or artful pile of rocks - that you find where you least expect it. The plums that get baked into pie.

And add a sense of gratitude to the holiday. And then share that good, happy, grateful thought with someone else. Someone you care about.

And maybe gratitude can be the emotion that travels the world over the next few days.
It would make for a nice change of pace.

I'll get us started: I'm grateful for my husband and daughter. And as soon as I finish writing this, I'm going to go tell them.

And I'm also grateful to you - for being part of this enormous virtual community that cares about empowering Gay Teens (and everyone else, too!)

Now it's your turn. What are you grateful for? Share that part of you with people you care about.

Happy Holiday, and Namaste,
Lee

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Brazil Advertising For Children's Cereal Shows A Boy Playing With Barbie Dolls!

Check out this ad running in Brazil for Kellogg's Frosted Flakes (called "Sucrilhos" there.)



It's part of their Leo Burnett Brazil advertising campaign "The Important Thing Is To Be Healthy"

And while I agree with many who have qualified the tag-line before me "As healthy as you can be eating a sugary breakfast cereal every morning," (Nutritional data here),

I love the vision of kids just being themselves with no shame imposed on them.

The strict gender roles about what boys can do, wear, and play with still seem more rigid than those for girls. After all, girls wear pants, but you don't often see boys in skirts or dresses (and if you do, it's a BIG deal.)

This ad moves us forward. All of us.

And that's a great thing.

Our world is changing!

Namaste,
Lee

Thanks to Suzanne for the heads-up on this one!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Eagle Kite


By Paula Fox

Liam is a freshman in high school when he finds out his father is dying.

Of AIDS.

But beyond that, his Mom and Dad don't want to tell him much.

And Liam realizes his comfortable life is suddenly full of lies, and secrets, and loss...


"The Eagle Kite" was published as "A Gathering Darkness" in the U.K. Add your review of this novel in comments!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Jon Stewart Adds A "Gay Watch" Segment to his show: Wrestler Mick Foley's Got 10 Year Old Gay Activist's Back!

Check out this amazing segment, with an interview of an idiot, an interview with one of my heroes, and a Pro Wrestler vowing to kick some homophobic butt!



The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
colspan='2'Gaywatch - Peter Vadala & William Phillips
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis


And when you've stopped laughing, discuss...

Namaste,
Lee

My thanks to Jon Stewart and The Daily Show, for keeping it Real (and funny!), and to Andy Towle of Towleroad for getting this clip out there!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Two Gay Teens MURDERED in the last week: Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado & Jason Mattison Jr. We have to STOP this anti-gay violence!


Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado, left, and Jason Mattison Jr.
Jorge was murdered in Puerto Rico. He was 19. He wanted to be a fashion designer. He was well known in the gay community of Puerto Rico, and "very loved."

"The police agent that is handling this case said on a public televised statement that 'people who lead this type of lifestyle need to be aware that this will happen.' As If the boy murdered (Jorge Steven Lopez) was asking to get killed."

Jason was murdered in Baltimore. He was 15. A Sophmore in High School. He was out, gay, popular, and flamboyant.

Their murders were violent, horrible, nightmare-inducing.

We have the Matthew Shepherd and James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act as the Law of this country, and yet this homophobic violence has not stopped.

There's been talk of how these murders haven't gotten the type of national media attention Matthew Shepherd's murder did - and discussion about whether that's because the victims this time round were Latino and Black.

But the blood of all these murdered gay teens is the same color. As is yours. As is mine.

"WE MUST FUNNEL OUR SADNESS INTO AN OUTPOURING OF RIGHTEOUS OUTRAGE."

That quote is from an e-mail calling for vigils around the country to stand up and say NO MORE!

There are a number of candlelight vigils happening this Sunday Nov 22.

In Oakland

In Los Angeles

In New York City

In Chicago, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.

But even if you can't attend one, light a candle in your heart. Kindle the fire of your commitment to CHANGE our world. To make it a safer place to grow up, and BE yourself. To be Gay.

We need the anti-gay murders to STOP.

No more!

Shout it with me:

NO MORE!

Now let's go out and change this world of ours!

And remember,

Our Love is stronger than their hate.


My thanks to Mayra Lazara Dole who gave me the heads-up, and Andy Towle at Towleroad who got the word out about this.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Absolute Brightness

By James Lecesne

Phoebe's cousin Leonard is 13. And he's OUT. Gay. Flamboyant. Weird.

So when he comes to stay with them in small town New Jersey, 15 year old Phoebe's not thrilled.

And just Leonard has won most of the town over... he disappears.

Everyone else assumes he ran away. But Phoebe can't let go. She has to find out what happened to him, and why.


Cool fact about the author: James' short film "Trevor" won an Academy Award. He also co-founded the Trevor Helpline, a 24-hour suicide-prevention hotline for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and questioning teens.

There's a review of "Absolute Brightness" by Daisy Porter here. Add your review of this book in comments!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Twilight Gods


By Hayden Thorne

A Coming Out/Historical/Ghost story!

London. 1851.

Norris Woodhead is 15. His family is poor.

And then, one day, Norris notices shadows moving in the streets. They're moving independently of the people around them.

And he understands. They are ghosts.

But no one else can see them.

With the help of the strange widow who rents a room in his family's house, Norris comes to terms with the shadow's secrets. And his own.


Add your review of "The Twilight Gods" in comments!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Uncle Bobby's Wedding


By Sarah Brannen

Chloe's worried that when her Uncle Bobby gets married, she won't be his favorite person... er... guinea pig any more.

As she hangs out with Uncle Bobby and his boyfriend, the man... er... guy guinea pig he's going to marry, Chloe starts to think it might be cool to have TWO uncles that she gets to do special things with.

She even gets to be their flower girl!


"Uncle Bobby's Wedding" was the #8 most challenged book in the U.S.A. last year - and the entire reason it's been challenged so much is that the wedding is between two guys... er... guy guinea pigs.


That "homosexual" content that so many people protested and said makes it unsuited to the age group is the very reason why this book makes my list of "Picture Books I Wish Had Been Read To Me When I Was A Little Kid." It would have made me see the world more fairly. It would have expanded my view of what was possible. It would have made me feel so included, to see in a book what I dreamed: I could grow up and find love with another guy, and get married.

I'm so glad kids can grow up reading this today (at least where it hasn't been banned!)

Oh, and check out this interview with the author discussing her book being challenged, as part of my banned books week "So Your Book Has Been Challenged" Author Roundtable.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Power Of A Ten Year Old: A GSA Monday Inspiration

I think a lot of the frustrating part about being a kid, and about being a Teen, is the sense of being disempowered.

There are all these HUGE issues going on in the world around you, and yet, what can you really do to help solve them? Adults rarely listen to kids, and all too often dismiss an idea not based on its merits, but instead on whose idea it is.

A great example of this is the study that showed a birds eye view of how people in a museum didn't walk from painting to painting, instead they walked from label to label. As if it were more important for them to know WHO painted it rather than WHAT they painted. They wanted to see if it was a Van Gogh, or a famous artist's work, rather than simply looking at each painting and judging it for themselves.

And on top of that frustration of feeling not heard, if you're under 18 you can't vote yet. For many Teens, and I remember this feeling vividly, it can feel like all you can do is wait until you're older until you can join in the game of life.

But that's completely bull-you-know-what.

Let's say you're 10 years old. You're in 5th grade. And you think it's unfair that Gay people don't have full legal equality in the USA.

You can't vote for Gay equality.

You don't really have your own money to donate to the fight for Gay equality.

What can you do?

Well, look at what Will Phillips is doing.

Will is 10 years old. In 5th grade. And he's refusing to say the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag in school, as long as Gay people in the USA don't have legal equality. Here's what Will said in an interview:

"I really don't feel that there's currently liberty and justice for all."


People are talking about what Will is doing - and not just in West Fork, Arkansas. Will's stand has made people all over the country take another look at how our pledge's promise of

"...liberty and justice for all."


has not yet been delivered. That we GLBTQ Americans don't have liberty and justice for us.

Will's getting some flak for his stand, with students calling him names (including those that label him 'gay') but there are also a lot of people who are proud of him. Like me.

In fact, I'm completely inspired by him. And the power of a 10 year old.


I love this image, the American flag on the 41 cent stamp,
and how it says "USA First-Class."
Because when it comes to the Pledge of Allegiance,
when it comes to what our country stands for,
I don't think ANY American should be second-class.
I think we should ALL be First-Class Citizens.



Back in May I wrote about another kid who inspires me. Ethan is a 3rd grader who put together a rally of hundreds of people to support Gay marriage.

So Will took a personal stand.

Ethan organized a rally.

What are other ways kids and teens can harness their power to weigh in on the issues of our day? Leave your ideas and inspirations in comments!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Conservatives call for a Boycott of Scholastic's Book Fairs & Book Club Catalog because of the Lesbian Moms in "Luv Ya Bunches"

I'd say it was hard to believe, but then, it's really not.

As reported in School Library Journal, The conservative Illinois Family Institute is calling for a boycott of Scholastic's Book Fairs and Book Club Catalog because the company is including the elementary level book "Love Ya Bunches" by Lauren Myracle in its middle school book fairs and in its catalog.

Why? Because one of the book's four main characters has two moms.



The IFI is urging parents to call and email Scholastic to inform them

"that as long as they are carrying books that affirm homosexuality as moral, you will not purchase books from them."


And so Scholastic has what it initially feared. But from both sides.

We Liberals are upset with them that they tried to censor the book in the first place, and then tried to mollify us by saying they'd include the book with the lesbian moms intact in some of their fairs (only not for the target age range.)

Conservatives are upset that Scholastic is carrying the book anywhere with the two mom characters intact.

And here is where it gets to be such a wonderful opportunity for Scholastic to STAND UP FOR WHAT THEY BELIEVE, rather than simply being reactive to angry protests from one side or the other.

At the end of the day, it's all about character. And I don't mean the two mom characters. I mean the character of Scholastic as an organization.

What do they stand for?

If Scholastic supports freedom of expression, and author's rights, and the reality of hundreds of thousands of children being raised by Gay parents, they'll stand by the book - conservative boycott or not. I hope they do.

It will be interesting to see what Scholastic does next.


(And if I can suggest: an apology for asking for the de-gaying, as part of a statement of support for the Gay Parenting community, would be a wonderful first step.)


Thursday, November 12, 2009

The World's A Stage


By Gail Sterling

Orphaned young, William is taken in by a company of actors in Elizabethan London. Since women are forbidden on stage, William plays the girl parts.

But now he's growing out of being able to play those roles... and growing into something less professional (and more romantic) with his co-star, Jack.

But, just like Lysander says in Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream,"

"The course of true love never did run smooth"


Because to complicate matters with Jack, William has to deal with the return of a sister who needs him, and the mysterious (and intriguing) son of Lord Evering, the company's patron.


Thanks to Erastes for the recommendation! Add your review of "The World's A Stage" in comments!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Out of the Shadows

By Sue Hines

Australia. High School. Rowanna (Ro) is 16, and her Mom was a lesbian. After her Mom got killed by a drunk driver, Ro has had to live with her Mom's partner - who she's spent years hating.

Ro's best friend at school is Mark, and when the new girl, Jodie, comes into their lives, Mark completely falls for her.

Only... Jodie falls in love with Ro!


"Out of the Shadows" won the 1998 Australian Family Therapists' Award for Children's Literature.

Add your review in comments!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Today is National Mix It Up Day! So Mix It Up! In School. At Lunch. In What You Read...

So there's this cool project of the Teaching Tolerance organization called "Mix It Up," happening Today.

This video is from last year, but it's awesome:




The idea is that kids tend to sit with the same friends, in the same cliques, day after day. And that schools, and by extension, kid's lives, are "hotbeds of exclusion."

But Today, "Mix It Up at Lunch Day," kids are challenged to go outside of their usual patterns. To sit with different kids. To eat lunch at a different table. To go beyond their normal "group" of friends. Over 2,800 schools are participating with Mix-It-Up events and activities.

I think it's a great idea, and I'd like to suggest we take the challenge one step further. Let's mix up what we READ, too.

So many of the stories of our culture are majority stories - so I challenge you to choose a story about someone of a background you don't really know much about. Read a book you wouldn't normally choose.

If you're straight, read a great Gay book (there are lots to choose from, check out the lists in the left hand side-bar of this blog!)

If you're Caucasian, how about reading "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian?")

If you're thin, how about reading "Fat Kid Rules The World?"

If you're a girl, read a "boy" book.

If you're a boy, read a "girl" book.

Get the idea?

Let's all Mix It Up.

Because the more we know people we think of as "other," the more we can see our shared humanity. And the more we see how much we share, the better world we can all create.

It's National Mix It Up Day. How are YOU going to mix it up?

Namaste,
Lee

Monday, November 9, 2009

GSA Monday Topic: Mattel's newest doll is "Sugar Daddy Ken!"

So it turns out that Barbie, the iconic toy, has a new Palm Beach edition coming OUT (get it?) and among them is her friend Ken. Sugar Daddy Ken. Here he is, in his
"dashing jacquard-patterned jacket with a light pink polo shirt and crisp white pants."




Okay, technically, Mattel has called the new doll "Sugar's Daddy Ken" (Sugar being, I suppose, the dog.)

The doll is sold for $81.99 which means it's pretty much for collectors. And while I have to admit that it's pretty GAY GAY GAY, it does make me think.

Why not? Why shouldn't there be the "Gay" Ken doll? Just like kids have always been able to pretend that their leather jacketed, two-toned hair Ken and their muscle-bound G.I. Joe doll were having a Happily-Ever-After romance, I suppose kids could pretend that Sugar's Daddy Ken is... um... a meterosexual. A very swankily dressed, tanned straight guy, in love with Barbie. Not with her wardrobe. Or with her hair. With Barbie.

Yeah. Sure.

While it's fun to come up with ideas for what the next Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender and Queer Ken and Barbie dolls might be, (Dykes On Bikes Barbie, anyone?) I wonder if these kinds of iconic pieces of plastic reinforce stereotypes that we might be better off without.

At least Sugar's Daddy Ken doesn't have custom bendable wrists.

Does being "included" in this way - as an iconic child's toy that screams "GAY!" - move us forward, or backwards? What do you think?

Namaste,
Lee

Friday, November 6, 2009

Progress And Pressure: The Mechanics Of Winning Gay Rights. Lessons From Scholastic, Maine, And President Obama.

Three recent events have really highlighted for me the mechanics behind how things change. In particular, how we achieve Gay Equality and Rights.

Scholastic's De-Gaying.

Maine's De-Marriaging.

And President Obama's D...well, "D" for Disappointing.

Scholastic's De-Gaying



Scholastic was caught asking "Luv Ya Bunches" author Lauren Myracle to change the two mom parents of a character in the book to a one-mom-one-dad family, in order to have her book included in their book fairs. When the author refused (Go, Lauren!) they told her they wouldn't carry her book in their fairs. When School Library Journal reported on this episode of censorship on October 21, 2009, there was a lot of pressure and complaint letters and a petition with over 4,000 signatures in just a few days... in short, a heap of bad publicity - and Scholastic responded.

Scholastic told the world they won't judge a book based on character's sexuality. But to this date they have not admitted that they were in error in requesting the de-gaying of the book. Nor have they apologized.

Scholastic also said that they would carry the book in their middle school book fairs.

In response to this, many progressive voices inside and outside of the gay community declared victory. However, no one (except School Library Journal, thank you!) seemed to notice that "Luv Ya Bunches" is a book about 5th grade girls, and it should be carried in the elementary school book fairs.

And yet, the letter writing stopped. The petition stopped collecting signatures. The "storm" of bad publicity passed...

and progress on achieving our Gay equality stopped.

Moving forward, I'm sure Scholastic will be more careful with what changes they request of authors in order to accept their books into their school book fairs.

But I wish Scholastic had gone the full distance on this. Publicly apologize to the author and to our community. And carry the book with lesbian moms for 9-13 year olds with all the other books for 9-13 year olds - in their Elementary School Book Fairs.

I think the reason they didn't go the full distance was that the pressure stopped. The fire seemed mostly out, and it seems they're just trying to move on and hope everyone forgets it happened.

The problem is, there's unfinished business. And Scholastic needs to find the courage (or feel the pressure) to finish it.


Maine's De-Marriaging.



On Tuesday, Maine voters decided that their legislature was wrong in passing a law that allowed Gay men and Lesbians to marry. 53% of Maine voters decided that Gay people should not be allowed the right to civil marriage. It's the 31st time a state has voted that. Millions of dollars are being spent, on both sides, in this continual assertion - state by state - that somehow, in this one instance, the majority should decide on the rights of a minority.

But without the grass roots pressure, without the millions of dollars to get our voices heard, and without the untold number of people standing up and talking about what it means to be denied your rights because of who you love, we would have lost it... even worse.

Every time, with Prop 8 in California, and with Tuesday's vote in Maine, we seem to be closer and closer to a majority who "approve" of our rights (I can't even begin to convey how much that very premise rankles...), and it's not because we're sitting back passively. It's because we're showing courage. Those of us who are in Gay and Lesbian relationships are standing up and demanding our rights - and our friends and families and fair-minded allies are often standing and marching and canvassing with us.

Without that effort... it's clear that we'd have even less rights than we do today.


President Obama is Disappointing.


Looking through my files I found this image from the day after Obama was elected President. I remember I felt so much hope...


From having President Obama choose anti-Gay Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration to his allowing servicemember after servicemember to be discharged under Don't Ask Don't Tell when he has had the power to stop it from the minute he took the oath of office, our newest President has shown us that while he talks the talk (and the talk is amazing) when it comes to walking the walk, pressure (and political cover) seem necessary.

Happily, President Obama signed the Hate Crimes Law.

And yet, President Obama seems so interested in building consensus for everything he does that it seems to preclude him from acting without it. We see that plainly in the Health Care reform (I was going to write "process" but I'm going to try to be more accurate and call it a "mess.") Democrats are falling all over themselves to compromise away everything that would truly reform the system - like a single payer option - all to appease the Republican minority who won't vote for it anyway.

This systemic lack of LEADERSHIP by our President and by the Democrats who are - at least by the numbers - in charge of both the House and Senate, leaves the Gay community and our allies frustrated that our elected leaders are not standing up for us. That President Obama is not being PROACTIVE in making the changes he promised to make. Where's the courage of his convictions?

Defense Of Marriage Act? Still the law of the land. My legal California marriage isn't recognized by the federal government.

Don't Ask Don't Tell? Still the law of the land. It basically says that you can be gay and in the military, but you have to lie about it. But of course, no one wants someone who they have to trust with their life to lie to them. Honor and all that. So these soldiers are honest. And then they get fired. At the rate of Two PER DAY! President Obama has let hundreds of valiant Americans be FIRED for being honest about who they love. That's shameful, and so disappointing.

"Every civil rights battle in the past 60 years has been fueled by strong presidential leadership," said former U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant David Hall, one of the Cook v. Gates plaintiffs seeking reinstatement. "And that same leadership is also needed now to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly. It's time the President begins fulfilling his campaign promise by publicly endorsing HR 1283 and working with Congress to find the votes."

The Employment Non Discrimination Act? Still NOT the law of the land. Yesterday they started discussing it (hearings, again) in Congress. Until it passes,

In 29 states, it's legal to fire someone because they're lesbian, gay, or bisexual; in 38 states, it's legal to fire someone for being transgender.



You can have marches on Washington, but marching on a non-business day where pretty much anyone can ignore the march if they want to doesn't really apply PRESSURE for change. And the latest gay rights march on Washington did not create change.

So where does Progress, especially in moving Gay rights forward, come from?

In the case of Scholastic, it was Pressure from bad publicity (and being shamed.)

In the case of Maine, even though we lost, we were close because of Courage. People coming out - not being ashamed - and sharing their stories... but maybe not enough of us.

In the case of President Obama, it seems he'll act when there's a consensus-delivered bill on his desk... but how can we get him to be the "fierce advocate" for Gay rights he promised us he'd be?

In case after case, it all seems to boil down to this. If we want people, or companies, or governments to change, we need them to either:

Find the courage. Or feel the Pressure.

I don't have all the answers.

But I think the questions are good ones to examine.

How do we encourage courage?
What forms of pressure actually result in progress?
Where's the line between pressure that works and pressure that alienates?


It's a discussion we really need to have, as individuals, and as a community.

What do you think?


Namaste,
Lee

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Boy In The Dress


By David Walliams

Dennis is 12.

He's a star soccer player.

Oh, and he likes wearing dresses.

One day, he wears a dress to school...


This book has been nominated for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, which honors the funniest books for children.

Add your review of "The Boy In the Dress" in comments!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Gay Fantasy Bookshelf (Teen Sci Fi and Fantasy Books with GLBTQ Characters and Themes!)


These awesome symbols actually stand for, from top to bottom: Gay Humans, Gay Aliens, and Gay Robots. It's from the wikipedia page on Gay speculative fiction here.

Fantasy is arguably my favorite genre (see my article here in Crossed Genres Magazine for why) and I've long wished that there were stories I could have read when I was a Gay Teen that included a reflection of me.

One of things I love best about doing this blog is that I've discovered so many Teen books with GLBTQ characters and themes - and I'm always a little extra excited when I get to share the Gay Sci Fi and Fantasy ones with you.

But with over 400 books on this blog, it can be hard to find the ones that you absolutely MUST read ASAP! So, taking a page from bookstores and libraries who sometimes re-organize their titles to showcase a particular collection, here's a fun take on our GLBTQ Teen Book Collection:

THE GAY FANTASY BOOKSHELF!

Each book listed links to its original post with synopsis and reader reviews...

Superheroes! (Hero, Masks: Rise of Heroes, Masks: Evolution, Masks: Ordinary Champions, Curse of Arachnaman, Ultimate X-Men, So Super Duper, Gotham Central Vol. 2 - Batman )

Ghosts and Witches! (Banshee, Vintage, Behind You, The Skull of Truth, Tripping To Somewhere)

Magical Realism! (Boy Meets Boy, Cycler, Fly On The Wall: How One Girl Saw Everything, Every Day)

High Fantasy! (The Emperor's Library: The Flight From Kar, Tritargon, The Game, Kirith Kirin)

Fantasy Worlds of Magic & Telepaths & Mages! (Heart Sense, Heart Song, Magic's Pawn, Magic's Promise, Magic's Price, The Tenth Man, The Will of the Empress,
The Obsidian Man, The Legend of Becka Cooper Series (Terrier, Bloodhound and Mastiff, The Department of Magic series)

Swords and Sorcery! (The Legend of Bold Riley)

Faerie! (Tithe, Ironside, Valiant, Troll or Derby )

Dragons! (Eon: Dragoneye Reborn)

Werewolves! (The Frenzy - though the gay character isn't the werewolf, it's his best friend) and Hungry Ghost , Lunatic Fringe (college age lesbian werewolves) and Hungry Ghost (Lunatic Fringe's sequel) and Awakened )

Vampires! (Unnatural: An Archangel Academy Novel, Unwelcome - #2 in the series, and Unafraid #3)

Werewolves and Vampires! (Twice Bitten)

Werewolves and Vampires and Faeries and more... (The Mortal Instruments Series, City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, City of Fallen Angels...)

More Paranormal Horror (Helleville, The Coldest Girl In Coldtown)

Dystopias! (A Strong and Sudden Thaw, Nightsiders (short stories), The Chaos, Obscura Burning, Blue Magic, OUT, The Culling, Diverse Energies (Anthology), The Culling , The Colony: Book 1: Rebellion and Book 2: Revolution, Superior, The Summer Prince, Replica)

Time Traveling To Save Earth From Apocalypse (The End)

Time Traveling and Psychics and Mayan Curses (Cursebusters!)

Time Traveling To The Past (Radiant Days)

All-Girl Worlds with Pixies, Spacecraft and Swashbuckling Sci-Fi (Goldenhead: Or Bodies Or Avatars, The Flight of the Silver Vixen)

Fairy Tales, Myths and Mythology Re-told (Ash, Huntress, The Dark Wife, In Stone: A Grotesque Faerie Tale, The Seventh Pleiade,

Historical Romance (Renfred's Masquerade, Rose and Spindle )

Urban Fantasy (Above)

Other Fantasy (Love in the Time of Global Warming, Pantomime, Shadowplay)

Historical Supernatural (Tiger Lily, Night Creatures)

Sci Fi (Sunblood, Debris Dreams, Awakening (with multiple main characters of color!) and Artifice

Fantasy Adventure with Dæmons, Armored Talking Bears and Gay Angels (His Dark Materials: Northern Lights (a.k.a. The Golden Compass), The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass)

A re-imagining (and even Gayer) Wizard of Oz, Over The Rainbow

Gods and Goddesses of Olympus (and their half-human kids!) House of Hades (part of Rick Riordan's NYTimes Bestselling series)

If I missed any you know of, make sure to let me know in comments... and Happy Reading!

***List last updated October 2014***

Namaste,
Lee

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Gay Science Fiction & Fantasy Magazine... "Crossed Genres: Issue 12"

Here's the amazing cover art image for the magazine
by Julie Dillon!


This just-released issue #12 of "Crossed Genres" has ten short Sci Fi and Fantasy stories, each featuring GLBTQ characters and themes. The issue also includes two articles, one of them by ME!



So go on, click on by. And check it out.

Happy reading!

Namaste,
Lee

Monday, November 2, 2009

GSA Monday Topic: Can Hate Thrive In The Light, Or Does It Need To Be Secret? Should the names of Anti-Gay-Marriage Petitioners & Donors be Private?

So there's this controversy about whether signing a petition that seeks to take away rights for Gay people should be a private act, or if the names of everyone that signed should be known to all.

The LA Times has a good article about this, explaining that:

The Supreme Court voted last week to block release of the names of more than 138,000 people in Washington state who signed petitions seeking to repeal a same-sex domestic partner law in a ballot scheduled for Nov. 3.


But there's a group called Know Thy Neighbor and their idea is that by publishing the names of voters who signed petitions against gay rights in Arkansas, Florida, Massachusetts, and Oregon,

Anti-gay marriage activists and supporters lost their veil of anonymity. KnowThyNeighbor.org believes that citizens who sponsor an amendment to take people's rights should never be allowed to do so under the cover of darkness.



And I think they have a point. The KKK was able to survive for so long in some part due to the anonymity of the participants.


If their actual faces had been photographed, and their wives and children could see them proudly standing by the victims they had just lynched, would they have acted with such impunity? I don't think so.

And perhaps, people assuming that their signature on a ballot, their donation to a cause they believe in, is private is a systemic way of allowing people to be their worst selves. If the whole thing was more transparent, would people hesitate before trying to take away other's rights?

And yet, we cherish the privacy of our votes in the voting booth. The privacy of the secret ballot is a cornerstone of our democracy.

And what about the L.A. El Coyote restaurant manager and daughter of the owner who gave $100.- of her personal money to fight gay marriage in California and then had her restaurant, usually filled with gay customers, boycotted? Would she have had the $100.- to donate if not for the gay customers in the first place? Should they have the right to know about her donation? What about the gay employees of the restaurant? Do they have a right to know about their boss' anti-gay donation? Is it fair to the employees that the restaurant's business has suffered since the disclosure?

How can we, as a community, reconcile our desire to expose hate to the light to eliminate it, and still respect the privacy of the individual?

Talk about it with your Gay Straight Alliance Club. Where do you draw the line?

Of course, you're welcome to join in the discussion here at our virtual GSA, in comments.