Friday, December 20, 2013

And That's 2013! Some Great Posts To Catch Up On While I'm Re-Charging For 2014

I've been trying to get a good shot of a LGBTQ Pride flag flapping in the breeze for a long time now, and 2013 was the year I got this one - and I'm pretty happy with it!

What a year!

Looking back at over 250 posts here on this blog, there's a lot to dive back into. Here are some of my favorites,

A Year To Use Our Power For Good - Josh and Brent from The Amazing Race do something Amazing For a Gay Teen

Obama's inauguration speech - Gay people are included, but what about transgender people?

The Point Foundation offers Scholarships and mentors for LGBTQ students!

16-Year-old Ashley Makes Everyone In Her School feel Beautiful for a Day

How History Gets Re-Written: The USA's Civil War

Noah, a 15-year-old, his two moms, and the spoken word poem that blew me away

"I Hugged a man in his underwear" - a religious man attends Gay Pride to apologize

Not all Trans people feel "trapped" in the wrong body

A High School's "Cutest Couple" is two guys!

Our Intern Aaron's great Manga reviews!

Jack Adraka is a 16 year old openly gay scientist

Laurent Linn gives us the scoop on Patricia Polacco's 25th Anniversary Edition of "The Keeping Quilt"

My highlights from President Obama's speech on the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington

Debunking "Before" and "After" Transformation Photos

Totally Biased - The God Debate

Empowering Diversity is Universal

Sissy Goodwin Stands Out, And Stands Up, in Wyoming

Asexual Awareness Week

Episode 1: The YA Explosion and Episode 2: Creepy, Wacky... and True of the public radio show I've been working on (as producer, writer and on-air contributor), KID LIT With Lisa Loeb!

The Top 7 Lessons I Learned about blogging Kid's and Teen Literature at #KidLitCon13

My Thanksgiving Resolution

Toy Shopping, Gender-Neutral Style

You can watch short films I loved (like The Language of Love) and music videos I wanted to sing along to (like All American Boy) and performances that were awesome (like this drag performance of Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham)

And of course you can check out the over 120 new-to-this-blog books with LGBTQ teen characters and themes (check out the lists in the left hand column!)

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year 2014! 

I'll see you back here with new posts on Monday, January 6, 2014.

Namaste (the light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in every one of you),

Thursday, December 19, 2013

My Brother's Name - A Just-Out-Of-High-School Adventure Into Schizophrenia, Identity and Gender

My Brother's Name by Laura Krughoff

Jane Fields has idolized her older brother, John, since they were children. She follows in his footsteps as a drummer, and when he suffers a psychotic break as a young man, she follows him into the bewildering landscape of mental illness.

Surrendering to John’s schizophrenic and elliptical logic, Jane assumes her older brother’s identity, and begins to make a life for herself as a young man named John. Every day, Jane interacts with the world as John, and then comes home to tell her brother the stories of his own life, under the naïve and perhaps mad hope that these stories will help John remember and return to the self he lost. But in the act of being John, Jane runs the risk of becoming him. Jane soon identifies more strongly with the man she’s become than the overshadowed woman she once was. When John begins to demand that Jane give up certain aspects of the life she’s built under her assumed identity, particularly a romance, Jane’s double life becomes a house of cards that threatens to collapse. Jane and John are forced to confront the limits of their ability to control each other, and the world around them, through the stories they tell—but just how deep into mental illness can Jane slide?

Add your review of "My Brother's Name" in comments!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Free Reads: Two Short Stories About College Guys Falling For Other Guys

Second Shot  by Andrew Gordon

What do you do when you are deep in the closet but you meet the man of your dreams? Do you take the chance and risk the consequences?  Jason (a closeted soccer player) has to figure it out when he meets Peter, an out martial arts champion.


Bettor To Lose by Andrew Gordon

Jack's luck with dating hasn't been the best. When a fraternity brother suggests he can't get a date, Jack agrees to a bet: Jack brings a date to the Fraternity Formal or he loses. Now all he needs is a date. 

The stories are posted by the author and available for free at the site (just click on the titles above.)  Add your review of "Second Shot" and/or "Bettor To Lose" in comments.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tyler Buckspan - A Gay Teen in 1960s Florida Tries to Figure out If the Guy He's Crushing On Is Clairvoyant Or A Con Aritst

Tyler Buckspan by Jere Fishback

Fifteen-year-old Tyler Buckspan lives with his mom and grandmother in 1960s Cassadaga, a Florida community where spiritual “mediums” ply their trade. The mediums--Tyler’s grandmother among them--read palms and tarot cards, conduct seances and speak with the dead. Tyler’s a loner, a bookish boy with few interests, until his half-brother Devin, nineteen and a convicted arsonist, comes to live in Tyler’s home.

For years, Tyler has ignored his attraction to other boys. But with Devin in the house, Tyler can't deny his urges any longer. He falls hopelessly in love with his miscreant half-brother, and with the sport of basketball, once Devin teaches Tyler the finer points of the game. In a time when love between men was forbidden, even criminalized, can Tyler find the love he needs from another boy? And is Devin a person to be trusted? Is he truly clairvoyant, or simply a con artist playing Tyler and others for fools? What does Devin really know about a local murder? And can Tyler trust his own psychic twinges?

Add your review of "Tyler Buckspan" in comments!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Tom Daley, British Olympic Diver, Comes Out As Bisexual

Tom's online coming out video is worth watching!

Tom Daley won a bronze medal for the UK in the Olympic games in London in 2012. You can read more about him coming out here.

It's also interesting that he mentions he can count on one hand the number of people he'd told before making this video. In it's first day online (Dec 2, 2013) Tom's coming out video had well over 1.25 million views! (And as of today it's been seen over 10 million times!)

Hurray for Tom, and hurray for a world where one more athlete is authentic, making it that much easier for others to be themselves, too!


ps - my thanks to blog reader and author Hayden Thorne for the heads-up on Tom's story.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Special Saturday Post: Toy Shopping, Gender-Neutral Style

I like this story!

The Swedish toy company Top-Toy (a licensee of the Toys “R” Us brand) was criticized in the past by the Swedish advertising regulatory agency "for depicting stereotypical scenes of girls with dollhouses and boys with weapons" - so this year the company's holiday catalog featured a different approach:

boys with beauty products, girls with guns...

boys and girls doing housework, and boys with fluffy pets...

I do notice that the boy's vacuum is blue and the girl's is pink above, but I'm happy to see a toy company making an effort to be more equitable in terms of which toys they're modeling is okay for which kids to play with.

It's a good season to toss gender stereotype considerations out the window and consider the personality of the giftee, instead.

Happy Holidays, Indeed!


My thanks to Karol for the heads-up on this!

Friday, December 13, 2013

India Goes Backwards & Makes It A Crime To Be Gay As Their Supreme Court Restores an 1861 Anti-Gay Law

As reported in the NY Times, this Wednesday India stepped back in time. WAY back, in reinstating the country's anti-gay law.

Anjali Gopalan, founder of a charity that sued to overturn the 1861 law, said she was shocked by the ruling.

“This is taking many, many steps back,” Ms. Gopalan said. “The Supreme Court has not just let down the L.G.B.T. community, but the Constitution of India.”

You can protest this criminalization of the LGBTQ community in India by adding your name to the petition here at All Out. It reads:

"We stand together in strength and hope, people from every nation, with India’s lesbian, gay, bi and trans community. In the end, love always wins."
Fight on to make our world a better place for us all,

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Center Of Everything - A Middle Grade Story of A Girl Dealing With Loss, Love and the Power of Friendship

The Center Of Everything by Linda Urban

For Ruby Pepperdine, the “center of everything” is on the rooftop of Pepperdine Motors in her donut-obsessed town of Bunning, New Hampshire, stargazing from the circle of her grandmother Gigi’s hug. That’s how everything is supposed to be—until her grandmother dies, Ruby messes up and things spin out of control. But she has one last hope. It all depends on what happens on Bunning Day, when the entire town will hear Ruby read her winning essay. And it depends on her twelfth birthday wish—unless she messes that up too. Can Ruby’s wish set everything straight in her topsy-turvy world?

What's LGBTQ about it? Ruby’s best friend Lucy has two dads. But it's not really a plot point, it just is.

My thanks to Yapha for the heads-up on this book including two dads!  Add your review of "The Center of Everything" in comments!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Gravity Between Us - A New Adult Lesbian Romance

The Gravity Between Us by Kristen Zimmer

At 19, Kendall Bettencourt is Hollywood’s hottest young starlet, with the world at her feet – but behind the glamour and designer dresses is a girl who longs for normal.

Payton Taylor is Kendall’s best friend since childhood, and the one person who reminds her of who she really is – her refuge from the craziness of celebrity life.

With her career taking off, Kendall moves Payton to LA to help keep her sane. But Payton is hiding a secret that could make everything ten times worse. Because to her, Kendall is more than a best friend – she is the only girl that she has ever loved.

Just as they need each other more than ever, they’ll have to answer the question of where friendship stops and love begins? And find out whether the feelings they have can survive the mounting pressure of fame…

Add your review of "The Gravity Between Us" in comments!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Spirit Of Detroit - A College-Age sequel to "Drama Queers"

The Spirit of Detroit by Frank Anthony Polito

September 1992. Madonna’s SEX is poised to hit bookstore shelves, The Crying Game makes its cinematic debut in limited release, and George H.W. Bush will soon square off against William Jefferson Clinton in the battle to be elected leader of the Free World. After abandoning his dreams of becoming a famous actor, Bradley Dayton returns to his roots and enrolls as a Theatre major at Wayne State University in Detroit — a town known for its rich cultural history, as well as its gritty urban decay. But a new cast of characters begins to interfere with his education as these friends (and lovers) induct Bradley into their dark world of backstage drama. By semester’s end, he will have spent many a wild and sleepless Motor City night…and found his fair share of thrills along the way.

"The Spirit of Detroit" is the follow up to Frank’s Lambda award-winning Drama Queers, and was published by the author. Add your review of the book in comments!

Monday, December 9, 2013

LGBT Science - Exploring the origins of sexual orientation and gender identity

Check out this cool new resource, LGBT Science, to stand up to anti-lgbtq arguments.

"If you hear someone say that homosexuality is unnatural, you can be pretty sure you are not listening to a scientist."
- Dr. Marc Breedlove, Michigan State University, Rosenberg Professor of Neuroscience

Here's a video from Wayne Besen, executive director of Truth Wins Out, explaining the LGBT Science project's mission:

Friday, December 6, 2013

The LGBTQ Q&A is Back At #NY14SCBWI

One of my favorite things about the SCBWI Winter Conference in New York City is hosting the LGBTQ Q&A session.  This time round it will be held on Saturday February 22, 2014 directly after the gala, from 8-9pm.

It's always a great discussion, with special guests from our conference faculty who weigh in with their answers to all your questions about including lesbian, gay, bi, trans, intersex, asexual and queer characters and themes in books for children and teens.

It's a wonderful opportunity to network with other writers and illustrators, meet professionals who have published LGBTQ-inclusive works, and help make the world of children's and teen literature -- and the world of the books you create -- that much more diverse.

Hope to see you there!

Conference details and registration information are here.


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Blue Is The Warmest Color - A Teen Lesbian Graphic Novel About Growing Up, Falling In Love, and Coming Out

Blue Is The Warmest Color by Julie Maroh

Clementine is a junior in high school who seems average enough: she has friends, family, and the romantic attention of the boys in her school. When her openly gay best friend takes her out on the town, she wanders into a lesbian bar where she encounters Emma: a punkish, confident girl with blue hair. Their attraction is instant and electric, and Clementine find herself in a relationship that will test her friends, parents, and her own ideas about herself and her identity.
Here's one of the interior pages:

Originally published in French as Le bleu est une couleur chaude, the live-action French film version of "Blue is the Warmest Color" took the 2013 Cannes film festival by storm, earning rave reviews and winning the prestigious Palme d'Or. This English version is published by Arsenal Pulp Press.

Add your review of "Blue Is The Warmest Color" in comments!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Colony: Book 1: Rebellion & Book 2: Revolution - A Dystopian Teen Gay Romance

The Colony: Book 1: Rebellion by J. Tomas

Sixteen year old Aine lives in the Colony, and his whole life was decided before he was born. In two years he will marry the girl next door, Brin, who was assigned as his Other at birth. Then he will be assigned to a position in the Colony's workforce that best suits his talents. Each night he takes four pills, like everyone else in the Colony, and he knows the pills keep them safe and their world in order.

Everything is fine. Perfect, in fact. Until Aine accidentally drops one of his pills.

Terrified, he tries to hide the mistake, but when he dreams for the first time in his life, he discovers all he's been missing. What scares him more than not taking the pill, though, is how alive his dreams make him feel. Because it isn't Brin he dreams of but his best friend Kyer.

Another boy.

Suddenly Aine's world turns upside down, and he doesn't know what to think or who to trust. All he knows for sure is he's falling in love with Kyer, which is forbidden by the Colony's Code, and he will do anything to protect their budding relationship.

Even if it means defying the Overseer and leaving the Colony behind.

The Colony: Book 2: Revolution

The only way sixteen-year-old Aine and his true Other Kyer can be together is to escape the Colony with its Code, its pills, and its constant monitoring. Breaking out of the Colony was hard enough, but living outside of its protective walls proves to be even harder.

The boys have been raised to believe all life outside the Colony was destroyed by the last war. However, Aine soon discovers this is a lie. On their first day of freedom, they meet Sinda, a girl their own age who has grown up in the harsh new world outside the Colony. In return for some food, she agrees to help them out and leads them underground, where people must live to avoid predators, acid rain, and disease.

It doesn’t take long for Aine to tire of living hand to mouth. He misses the comforts of his bed, his friends, and his family. Why should he be the one to run away? He and the boy he loves have done nothing wrong.

Aine is destined to be the next Overseer, so why can’t he return to the Colony and start a revolution to change the way things are run? Why can’t people love who they want to, rather than who they’re told to? Why can’t they think for themselves, and live as they want?

When he receives a message from Brin that she, too, has stopped taking her pills, Aine realizes he isn’t the only one unhappy with the Code. If he and Kyer return, maybe they can enlist their friends’ help to bring about some much-needed changes.

But breaking back in proves even harder than breaking out. They must dodge the Officers, evade the Monitors, and convince a drug-controlled Colony it deserves better. But will anyone listen to them? Or will they be caught and medicated back into compliance?

Add your reviews of The Colony, Book 1 and/or 2 in comments!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Sock It To Me, Santa! - A Gay Teen Short Story For The Holidays!

Sock It To Me, Santa! by Madison Parker

Ryan is assigned to Jamie Peterson for his class's secret gift exchange. If word gets out that he has to make a handcrafted gift for flamboyant and openly gay Jamie, Ryan will be the laughing stock of the school. It's a good thing no self-respecting boy would be caught dead in a craft store, because otherwise he'd be at risk of being spotted when his mom drags him to her weekly craft workshops. He hopes Jamie will appreciate all the trouble he's going to for this assignment. Finding the perfect gift is gonna be tricky. Jamie deserves something good, though, after all the crap he has to put up with at school. At least, Ryan tells himself that's the reason he's putting so much thought into the gift. It couldn't be that he has feelings for Jamie, could it?

This story is published by the author.  Add your review of "Sock It To Me, Santa!" in comments!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Not All Like That - Christians Proclaim Their Belief in Full LGBTQ Equality

Much attention is given to the religious people who decry us and who fight our equality. It's good to witness the movement of religious LGBTQ Allies stand up and make their voices heard as well.

For those within the Christian community and for those outside it, Not All Like That, inspired by the It Gets Better Project, is a welcome platform for Christians to embrace LGBTQ people and our rights.

Check it out.