Sunday, September 30, 2007

Contact Me

So you wanna tell me something that's off-topic? You need to get in touch? You don't necessarily want everyone else to read it?

Well welcome to our private way of chatting.

Go ahead, post a comment here, and I'm the only one who'll see it.

Make sure to include your e-mail address if you'd like a response.

You can also send me an email directly at leewind (at) roadrunner (dot) com. Just replace the (at) with an "@" and the (dot) with a "." and push it all together.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Thanks, and Namaste!


Friday, September 28, 2007

Keeping You A Secret

By Julie Anne Peters

What happens when you fall in love with another girl?

Holland falls for Cece - an out and proud lesbian - and she awakens to her sexuality, to love, and to the reality of keeping it all secret.

Add your review of this book in "comments!"

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Parsing the "Q"

Hi Everyone!

Today's musing is about the "Q" in GLBTQ. Let's dive in.

"Q" is for Questioning. Good. It's important to include those in the process of figuring it out. For some of us, that's a long journey, and to be included in the community, and in the literature, is welcoming and reassuring in a world that can sometime seem to demand labeling you instantly and keeping you there forever.

"Q" is for Queer. Okay, but "Queer" has a lot of different meanings!

Gosh, I really wanted to avoid doing this (it's such a cliche, going for the 'definition') but for the sake of this discussion, I'm going to swallow my pride and desire to be always scintillatingly original and include the dictionary "usage note" from my imac's desktop dictionary (hey, at least it's not the definition - I trust you can all look that up on your own!) Anyway, I thought this would serve well as a starting point:

Usage Note: queer

The word queer was first used to mean 'homosexual' in the early 20th century: it was originally, and often still is, a deliberately offensive and aggressive term when used by heterosexual people. In recent years, however, many gay people have taken the word queer and deliberately used it in place of gay or homosexual in an attempt, by using the word positively, to deprive it of its negative power. The use of queer is now well established and widely used among gay people (especially as an adjective or noun modifier, as in: queer rights / queer theory) and at present exists, alongside the other, deliberately offensive, use. (This use is similar to the way in which a racial epithet may be used within a racial group but not by outsiders.)
So what does Queer mean?

"Q" for Queer is the catch-all term for everyone who is part of the GLBT community. This used to be the word "gay" but many lesbians felt excluded by how to them, "gay" stood for "gay men." Thus, over time, organization names changed to include "Lesbian", and later "Bisexual" and later still, "Transgender." So now there's a whole smorgasbord of titles, like the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center (which, funny enough, is at and the "San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community Center" (at If you're not intimidated by acronyms, you end up with the clunky "GLBTQ" moniker, which feels inclusive, but doesn't exactly trip over your tongue easily. In fact, the amazing group of YA writers and kid lit professionals that I'm delighted to be part of, chatting in a listserve on yahoo, goes by "GLBTQYAwriters" which is quite an alphabet soup!

Now, what about schoolyard taunts? Is "Queer" the GLBT community's equivalent of the "N" word for the African American Community? Is it a word that only those of us "inside" the community can use, and that is still an insult if spoken by someone "outside"? Even if they're earnestly joining the discussion from an allied perspective? I would say that we've really changed the tone and meaning of "queer," largely due to groups like ACT UP, and chants like "We're Here! We're Queer! Get Used To It!" (Yup, you guessed it - that's what I'm riffing on for the title of this blog!)

While someone being nasty might still use the word "queer" in a derogatory way, I think it's been co-opted to the point that for an out and comfortable member of the GLBT community, the answer might be, "Yes I am!" Which brings me to Gary Coleman. Which is, completely oddly, a reference to "Avenue Q," the broadway musical.

Okay, so in "Avenue Q" (a show about recent college graduates trying to figure out life, told in a Sesame Street way with puppets and humans living together in a crappy area of New York City) there's a song sung by the best puppet friend of a closeted (gay) puppet. One part of the lyric goes like this:

If you were queer.
I'd still be here.
Year after year.
Because you're dear to me.
The music and lyrics are by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx.

Okay, this is a show that won the Tony Award for Best New Musical. (Oh, and if puppet on puppet sex doesn't freak you out, it's a hoot!)

Now, Avenue Q is by no means a "family" musical. Let me digress to how the show's creators explain who Avenue Q is appropriate for:

Adults love AVENUE Q, but they seem a little, er, fuzzy on whether it's appropriate for kids. We'll try to clear that up. AVENUE Q is great for teenagers because it's about real life. It may not be appropriate for young children because AVENUE Q addresses issues like sex, drinking, and surfing the web for porn. It's hard to say what exact age is right to see AVENUE Q - parents should use their discretion based on the maturity level of their children. But we promise you this - if you DO bring your teenagers to AVENUE Q, they'll think you're really cool.

"Avenue Q" is a fascinating example of how the word "Queer" as a catch-all has come such a long way.

"Q" for Queer is for more confrontational, gender-challenging identities and presentations, such as Drag Queens, "gender illusionists" or our flashy sisters - think the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Now the Sisters may be men who identify as gay, but their role as heavily maquillaged roller-skating habit-wearing nuns has very little to do with being a guy physically and emotionally attracted to other men. I think it's more about shock value, about making people stop and think, about taking religious iconography and turning it around so we think of what it means to be holy - not what it looks like, but what are the actions that make someone on a journey to help others? (And they do help others! Check out The Sisters Of Perpetual Indulgence here.) Okay, and they look fabulous, to boot. But what they're doing isn't about being men attracted to other men. It's very "Queer!"

What's wrong with just using the term "homosexual?" Well, think about it. It's all about the 'sex' then, isn't it? (amazingly enough, the failure of the word "homosexual" was explained to me by a wonderful straight woman I met years ago, the mother of a gay son, who was deeply involved with PFLAG (Parents, Familes and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) As she put it, once you've said the word "sex," even in the middle of a word, no one's listening anymore.

Look, we really don't want to think about what someone else does in bed, unless it's someone we're attracted to, right? (Does anyone want to think about their grandparents being sexual beings? Hell no!) Well, shouldn't we be able to have a discussion about members of this community without it being solely about sex?

And are "heteroSEXuals" (see? you've stopped listening and are thinking about SEX!) completely defined by their sexual attraction to members of the opposite sex? What about the whole universe of what makes up a person? What about romance? emotions? spirit? All those millions of other things that make us each unique and full of light?

That's why "homosexual" as a term doesn't work in a broader sense. So we're back to Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender. Or Queer.


Hmmm. One little letter packs a wallop! (we should have known from it's high "10" point count in Scrabble, huh?)

Is "Q" something we should keep solely for "Questioning?" Should the word "Queer" be used as a catch-all instead of GLBTQuestioning? Should "Queer" be saved for other expressions of gender and sexual non-conformity besides emotional and physical attraction? Should the word "Queer" be used at all, given it's hate-filled origins? Should we re-consider the word "homosexual?" What about other words? Uranians, from the Victorian Era? (Though I think that sounds like we're from the planet Uranus, which is a bit too much of a set up for being mocked - I remember High School, thank you.) Do we need a brand-new term, without so much baggage? (Though in the field of made-up terms, Esperanto didn't do so well, did it? For an upbeat take on the 'international auxillary language', Esperanto, click here)

"Q" is for Questioning.
"Q" is for Queer.
And "Queer" is for...

Let me know what YOU think in "comments," and we'll have a dialog.



Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Between Mom and Jo

By Julie Anne Peters

Nick has two Moms. That makes him different than most everyone else at school.

And now his parents are splitting up.

Suddenly he has the same problem faced by lots of other teenagers:
How are you supposed to choose between them?

Here's another cool cover for "Between Mom and Jo"

Add your review of this book in "comments!"

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


By Julie Anne Peters

Regan's brother Liam is actually a girl, inside.

Regan's known this and kept the secret, inside.

But now Liam's transitioning outside -- becoming "Luna."

One of the few YA novels with a Transgender (Male-To-Female) character!

"Luna" has also won a ton of awards, including being a 2004 National Book Award Finalist in Young People's Literature and a 2005 Stonewall Honor Book! Check out Julie Anne Peter's website for the complete list of accolades...

Add your review of this book in "comments!"

Monday, September 24, 2007

Rumi birthday countdown 2

Hi Everyone!

Okay, the challenge with choosing just one poem by Rumi is that there are so many that resonate and are worthy of sharing. Hopefully, these posts will give you a taste of the great ecstatic poet, and you'll do some literary archeology on your own!

For Today's Bitchin' Queer Poem, I'm going to give you three poems of the homoerotic and fantastic ecstatic poet who wrote of passion, God, and love with such clarity and originality that his words still speak to us, nearly 800 years later!
Joseph is most beautiful when he's completely naked,
but his shirt gives you an idea,
as the body lets you glimpse the glitter
on the water of the soul.
That's a fragment of a larger poem, from pg. 94 of "The Essential Rumi" translated by Coleman Barks with John Moyne.

And here's a short complete poem:

Are you jealous of the ocean's generosity?
Why would you refuse to give
this joy to anyone?

Fish don't hold the sacred liquid in cups!
They swim the huge fluid freedom.
That's from pg. 123.

Okay, just one more full poem (because I'm getting carried away, and could spend hours going through just this one book...)

If anyone asks you
how the perfect satisfaction
of all our sexual wanting
will look, lift your face
and say,
Like this.

When someone mentions the gracefulness
of the nightsky, climb up on the roof
and dance and say,
Like this?

If anyone wants to know what "spirit" is,
or what "God's fragrance" means,
lean your head toward him or her,
Keep your face there close.
Like this.

When someone quotes the old poetic image
about clouds gradually uncovering the moon,
slowly loosen knot by knot the strings
of your robe.
Like this?

If anyone wonders how Jesus raised the dead,
don't try to explain the miracle.
Kiss me on the lips.
Like this. Like this.

When someone asks what it means
to "die for love," point

If someone asks how tall I am, frown
and measure with your fingers the space
between the creases on your forehead.
This tall.

The soul sometimes leaves the body, then returns.
When someone doesn't believe that,
walk back into my house.
Like this.

When lovers moan,
they're telling our story.
Like this.

I am a sky where spirits live.
Stare into this deepening blue
while the breeze says a secret.
Like this.

When someone asks what there is to do,
light the candle in his hand.
Like this.

How did Joseph's scent come to Jacob?

How did Jacob's sight return?

A little wind cleans the eyes.
Like this.

When Shams comes back from Tabriz,
he'll put just his head around the edge
of the door to surprise us.
Like this.

That's from pages 135 - 137 of the same book, "The Essential Rumi" translated by Coleman Barks with John Moyne.

Honestly, I find Rumi's poems amazing. I hope they resonate within you, too.

Like this.



Friday, September 21, 2007


by C. G. Watson

For everyone who's ever wondered why school shootings happen!

Six teens are trapped in the school store and it's one of their friends out there shooting and killing people and you don't know who - it could be ANY of them. First you think it's the Prep, then the Jock, then the Drama Queen, then no, it's the Gay kid who can't take it anymore, then no - it's the Freak guy, no - it has to be the Techie! Aarrrhhh!

With horrible real-life events like the Columbine and Virgina Tech shootings happening in our world, QUAD is a great story to use as a starting point to get us to talk about what needs to change so these shootings STOP!

Add your review of this book in "comments!"

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Gay Best Friend: On Secondary Characters

Hi everyone! As I assemble and compile the exciting list of books still to come (the YA list of over 100 books with GLBTQ characters and themes to the right) the issue of "what qualifies" has come up again and again.

Suggestions from my friends Rita Crayon Huang (awesome writer!)

Deborah Davis (new book just out!)

Laini Taylor (fabulous author!)


Jim Di Bartolo (amazing artist!)

have brought up issues like:

what about picturebooks with gay uncles or themes? (there's a handful, including:

"And Tango Makes Three" by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, illustrated by Henry Cole

"King and King" by Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland, and the new

"Mini Mia and her Darling Uncle" by Pija Lindenbaum).

But no, despite how much I might love these, outside mentioning them here, I'm not planning to list GLBTQ themed picturebooks on this blogsite.

Well, what about books where the the sister of one of the characters is a lesbian? Or a surprise twist of a character's sexuality revealed - but it's an incidental character that doesn't really change much. The answer's no to including those here.


Allow me to delve into my thought process behind what I'm including here at "I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell do I Read?"

Having a character with a gay best friend is great, and I’m all for it, but unless it’s an ensemble cast (like in Carrie Watson's "QUAD", where the gay characters are part of the main cast of characters and you think, "Hey! Maybe the queer kid did it!") the main character’s JUST having a gay best friend isn’t going to warrant inclusion on this site - unless the book is really about that relationship (so it has a GLBTQ theme that’s central.)

As Ellen Wittlinger said at this summer's SCBWI conference, GLBTQ teens are part of the fabric of the real world, so it’s important to include them in the world of your characters even when your book’s about something else. I agree with her completely, and my hope is that there will ultimately be soooooo many books with incidental gay characters, as part of the fabric of the teen characters' worlds, that such a list will be unnecessary.

Having said that, I want this blogsite to be a resource for those of us wanting to find out about great YA fiction that STARS a GLBTQ character or is ABOUT a GLBTQ theme.

Being included is great, but dammit, I want us to be CELEBRATED, too! And my intent is that this blogsite is a starting point for that celebration!

Now, one additional area where I think there's a need for a listing of titles (and I plan to include them on this blogsite) is books where there is a GLBTQ parent/caretaker. Interestingly, a lot of these are middle grade titles, with the main character being younger (9-12). Again, I'm including these really only if the book is substantially ABOUT the parent/caretaker being GLBTQ.

In the meantime, if there’s a great book out there with a GLBTQ best friend, or aunt, or subplot, that you think should be mentioned somewhere on this blogsite, please feel free to add it and your thoughts in the comments below!

Namaste (the light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you)


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Deliver Us From Evie

by M.E. Kerr

Missouri Farm-girl Evie romances the daughter of the wealthiest man in town - the same man who holds the mortgage on their family farm.

Narrated by Evie's younger brother, whose romance with a girl from a fundamentalist and homophobic family becomes so tension-filled that he outs Evie... to everyone!

School Library Journal called Evie, "Among the most convincing lesbian characters in young adult fiction," which is pretty great.

Add your review of this book in "comments!"

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Vintage: A Ghost Story

by Steve Berman

In Steve's words: A lonely gay teen bides his time with trips to strangers' funerals and Ouija board sessions, desperately searching for someone to love - and a reason to live following a suicide attempt.

Walking an empty stretch of highway on an autumn night, he meets a strange and beautiful boy who looks like he stepped out of a dream. But he quickly learns that love is not a simple thing, not as portrayed in movies and daydreams.

Besides the cool factor of Vintage being a gay ghost story, Steve is donating 1/5 of the royalties from this book to charities that help gay teens, including the GSA Network and The Trevor Project - how amazing is that?

Add your review of this book in "comments!"

Monday, September 17, 2007


Welcome again to "I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell do I Read?" If you missed the whole introduction, check out this link (or just scroll down a bit to Saturday's post!)

Today's entry is "This Week's Bitchin' Queer Poem."

But first, it's important for me to let you all know that my intent is for this blogsite to be inclusive - a cool and useful resource and community building tool for everyone interested or invested in the GLBTQ teen world of literature...

So, This Week's Bitchin' Queer Poem is about women-lovin'-women! Or should I write, perhaps, womyn-lovin'-womyn! From our Herstory (it's amazing how male-centric our language is, isn't it?)

The travel folder for Lesbos, Jacqueline Lapidus says, does not say that Sappho slept with women:
but we’re not fooled
we lock our door at the YWCA
and fuse, faces flushed,
palms damp, tongues
tasting the names of Sappho’s lovers:
And Timas of Anatolia who died young.

- Jacqueline Lapidus

I found this amazing poem on pg. 173 of “Another Mother Tongue: Gay Words, Gay Worlds”, by Judy Grahn. The poem was first published in “Conditions: Seven [ N.Y.: Conditions, 1981], pg. 91

Saturday, September 15, 2007


Welcome to my new blog!

In fact, welcome no matter your personal sexual or gender identification. Honestly. Even if you’re, well, straight – welcome with open arms.

We (the GLBTQ community - that's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning and Queer community) need our straight allies to join us not just in our struggle for equality, but as friends and fellow adventurers in our journeys – even our adventures into books!

So, even though it’s called “I’m Here. I’m Queer. What the Hell do I Read?” I hope you’re here even if you’re not queer. No, really.

So who is this blogsite for?

I think it's for teens (queer or not), for librarians, for teachers, for booksellers, for people with teens in their lives and for anyone interested in YA books with GLBTQ characters and themes. What books are already out there? What's new? Your answers are here.

"I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell do I Read?" also offers a chance for readers to post reviews of the GLBTQ YA books and to read each other's reviews. Every book will eventually have its own post and listing in the column on the right. Click on the title and you'll go to the post on that book. There will be a brief summary, a photo of the cover, and of course whenever possible a link to the author's website. The "comments" for each book post will be the place for you to review the book yourself, and check out what other people thought of the book.

This blogsite is also for those interested in fascinating quotes and poems from GLBTQ history. Every week I'll be sharing one of my favorites, helping to show you all what a rich and varied tapestry of queer written culture already exists - some of it modern, and some of it ancient!

Oh, and "I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell do I Read?" is also for those interested in discussing some intriguing and complex social and writing issues - better known as Lee's Musings. I'll post my take, and then you can tell me what YOU think in the "comments." Presto! It'll be a dialog!

So, Books. Quotes and Poems. Musings. We're going to have so much fun!

And I suppose those interested in this humble blogsite also include my personal allies (friends and family!)

Which is a perfect segue to give them a HUGE “Thanks!”

Thank you to my Allies, who helped me launch this blogsite:

Mark (my love)

Sara Wilson Etienne

Rita Crayon Huang

Greg Pincus

Tony Etienne

Ellen Wittlinger

Brent Hartinger

and all my supportive colleagues at the Yahoo glbtqYAwriters group!

I'll end this post in the way yoga classes end, with the word "Namaste."

It means something along the lines of: "the light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you."

And I do.

Namaste, and welcome to my blog!


ps- If you're wondering what's with the photo of the waterfall up top, here's the scoop: It's a picture I took of Akaka Falls on the big Island of Hawaii, right after Mark and I hiked up behind the waterfall and up along the rain forest riverbank to a pristine waterhole. It was rainy, and muddy, and we wore these funny frog-shoes but it was still slippery and scary... and exhilarating! It was one of the most challenging and amazing adventures of my life, and this photo reminds me that I can jump in there and take risks and come out wet and muddy -- and proud and happy, too. So this blog is kinda like that. It feels scary and exciting at the same time, and I hope it proves to be a great adventure for us all!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Freak Show

by James St. James

Billy Bloom. Guerilla Drag Queen. The new kid at super-conservative Dwight D. Eisenhower Academy. Flip Kelly, the school football hero who unexpectedly... (nah, no spoilers, here!)

James St. James lets Billy take it on the chin with harsh high school reality until Billy decides, like in some amazing golden-age movie musical, to be the freak show he is, and be proud of it.

Incredible things happen from that...

Add your review of this book in "comments!"

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Hello, I Lied

by M.E. Kerr

In the author's words:
Lang goes to spend the summer on Long Island with his mother on a rock legend's estate where she'll be working. He has to leave his boyfriend, Alex, in New York City, where they both live. Enter Huguette, a girl who means a lot to the rocker and could mean a lot to Lang by summer's end.

Add your review of this book in "comments!"

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

This week's Bitchin' Queer Poem

I saw you last night in the gathering,
but could not take you openly in my arms,
so I put my lips next to your cheek,
pretending to talk privately.


For the first official "Great Queer Poem," I had to give you something by Rumi. Rumi was a poet who lived in the 1200s (Yup. September 30th will be the 800th anniversary of his birth!) in what today we call Turkey.

It amazes me how this feels fresh, real, and as if it was written TODAY. Rumi was a master of poetry, much of it ecstatic and homoerotic. (Oh, and he didn't title his poems, so I won't presume to.)

The above poem is from pg. 98 of "The Essential Rumi" translated by Coleman Barks with John Moyne.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

a really nice prom mess

by Brian Sloan

Imagine if your closeted boyfriend made you double-date girls so you could go to the prom (sort of) together. Now imagine the girls found out. Yikes!

"a really nice prom mess" won the 2005 Violet Quill Award for Best LGBT Book of the Year! (An award given by a gay book club!)

Add your review of this book in "comments!"

Tale of Two Summers

By Brian Sloan

In Brian's words: "Two best friends spend their first summer apart blogging to each other about their separate but equally exciting romantic and sexual adventures. Chuck, the talented one, goes off to summer theatre camp where he proceeds to fall for the sexy female lead of his show. Hal, the less talented one, stays at home in exciting Wheaton, MD learning how to drive and getting busy with a hot French dude he meets at the mall. With a frank and shocking candor, these two 15 year-olds going on 20 debate their differences, consider their similarities, and push their decade long friendship to the breaking point during a summer that neither of them will soon forget."

Nicely put, Brian! Man, distilling your book down to a great paragraph like that is so hard to do!

"Tale of Two Summers" is a Lambda Literary 2006 Award Finalist!

Add your review of this book in "comments!"

SPLIT SCREEN: Attack of the Soul-Sucking Zombies & Bride of the Soul-Sucking Zombies

By Brent Hartinger

Two Books in One:

Horror Movies. Closeted Cheerleaders. Long Distance Boyfriend versus an Ex-Boyfriend at hand. And hey, Zombies!

Part of the "Geography Club" series (books 3 and 4 or just 3? You decide!)

Add your review of this book in "comments!"

The Order of the Poison Oak

by Brent Hartinger

Skinny dipping.

Summer Camp.

Making Out.

And the mysterious society... The Order of the Poison Oak!!!

Book two of the series (the follow-up to "Geography Club!")

Check out this other cover I found:

Add your review of this book in "comments!"

Geography Club

by Brent Hartinger

A Gay Straight Alliance by any other name would smell as sweet...

"Geography Club" won a truckload of awards! (Check out Brent's website for the full list of accolades!)

Oh - and it's the first of a SERIES!!!! (four books total - though you may have to count it as five once you check out "Split Screen!")

Add your review of this book in "comments!"

Getting It

by Alex Sanchez

Queer Eye For the Straight Guy - in High School! Oh, and the straight guy has to help Sal start their school's Gay Straight Alliance.

"Getting It" won 2nd place at the Latino Book Awards.

Read more about Alex Sanchez here. And add your review of this book in "comments!"

So Hard To Say

by Alex Sanchez

Fredrick's trying to figure it out. A new school. His friend, Xio, - a girl - who likes him. The soccer team captain, Victor...

A Lambda Literary Award 2004 Winner!

Read more about Alex here. And add your review of this book in "comments!"

Rainbow Road

by Alex Sanchez

Book three in the trilogy!!!

A Post-Graduation summer road trip with Jason, Kyle and Nelson!

Read more about Alex Sanchez here. And add your review of this book in "comments!"

Rainbow High

by Alex Sanchez

Book two in the series! ("Rainbow Boys" is first, then "Rainbow High," and last but not least is "Rainbow Road.")

Read more about Alex Sanchez here. And add your review of this book in "comments!"

Rainbow Boys

by Alex Sanchez

High School. Coming Out. Friends... and more!

The first in the Triology (!!!) It's "Rainbow Boys," "Rainbow High," and then "Rainbow Road."

Read more about Alex Sanchez here. And add your review of this book in "comments!"

Hard Love

by Ellen Wittlinger

In Ellen's words: "John and Marisol form an unlikely friendship based on zines, alienation and dreams of escape. John knows from the outset that Marisol is a lesbian, but she penetrates his loneliness and he falls for her anyway."

This book won a gazillion awards (you'll have to check out Ellen's website for the full list!)

Here's another cover - it's fun sometimes to see how different the same book cover can be in different editions.

Add your review of this book in "comments!"

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


by Ellen Wittlinger

Finally, a funny, NOT tragic Female-to-Male transgender teen book!

I heard Ellen read the first chapter of this aloud at the recent SCBWI Summer Conference, and it really got me. Funny and deep and wonderful.

Add your review of this book in "comments!"

On Labels

(G) Gay Teen Characters/Themes

(L) Lesbian Teen Characters/Themes

(B) Bisexual Teen Characters/Themes

(T) Transgender Teen Characters/Themes

(Q) Queer Teen Characters/Themes

(?) Questioning Teen Character/Themes

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

Especially for people.

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

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

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

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

You'll just have to forgive me.



Saturday, September 1, 2007