Tuesday, March 31, 2009


By Holly Black



Kaye is 16, and when she and her wanna-be rock star Mom go back to New Jersey, she reconnects with her childhood friend Janet, and Janet's gay brother, Corny.

Soon Kaye encounters Roiben, a mysterious black Knight, and discovers that she's in the middle of an ancient power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms.

The teens are drawn into the war, with Kaye as the pawn - and the stakes are life and death.

Thanks to loyal reader Jacob for the recommendation! Add your review of "Tithe" in comments.

Monday, March 30, 2009

GSA Monday Topic: How Do YOU Define "Marriage?" Check out this new Merriam-Webster Definition!

Okay, so there's been all this talk and fighting and propositions and laws and lawsuits and constitutional amendments about "Marriage," and "re-defining Marriage."

This is as close as my rather dog-eared "Webster's new Twentieth Century Dictionary, Second Edition, Copyright 1979" got to including me and my husband in the definition of "Marriage."

Well, amusingly enough, one major dictionary, Merriam-Webster, changed their definition of "marriage" back in 2003 - and no one noticed until recently!!!

Here it is (you can link to it here):

mar·riage           Listen to the pronunciation of marriage
\ˈmer-ij, ˈma-rij\
Middle English mariage, from Anglo-French, from marier to marry
14th century
1 a (1): the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law (2): the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage marriage> b: the mutual relation of married persons : wedlock c: the institution whereby individuals are joined in a marriage2: an act of marrying or the rite by which the married status is effected ; especially : the wedding ceremony and attendant festivities or formalities3: an intimate or close union marriage of painting and poetry — J. T. Shawcross>

The Houghton Mifflin dictionary (Yahoo's choice, here) defines it as:

mar·riage audio (mrj) KEY

    1. The legal union of a man and woman as husband and wife.
    2. The state of being married; wedlock.
    3. A common-law marriage.
    4. A union between two persons having the customary but usually not the legal force of marriage: a same-sex marriage.

I'm happy to be included - a little disappointed that both dictionaries went with "same-sex" rather than "same-gender" but still, it's progress.

It does raise the rather wonderful question: How would YOU define "marriage?"

Would your definition include gender? religion? civil recognition?

What does marriage mean to you?

Try writing it out. And feel free to share your definition here, in comments!

Friday, March 27, 2009

A Gay Teenager, James Neilly, testifies in Vermont: "It's really hard to feel equal when you don't have the same rights."

I've got a new hero:

James Neilly is a Junior in High School in Vermont, and he testified last Friday on the same-gender marriage battle:

It's amazing to me that James is this eloquent and self-assured at 17.

His parents should be proud of him.

The Gay (GLBTQ) Community should be proud of him.

I know I'm proud of him.

Bravo, James. Bravo!

The news as of now - Vermont's Senate voted 26 to 4 in favor of same gender marriage on Monday. Now it's going to the House, which is also expected to pass the law.

The Governor, however, on Wednesday said he's going to veto it.

It's "unclear" whether the legislature will try to override a possible veto... (Check out this CNN article here for more details.)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Comfort Me

By Louis Flint Ceci

Three friends in high school in Croy, Oklahoma, find that they can be a kind of "family" to each other - since their own families are so messed up.

One of them, Mally, is gay.

Mally has a crush on Randy, a football jock who's one of the other three.

Joanie's the third, and Randy is interested in her...

Things get even more complicated, and secrets past and present won't stay secret for long.

Add your review of "Comfort Me" in comments!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

It Chicks

By Tia Williams

Louis B. Armstrong is New York City's most prestigious Performing Arts High School.

Seven teenagers, amid all the others, are there to play the fame game and make it BIG.

YA Glam Lit!

I think this quote, from the book's blurb, tells it like it is:

What they want is fame.

All they have is drama.

And one of the main characters is a lesbian, who runs into a transfer student while secretly... well, I'm not going to ruin it for you!

Thanks to loyal blog reader Doret for the recommendation, and add your review of "It Chicks" in comments!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

RuPaul Crowns the winner of her "Drag Race" (No Spoilers) ...And how it's about more than a reality show: It's about Mentoring.

So last night it all came down to




in the finale of RuPaul's Drag Race.

And I sat there watching this latest iteration of the "reality" TV show, fascinated to see who would win the crown.

As the finale wound to it's ultimate beauty pageant apex, with a rhinestone tiara giving an additional 18" in stature to the winner, I found myself getting goosebumps.

That was unexpected.

And it was because of what RuPaul said at that moment.

...I pass the reins on to you, my dear. It will be your job to spread the love, the message, the beauty of being the next drag superstar.

And suddenly, I understood the show on a mythic level. RuPaul was passing the crown. An Empress selecting her successor as a Drag Diva Super Star of the world.

It wasn't so much RuPaul going into retirement, but acknowledging the facts - she ain't no ingenue anymore.

It's a transition many of us in our youth-obsessed culture, especially in the Gay (GLBTQ) community, fail to make.

There are 40 and 50 year olds still acting like they're 22, still thinking that the be-all and end-all of life is clubbing and how hot you look and landing the next hot conquest.

And I found myself really excited that here, in this world that I really know so little about,

this world of drag queens and divas, of men trying to get at the heart of what is beauty, grace, and poise, of men wielding the magic of gender to make us all pause and think - and entertain us as well -

that here in this world, perhaps, is a better understanding of the role of the tribal elder, and the generational interconnectedness we need as human beings.

And I realized, on this meta level, that it's what works for me (and millions of others) about the show "American Idol," and why I love how gushy and crazy Paula Abdul is as a judge - it's a passing-on of the reins there, too. Paula and Simon and Randy and Kara and the millions of us voting are finding the new generation - and through a grueling initiation - will crown one as the next Queen or King of Pop.

I see now that Reality TV has become the new "initiation" ritual in our ritual-starved culture, an initiation from one stage of life to another that many of us never experience ourselves - we only watch others go through their initiations, their passages. But we're human, and on some deep level inside each of us, we crave this acknowledgment of passing, of growing, of maturing.

What RuPaul did last night was not only crown a new "Queen," but cast herself in a new role, of mentor. She cast herself in the new role of a beautiful and powerful older "woman," passing on her knowledge, and happy to see a younger generation claim their place on the world stage.

And there, in the land of fakeness (for what could be "faker" than a man dressed up in pounds of makeup and fake boobs in a glittering dress, six inch heels, and a gigantic wig?) - there was something true and real: the answer to our botox injected, face peeled, and youth-obsessed adults of today.

It's something I didn't expect to learn from a 6 and a half foot tall drag queen with a wig the size of a Vespa.

As Ru said at the end of this finale:

"My Queen. Remember, If you can't love yourself - how you gonna love somebody else? Now walk!"

Amen, Ru. Amen.

Monday, March 23, 2009

GSA Monday Topic: Harvard's BGLTSA becomes the Harvard QSA: Trading in "Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender" for "Queer"

Harvard's QSA Website Banner

Recent news:

Harvard's Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, and Supporters Alliance voted unanimously to change the organization’s name to the Harvard College Queer Students and Allies.

Check out the full article here.
What would be the reaction if YOUR GSA became the QSA? If all the Gay Straight Alliance Clubs became the Queer Straight Alliance Clubs?

Would it help, or would it make things more difficult?

What do you think?

Friday, March 20, 2009

The World IS Changing: Boyzone's Video "Better" includes a Guy as a 'Love Interest' for its openly gay member, Stephen Gately!



Really exciting that this is OUT there to watch!

Check out the Boyzone video by clicking here!

Now won't it be great when this type of inclusiveness is such a regular, unremarkable thing that it won't even be worth blogging about, and we can talk about the music?

Or the fact that they're, well, kinda grown up to be called "Boyzone?"

But for Today, I'm not going to quibble. Three cheers for Boyzone, for having the courage to be real!

(Of course, it's stirred up some controversy...)

Watch it and come back and tell us - what do YOU think?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Last Exit To Normal

by Michael Harmon

Ben's mom and dad split three years ago. His dad found love with another guy, and now with his two dads, 17 year old Ben has to move to a blink-and-you'll-miss-it kinda redneck town in Montana... where all three of them live with Ben's grandmother!

Sometimes, life isn't what you expect. And you still have to figure out how to be yourself. And sometimes, who you are ends up being... a hero.

Thanks to loyal blog reader Tricia for the recommendation, and check out this great review of the book here, on Becky's blog!

Add your review of "The Last Exit To Normal" in comments!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Mini Mia and Her Darling Uncle

By Pija Lindebaum, translated by Elisabeth Kallick Dyssegaard

Mia is a little girl who loves soccer and her uncle Tommy.

When her parents go on a vacation leaving her with her grandmother, Mia delights in hanging out with her favorite Uncle.

But one day there's an interloper... some new guy, Fergus, who's always around HER uncle, wanting to do things with them.

(The cover image is Mia pouring sugar all over Fergus' shoe when he intrudes on her and her uncle's afternoon of coffeeshop people-watching!)

The book never comes out and has the characters SAY "I hate your new boyfriend" or "Mia, this is Fergus. I love him, and I'm gay..." or anything like that.

It's at heart a book for young children about sharing, and Mia doesn't want to share someone she loves with someone new. (Which is a pretty universal emotion.)

It all ends up well (of course) with the interloper, Fergus, and Mia finding out they have something in common... and that all three of them can have fun together.

And it's really left to the final illustration to share the message:
There's enough love to go around.

"Mini Mia and her Darling Uncle" was GAY GAY GAY, without talking about being "gay," and it made me smile. How I wish I could have had this picture book read to me when I was a little kid.

Thanks to loyal blog reader Francis for the recommendation. And get this - the original Swedish title of this book was "Lill Zlatan och Farbror Raring!"

Add your review of "Mini Mia and her Darling Uncle" in comments!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

BONUS POST: St. Patrick's Day Discrimination Update! Chrisine Quinn (and "the GAYS") won't be marching in New York City Today.

New York City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn is an openly Gay Irish American.

Once again, as reported in the NY Times, she's been invited to participate in the annual New York City's St. Patrick's Day Parade, provided she doesn't display ANYTHING hinting at gay pride - they'll allow her to celebrate being Irish, but only if she's willing to be closeted about being a Lesbian.

She's boycotted it since 2006.

Instead, she'll be at a reception at the Obama White house, meeting the Prime Minister of Ireland tonight.

But isn't it crazy that she can't be part of the 150,000 people who march in today's parade in New York?

To protest, and to once again break the news about all the things the GAYS and the IRISH have in common, here's my vlog, "Good News for Gays and Leprechauns!"

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, and Fenway Park

By Steve Kluger

T.C. and Augie are best friends and unofficial "brothers" since they were kids. Now they're in 9th grade, and they're both falling in love for the first time.

T.C.'s falling for a girl, Alejandra, who's playing hard to get.

Augie's falling for... another guy, only Augie's the only one who doesn't seem to understand what's going on!

Thanks to loyal blog reader Doret for the recommendation. Add your review of "My Most Excellent Year" in comments!

Monday, March 16, 2009

GSA Monday Topic: Should a non-girly Girl be allowed to wear a TUXEDO to prom? A Lesbian in Indiana SUES her school for that right

So this 17 year old girl, a lesbian, was told by her school that she couldn't wear a tuxedo to her prom, and that if she wanted to attend, she'd have to wear a dress.

She told them she's a lesbian and that she

does not wear dresses because she thinks they express a sexual identity that she does not embrace

Her ACLU lawyer says

"From a First Amendment standpoint, wearing a tuxedo makes an affirmative statement about her own sexuality," Falk said. "Students have free-speech rights."

The school says

her only option for the prom was to wear a dress and that only boys could wear tuxedos

The prom at her school is April 25.

Here's the link to the full article: Girl sues Lebanon Schools for right to wear tuxedo to prom

I'll try to find out what happens and let you all know -

For now, it's a great point of discussion.

Should she be allowed to wear a tux to prom? What do you think?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Do All Drag Queens Look Alike To Straight People? The LA Times mistakes the unmistakable RuPaul for Ongina, a different drag diva!

Really, it's too ridiculous.

In this Monday's Los Angeles Times, on page D9, in an article about the Logo reality TV series "Ru Paul's Drag Race", they ran this photo:

The caption reads:
JAUNTY: RuPaul is two-thirds through the run of "Drag Race" on Logo, but previous episodes are on the website.

The article's first line reads
"RuPaul, the 6-foot-4 to 6-foot-7 (by his own varying accounts) African American drag queen who sashayed his way into mass consciousness in the 1990s with the club hit "Supermodel" and a VH1 talk show, is back on TV with "RuPaul's Drag Race."

I guess "mass consciousness" didn't include the LA Times' editors, photo editors, proofreaders, or even the article's author, Robert Lloyd, TV critic, when they ran a photo of the considerably shorter and, um, Asian American drag queen "Ongina" as Ru.

I mean really, look again. Think of it as a test. Can YOU tell them apart?

Okay, the LA Times did publish a "correction" on Tuesday, but it was a stunner that no one caught it before they went to press. I know mistakes happen (I'm sure I've made a number) but this cracked me up, and I had to share!

The show itself is fascinating - watching these guys transform to "women" is an amazing exploration of how we construct gender... and it's lots of fun. Check out more about the show (and you can even watch the episodes!) here.

Have a great weekend everyone!

And remember, as RuPaul says at the end of every episode,

"If you can't love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else?

Can I get an Amen in the house?"

Amen, Ru. Amen.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sappho Sings

By Peggy Ullman Bell

"Sappho Sings" is a work of historical fiction, that tells the life story of Psappha (what she called herself), growing from a girl... to a woman who became the most famous poet of her time.

While precious little of Psappha's poetry survives (though she was incredibly famous, even centuries after her death), Peggy feels like she captured the spirit of the "Tenth Muse" when she created new poetry, in the style of Psappha.

Here's a taste:

Tomorrow is as nothing. Yesterday is gone. There is only here and now and dreaming to fill my empty hours. Though people crowd around me, demanding my attention, I still float, within my soul, into your arms. She is. I am. We are. All else is mere charade. Why was I not born singly, like others that I know? Duality lies heavy on my soul.

Check out this interview with the author here. "Sappho Sings" is clearly a work of passion, as Peggy spent over 35 years researching and writing it. An earlier edition, "Psappha," was published by UpStart Press in 2000. "Sappho Sings" is self-published.

Add your review of "Sappho Sings" in comments!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

In Mike We Trust

By P. E. Ryan

15 year old Garth is gay. His dad died a year and a half ago, and his mom... well, she doesn't want him to tell anyone else he's gay.

But when his Dad's twin brother, Mike, comes on the scene, Garth feels accepted. Encouraged to be himself. Emboldened to be honest...

Except, his uncle Mike has some secrets of his own that he wants Garth to keep.

And suddenly lies are everywhere, and Garth has to figure out what to trust, who to trust, and how to be true to himself.

Add your review of "In Mike We Trust" in comments!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Good News For Gays and Leprechauns!

In honor of the upcoming St. Patrick's Day holiday, I did a bit more "investigative journalism" and uncovered

The 4 SECRET things

that "The Gays" and the "The Irish" have in common...

Watch, and all will be revealed...

Monday, March 9, 2009

GSA Monday Topic: Angry Gay Men, Sad Lesbians: Deconstructing Media Images of the Same-Gender Marriage Controversy as Prop 8 Goes Before the Court

It's fascinating to look how we're being portrayed in the most prominent photos accompanying the news articles on Prop 8 going before the California Supreme Court this past Friday.

What do these images say about media biases?

What do they say about how good a job we are doing as a community in being heard?

Take a look at these photos below (click on them to go to the on-line article they came from) and see what you think:

Angry Same-Gender Marriage Supporter, from the Los Angeles Times

Angry Same-Gender Marriage Supporter, from the Wall Street Journal

Sad/Hopeful Lesbians from the San Francisco Chronicle:

Hopeful Same-Gender Marriage Supporters, From The Orange County Register:

Earnest Defense: Here's one from the Sacramento Bee of an angry anti-gay marriage protester, which shows a more nuanced response from a pro-gay marriage supporter:

And The New York Times' photo lets you focus on whichever side of the issue you're on:

My eye goes right to the gay couple in the foreground, one with his arm around the other, holding up the "Love will Conquer H8" sign , but I bet that people who DON'T want Gays to have the right to marry focus on the woman and man on either side of the male couple who carry "traditional" marriage signs.

Take a look at YOUR local news coverage of Prop 8 being debated in front of the California Supreme Court. What does it say about the biases of the media where YOU live?

What images really speak to you?

For me, the image that spoke the MOST was this one, from The Seattle Times (It was also used on the front page of The Philadelphia Inquirer):

What do you think?



Friday, March 6, 2009

Hit The Road, Manny

By Christian Burch

The Manny is back! In this sequel to "The Manny Files," Keats, his whole family, and The Manny go on a road-trip. In an RV.

They go to farm country! They go to Vegas! They go... to the Manny's childhood home.

That's where the Manny's passion for life being fabulous clashes with his parents - who still can't accept him for who he is.

And Keats wonders if maybe the Manny's parents have a point - why does the Manny always have to try to make everything so interesting?

Add your review of "Hit The Road, Manny" in comments.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Lee in the NEWS!

Hi Everyone!

I'm featured in this week's QueerTimes! Check it out here!

And here's the pdf "press clipping" of it! (you can click the image below to see it larger)

How cool!


Wednesday, March 4, 2009


News, News, News!!!


I get to finally announce that I've been asked to be part of SCBWI TEAM BLOG - Under Team Captain Alice Pope (of Children's Writers and Illustrators Market fame), Jolie Stekly, Jaime Temairik, Paula Yoo, Suzanne Young, and I, Lee Wind(!), will live-blog the upcoming Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators 38th Annual Summer Conference, coming up August 7 - 10, 2009! In the months to come, we'll be scooping the Conference, sharing tastes of the great stuff to come, and during the conference we'll all contribute to the official SCBWI TEAM BLOG! It's going to be AWESOME!


The first of our scoops that we get to share with you all is The Winners of the Golden Kite Awards! (The winners are invited to the conference, and their acceptance speeches will be the highlight of a special luncheon on Sunday August 9th!)

The Envelope, please...

The 2009 Golden Kite Award Winners are:

For Fiction:

DOWN SAND MOUNTAIN, by Steve Watkins (Candlewick Press)

I just heard Kaylan Adair, the editor of this book, speak and she said that what drew her to the manuscript in the first place was the VOICE!

For Nonfiction:


For Picture Book Text:

A VISITOR FOR BEAR, by Bonny Becker, illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton (Candlewick Press)

For Picture Book Illustration:

LAST NIGHT, Illustrated and written by Hyewon Yum (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

And The Golden Kite Honor Recipients are:

For Fiction:

THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX, by Mary E. Pearson (Henry Holt Books for Young Readers)

This book is the featured title this month on Readergirlz. Go check out the interviews with the author Mary E. Pearson, and you can join in the discussion about the book there! (Oh, and you can hear the author's playlist of music to go along with her book - so cool!)

For Nonfiction:

THE MYSTERIOUS UNIVERSE: SUPERNOVAE, DARK ENERGY, AND BLACK HOLES, by Ellen Jackson; photographed and illustrated by Nic Bishop (Houghton Mifflin)

For Picture Book Text:

BEFORE JOHN WAS A JAZZ GIANT, by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Sean Qualls (Henry Holt Books for Young Readers)

For Picture Book Illustration:

I LOVE MY NEW TOY, Illustrated and written by Mo Willems (Hyperion)

Hurray SCBWI!

Hurray Golden Kite Winners and Honorees!


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Printable and Downloadable Gay (GLBTQ) Teen Booklist!

Okay, I've gotten some requests for a printable Booklist.

So here it is!

It's downloadable (from here) and printable. And if I've figured out the technology, when you click on the image below you should see a bigger version of it! (If that doesn't work, try clicking on "open publication" below. And if that doesn't do it, please go here to see it full-sized.)

Putting together a one page list was really tough. While I might have been able to cram every single title (over 200 of them!) on a single sheet of paper, I thought the result of that would be pretty useless (and rather hard to read.)

I ended up deciding to just make it a "taste" - with a handful of books in each category to pique interest, with the hopes that people, if they're intrigued, will come to this site to find out more.

I didn't even include author names, figuring that the title, the bookshelf category, and this blogsite as a reference would be sufficient clues to track down the specific books. (And that way, I got to DOUBLE the number of books on the list!)

So please, please, please - for the authors whose books were not included in the 43 titles I listed - don't take it as a judgment on YOUR book. I sort of pretended I was in my own bookstore/library and I just started pulling titles down off the shelves. It's a rather random and quirky list, like a sampler box of fancy chocolates.

My goal is for this list (and this blogsite) to help Teens find the books they need and will want to read - and hopefully that means they'll find YOUR books, too!



ps- My thanks to Terry over at The Reading Tub for the push and the issuu recommendation!

Monday, March 2, 2009

GSA Monday Topic: Kanye West has a new definition for "That's So Gay!"

I found this on the amazing towleroad website!

Kanye West, in his interview with Details magazine:

"Titles are very important. I like to embody titles, y'know, or words that have negative connotations, and explain why that's good. Take the word gay—like, in hip-hop, that's a negative thing, right? But in the past two, three years, all the gay people I've encountered have been, like, really, really, extremely dope. Y'know, I haven't, like, gone to a gay bar, nor do I ever plan to. But where I would talk to a gay person—the conversation would be mostly around, like, art or design—it'd be really dope. From a design standpoint, kids'll say, 'Dude, those pants are gay.' But if it's, like, good, good, good fashion-level, design-level stuff, where it's on a higher level than the average commercial design stuff, it's, like, gay people that do that. I think that should be said as a compliment. Like, 'Dude, that's so good it's almost . . . gay.'"

Adds Details: "West's friends and professional adjuncts, who quietly pass in and out of his loft throughout the day, start cracking up, and he leaves his chair for a bit of stand-up: 'Dude, that's so good it's almost gay!' 'Dude, you pay real attention to detail—that's almost, like, gay!' 'You had a whole conversation with that girl without bringing up sex? That was, like, gay!'"

How cool is this guy?

With the power of Kanye West behind us, can we change "that's so gay" from being a slam to being a compliment of the highest order? If "dope" can change meanings so dramatically, why not "gay?"

Can we make "gay" dope? What do you think?