Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Difference Between You and Me - a Teen Lesbian Opposites Attract - and Repel - Love Story

The Difference Between You and Me by Madeleine George

Jesse is a sophmore, the founder (and only member) of The National Organization to Liberate All Weirdos.  She wears big green fisherman's boots.

Emily wears sweaters with faux pearl buttons. She's vice president of the student council. She has a boyfriend.

But when it's just the two of them, they rock each other's worlds.

"Kissing Emily is literally the best thing Jesse has ever done. In her life. There is no feeling more right or perfect"

Jesse wants them to come out, but Emily feels she has too much to lose... and when they end up on opposite sides of a heated school conflict, they each have to decide...

What's more important: what you believe in, or the one you love?

My thanks to Little Willow, whose review let me know about this!  Please add your review of "The Difference Between You and Me" in comments...

And just for fun, here's the other cover for the book:


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Gender 101, Episode #31: Benji, Nenu, Frankie and Emmi on Presenting

It's the first of our panel discussions on gender, and Benji (a.k.a. Lucy) continues the conversation with Nenu, Frankie and Emmi.  They discuss being Gender Queer and how they present themselves... covering issues of clothing, body acceptance, androgyny and safety. 

My thanks to Benji, Nenu, Frankie and Emmi for sharing so honestly. 


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hollowstone - A Southern Gothic homage to The Great Gatsby with People Of Color and Queer Characters

Hollowstone by Dennis R. Upkins

Life for Noah Scott changes drastically when he is accepted to Hollowstone Academy, one of the most prestigious boarding schools in the country set in the mountains of Eastern Tennessee. Within the hallowed halls of the illustrious school, Noah soon discovers that the world of the privileged is rife with social hierarchies, politics, depravity and corruption. It is also there that Noah meets his roommate and best friend, the charming and enigmatic Caleb Warner.

Tragedy soon strikes when Cal is brutally murdered in a hold-up. But when Noah is haunted by Cal’s ghost, he soon discovers that the random act of violence was in fact a premeditated one. Determined to uncover the truth and find Cal’s killer, Noah soon finds that the school and its patrons have more than their share of secrets. Secrets they are willing to preserve at any cost. Noah also quickly learns that greater supernatural forces are at play. In a race against time, Noah must solve Cal’s murder before he’s the killer’s next victim.

Add your review of "Hollowstone" in comments!

Monday, May 28, 2012

A great post: "I'm Christian, Unless You're Gay" ...and a response that will touch your heart

Go read this blog post, I'm Christian, Unless You're Gay.

The author, Dan Pierce, lives in a small community where one of his friends, Jacob, is 27 and gay... and Dan is the only friend Jacob has.

Dan talks about what religions teach... love, kindness, friendship, and how that gets forgotten in the need many of us have to be better than others.

And now, you have to read this follow up post, about a mother's response when her 15 year old son came home with a copy of the "I'm Christian, Unless You're Gay" article with a homework assignment to write an essay in response.  It includes her son's essay, and what happened because of that.

It's powerful stuff.

Because standing up with love, against hate, is powerful, and healing, and transformative.

Be empowered.


ps -My thanks to Alex for letting me know about this post.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Starfish Story

A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.

She had been doing this for some time when an old man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”

The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied,

“I made a difference to that one!”

The old man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had done and said. Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved.

Make A Difference!

Adapted from "The Star Thrower" by Loren C. Eiseley

My thanks to Jasmine Love, Director of Multiculturalism and Inclusion at Chadwick School, Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA for sharing this with me, so I could share it with you.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Gender 101, Epsiode #30: B J on Role Models, Hiding and Healing

Benji (a.k.a. Lucy) continues the conversation about gender with B J.  B J shares about their search for gender non-conforming Role Models, and their own journey.

It's a little longer than most of the Gender 101 videos at thirteen and a half minutes, but worth the time!

As B J said about doing this video,

"Even if one person finds something at all worth taking from it, it's worth it"


Thank you B J, for sharing so honestly.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Chance To Dance For You - a gay teen novel

Chance To Dance For You by Gail Sidonie Sobat 

Despite living in a narrow-minded suburban community, Ian is openly gay. He’s been training as a dancer, and he has plans to leave town as soon as he’s finished high school.  But then, he falls in love with the school quarterback!

Add your review of "Chance To Dance For You" in comments!  

My thanks to Nancy Silverrod, Librarian at the San Francisco Public Library, for letting me know about this title!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Nancy Pelosi speaks out about Harvey Milk Day

Democratic Leader of the US Congress, Nancy Pelosi:

For more info on Harvey Milk day, check out the Harvey Milk Foundation's Harvey Milk Day website here.

There's a wonderful Oscar-winning documentary, a great Oscar-winning biopic, and here's one of my favorite Harvey Milk speech excerpts:

Let's celebrate Harvey Milk Day by allowing ourselves to be trail-blazers for equality, too!


Monday, May 21, 2012

Newsweek calls Obama the nation's "first gay president" for supporting Gay Marriage. This article in Salon asks, what about Buchanan, our actual first gay - as in in-love-with-another-man - President?

This Salon article by Jim Loewen, in response to Newsweek's I-don't-really-understand-the-meaning-of-the-word-GAY cover

is fascinating reading, in which he talks about how the actual first gay president, James Buchanan, was a man who was in love with another man.

It includes this quote from

"Buchanan’s May 13, 1844, letter to a Mrs. Roosevelt. Describing his deteriorating social life after his great love, William Rufus King, senator from Alabama, had moved to Paris to become our ambassador to France, Buchanan wrote: I am now “solitary and alone,” having no companion in the house with me. I have gone a wooing to several gentlemen, but have not succeeded with any one of them."

I love the article's premise that if we're not real about our history (and how sometimes in our history we've moved backwards on equality and tolerance) we'll have trouble actually making progress towards a world that celebrates differences.

President Buchanan, a gay man.  That's pretty cool.

But for Newsweek to call President Obama "The First Gay President" because he came out in support of gay marriage is like calling President Lyndon B. Johnson "The First Black President" because he signed the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act.  Come on, people.  "The First Outspoken Ally," maybe.

I really do like the mocked cover Salon ran:

Now THAT would be an issue of Newsweek I'd pick up.


ps - Jim Loewen's article first appeared here, on the George Mason University's History News Network.

pps - Actually, the cover article in Newsweek on page 22 is called "The President of the United States Shifted The Mainstream In One Interview" by Andrew Sullivan.  And it's pretty great.  But I still have issues with the magazine cover.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Mitt Romney was a High School Bully... Does It Matter?

Imagine the scene:

A fancy private high school, where the students wear ties and carry briefcases, and live in dorms.  Every guy has their hair cut short.  Everyone looks pretty much alike.

A new student, John Lauber, has bleached blonde hair, and wears it long - covering one eye. 

Others make fun of the new guy, teasing him for the hair and what the hair might mean... that the new kid is gay.

Mitt Romney, a Senior at the time, told his friend Matthew Friedemann, “He can’t look like that. That’s wrong. Just look at him!”

A few days later, according to five witnesses, this happened:

"...Friedemann entered Stevens Hall off the school’s collegiate quad to find Romney marching out of his own room ahead of a prep school posse shouting about their plan to cut Lauber’s hair. Friedemann followed them to a nearby room where they came upon Lauber, tackled him and pinned him to the ground. As Lauber, his eyes filling with tears, screamed for help, Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors."
Okay, this homophobic attack (as reported in the Washington Post) happened back in 1965 - I wasn't even born yet.  Forty-seven years before Mitt Romney is running for President of the United States of America.  Should it matter?

When Romney was asked about it, here's his response:

Asked specifically as to whether he remembered an anecdote in the story that describes Romney cutting the hair of one of his classmates who was “presumed” to be gay because the candidate did not like his long hairstyle, Romney responded, “You know, I don’t.”

“I don’t remember that incident,” Romney said, laughing, before adding that whether someone was “homosexual, that was the furthest thing from my mind back in the 1960s, so that was not the case.”

 I thought this editorial by Charles M. Blow in the New York Times had some great points, including:

"...honorable men don’t chuckle at cruelty."


"Targeting the vulnerable is an act of cowardice. The only way to vanquish cowardice is to brandish courage. Romney refused to do so."


"Americans want to know that the boy from that prep school grew up in knowledge and wisdom and grew deep in compassion and empathy. We want to know that his shoulders are now wide enough to bear blame and his heart is big enough to seek contrition."

Instead, what Romney did was laugh about it, say he didn't remember the incident, and failed to express regret or show he'd learned anything in the forty-seven years since he viciously attacked a classmate for being "different."

He missed what might have been a transformative, teachable moment that addressed the epidemic of bullying today. 

Mitt Romney was a High School Bully. 

I think it does matter.  

What do you think?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Only The Ring Finger Knows - Gay Teen Manga!

Only the Ring Finger Knows by Satoru Kannagi and Hotaru Odagiri

At Wataru Fujii's high school, it's all the rage to wear paired rings with the girl you love. 

Wataru wears one even though he's single, and one day he inadvertently discovers that his ring pairs up with that of tall, handsome and smart Yichi Kazuki, the senior idolized by the whole school.

Though Kazuki has a reputation for being kind to everyone, when he deals with Wataru, he's strangely harsh.

Their paired rings somehow draw them together and the two alternately clash and attract, as they must sort out their budding feelings for each other.

This is a novelization of the "Only the Ring Finger Knows" Manga volumes one and two, 

The cover for the English-language Manga, volume one

and there are more titles out in the series.   Add your review of any of these "Only The Ring Finger Knows" manga and novels in comments!

My thanks to Robin Fosdick at the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library for her wonderful GLBTQ Graphic Novels for Teens list!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Lambda Literary Foundation's New LGBTQ Book Club for Teens!

I'm very excited about the My Story Book Club!

Check out this interview I did with Monica Carter, who is founding the program for Lambda Literary Foundation...

For more info on the My Story Book Club, and to see all their selections for the year ahead (some great reads!) check out this info on Lambda Literary's website.

And you can join in on Goodreads here!


ps- my apologies for the sound quality issues.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

All Of Us - a Bisexual teen and young adult novel

"All of Us" by Mary Rawson

At age 13, Jenny tries to make sense of her desire for a boy and a girl.

We follow Jenny and her friends and lovers from Kaikoura, New Zealand to Melbourne, Australia as she grows up though her teen and young adult years.

She tries to be heterosexual. She tries to be a lesbian.  But ultimately, while negotiating friendship, love and grief, Jenny must claim her true identity as a bisexual woman.

Add your review of "All of Us" in comments!

Monday, May 14, 2012

HUGE News: President Obama Supports Gay Marriage

He's evolved!

Barack Obama promised to be a "fierce advocate" for the GLBTQ community while running for office.

Once in office, that advocacy has felt, at times, tepid.  Hesitant.  More concerned with political expediency than with doing what was right.  What we believed he felt was right.  And yet progress was made.  Slow progress, but progress.

But on Wednesday May 9, 2012, President Obama finally stated, (you can watch the video here or here at the Obama campaign site)

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"I have to tell you that over the course of several years, as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors, when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don't Ask Don't Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married."


While there is a lot of talk and conjecture about the possible damage this might do to his re-election campaign, by standing up for us GLBTQ members of the community and saying that he supports our equality, he's gained more than my tepid support.

He's gained me as an advocate.

And millions of other GLBTQ and Allied and fair-minded people.

This is a good thing.


Friday, May 11, 2012

PFLAG Mom Marsha Aizumi is Changing the World "One Heart At A Time"

I spoke with Marsha last fall, and have been saving this interview for now since Sunday is Mother's Day here in the USA, and talking to Marsha - a PFLAG mom - made me so happy.

Marsha's book, "Two Spirits One Heart: A Mother, Her Transgender Son, And Their Journey to Love and Acceptance" will be coming out in September, and I'll blog more about it then, but I had to share this discussion with you all now.

PFLAG is a great organization, and you can find out more about them here.

Thanks Marsha!  Aiden is certainly fortunate to have you as his mother.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer - A Middle Grade Novel with a Lesbian Mom

My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer by Jennifer Gennari

"The best pies are all about finding the right mix of berries. Meet June, a sweet 12-year-old, whose summer pie-making plans get muddled when her mother decides to marry her girlfriend now that Vermont has made Civil Unions legal.   My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer is about one girl learning how to be herself and stand up for her new family."

Add your review of "My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer" in comments!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Gender 101, Episode #29: Meet B J

Benji (a.k.a. Lucy) introduces us to another gender non-conforming community member, B J...

So delighted to meet B J,


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Boy Scouts show their homophobia again

Here's what happened, in Jennifer Tyrrell's words:

My name is Jennifer Tyrrell. I am a devoted partner, mother, friend and community leader in Bridgeport, Ohio. I’m also a former Tiger Cub den leader with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). I was recently removed from this volunteer position, and my membership was revoked after nearly a year of service – just because I happen to be gay.

Shortly after registering my son for Cub Scouts, I was asked to assume the role of den leader and was persuaded by a platform of tolerance, acceptance and support. Throughout the year, my cubs performed volunteer service at a local soup kitchen, collected canned goods for area churches to distribute in food baskets, participated in bell-ringing for the Salvation Army, and, at the time of my removal, were working on a conservation project for a state park. My Tiger Cubs earned multiple Scout badges for service and skills, while learning and exercising the 12 Core Values of Scouting: citizenship, compassion, cooperation, courage, faith, health & fitness, honesty, perseverance, positive attitude, resourcefulness, respect, and responsibility.

The revocation of my membership came shortly after I was elected treasurer of my pack and uncovered some inconsistencies in the pack's finances. Within a week of reporting these findings to the council, I received notice that my membership had been revoked, based on my sexual orientation, citing that because I'm gay, I did "not meet the high standards of membership that the BSA seeks."

There was an outcry of support for me by the parents of my Tiger Scouts, many of whom waited for hours to voice their concerns to members of the council and the pack's charter organization, but were turned away without the opportunity to do so.

Discriminating against Gay (GLBTQ) parents and children is contrary to everything the boy scouts say they stand for... I was a cub scout when I was a child.

Shouldn't it be evident that the we-hate-and-demean-gay-people-because-that's-what-our-parents-taught-us credo is contrary to the very beliefs they're saying they hold dear?


You can check out this interview with Jennifer, her son Cruz, and the new head of GLAAD on MSNBC here.

And please consider signing Jennifer's petition to the Boy Scouts to stand up and say

"It is time for the Boy Scouts of America to reconsider its policy of exclusivity against gay youth and leaders. Please sign this petition to call for an end of discrimination in an organization that is shaping the future."

About a quarter of a million people have signed the petition so far, including me!

How about you?


Monday, May 7, 2012

Dan Savage on the Hypocrisy of using the Bible as justification for anti-gay bullying

This is brilliant.

Mind, Dan doesn't pull any punches, and uses words that might be objectionable to some.  And he's getting a lot of flack for this part of his speech, for allegedly attacking Christianity.  Dan himself said that he feels he was really attacking hypocrisy.

"I have a right to defend myself, and to point out the hypocrisy of people who justify anti-gay bigotry by pointing to the Bible and insisting we must live by the code of Leviticus on this one issue and no other."

Bravo, Dan!


ps - thanks to my husband for sharing this with me! You Rock!

Friday, May 4, 2012

International Family Equality Day is May 6th!

From The Family Equality Council website:

"International Family Equality Day is a celebration of the global LGBT family community. This year, we’ll celebrate the first annual International Family Equality Day on May 6, 2012. Community events will be held in several parts of the U.S., Europe, and beyond. Some of this year’s events include picnics, a press conference, live music, and more!"

...We encourage families to join us by starting their own traditions on May 6 in celebration of their family pride and ongoing efforts for full family equality."

You can click here to find out about events all over from Stuttgart, Germany to New York City, USA to Toronto, Canada.

And I like the idea of coming up with our own traditions!

Namaste, and Happy International Family Equality Day!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Major League Baseball player Brandon McCarthy Stands Up to Kiss Cam Homophobia

You're at a baseball game. The Kiss Cam focuses in on male-female couples in the massive stadium, who kiss to the roars of the crowd. At the end of the sequence of kissing heterosexuals, the camera focuses in on two straight men sitting next to each other. When they realize they're on the kiss cam, they make disgusted faces. Cue the laughter of the crowd.

After a game last week, Oakland A's pitcher Brandon McCarthy tweeted this:

"They put two guys on the 'Kiss Cam' tonight. What hilarity!! (by hilarity I mean offensive homophobia). Enough with this stupid trend."

What I really love about Brandon standing up is how he sees the disconnect between the homophobia of the kiss cam moment and the efforts of Major League Baseball players participating in the "It Gets Better" campaign.

"If there are gay people who are coming to a game and seeing something like that, you can't assume they're comfortable with it," McCarthy told the San Francisco Chronicle. "If you're even making a small group of people ... feel like outcasts, then you're going against what makes your model successful."

Thank you Brandon for speaking up!

And for the folks behind those Kiss Cam moments, how about featuring some gay and lesbian couples within the Kiss Cam montage, along with all the other loving couples?


ps - thanks to my friend Greg for sharing this with me so I could share it with all of you!

pps - you can check out this video report on celebrities caught on the "Kiss Cam" - to see the context of one of these "hilarious" two guys moment.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Gender 101, Episode #28: Emmi's Advice on Interacting With Gender Non-Conforming People

Emmi shares some wonderful tips:

Thanks Emmi!


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I'll be speaking at Cal State Fresno's Henry Madden Library Tonight on the FAIR Education Act!

I'll be part of a panel on the FAIR (Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, Respectful) Education Act, the California Law that requires schools to integrate information about social movements, current events and contributions of people with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bi, and transgender people into the K-12 social studies curriculum.

Co-Hosted by the Arne Nixon Center for the Study of Children's Literature, our panel is presented as the 2012 Printise J. Womack Lecture, and I'm so honored to be part of it!

My fellow panelists will be

Robert McGarry, Ed.D., Director of Education for GLSEN - the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.


Shelbi Day, Lambda Legal Staff Attorney in the Western Regional Office.

It will be held from 7pm-9pm in the Madden Library, Lecture Hall 2206.

I can't wait to hear Shelbi and Robert speak, and I'm excited to debut something new in my discussion of Queer History,

"HISstory  HERstory  OURstory"