Wednesday, January 20, 2021

SCBWI Queer Voices Panel Highlights

 I was delighted to attend SCBWI's Queer Voices Panel on January 14, 2021!

The Queer Voices Panelists with their books!


top row: Sign language interpreter Jennye Kamin; moderator Phil Bildner with a copy of Phil's middle grade novel A High Five For Glenn Burke; Mike Curato with a copy of Mike's YA graphic novel, Flamer.

middle row: Alex Gino with a copy of Alex's George and Rick; Abdi Nazemian with a copy of Abdi's Like a Love Story.

lower row: J Yang with a copy of J's Spirit Day; and Kaylynn Bayron with a copy of Kaylynn's Cinderella is Dead.

Some highlights:

Kaylynn speaking of her Cinderella is Dead: "Black girls team up to overthrow the patriarchy." And on unlearning while centering Queer black girls in her writing.

J speaking of the impact of the secondary Trans character in Tamora Pierce's Bloodhound, and how "every single person I draw is Queer."

Bill on the four different decisions he played out (of his two main characters who meet at the top of The Bridge intending to jump to their deaths) and how he ultimately wants readers to know that "they are not alone." And wanting to see "more LGBTQ joy."

Abdi saying "Let's study history to repeat the best of it, not just avoid the worst of it." And how "even in the darkest moment, there is light." Also Abdi's describing reaching out to his Iranian community as an out Gay man to change hearts and minds.

Alex on the impact of Kate Bornstein's Gender Outlaw where they learned the term Gender Queer and how powerful that "access to language" was. And how there is no age too young to learn to be kind, compassionate, know yourself and others.

Mike on how the mouse in the Little Elliot books is nonbinary, how Mike's hope is for readers to know "there is light in you even if you can't see it yourself," and how having a Queer imprint at a major publisher would be a game-changer.

...and Phil speaking of how essential a thread of hope is in books for young people, and on the motivation for A High Five for Glenn Burke – to get the message out that "Queer kids play sports, too."

The whole panel was recorded and you can watch the video here at the SCBWI website.

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