Pride Month 2019 TBR

Happy Pride Ya’ll!

While I usually read mostly queer books, this month I am going to exclusively read books with some sort of LGBTQA+ representation. Growing up, I did not see any representation of myself, in regards to being a queer person, in books. The fact that I am able to go to my local library and pick up queer books brings me so much joy. Here’s the five books with LGBTQA+ representation that I’m planning on reading this month…

  1. The Astonishing Color of After By: Emily X.R. Pan

astonishing

This book follows Leigh and her travels to Taiwan to meet her mother’s parents, after her mom dies by suicide. Leigh also strongly believes that her mother turned into a bird when she died. To be honest I find this to be a weird concept, but I’ve seen a lot of people rave about this book, so I’m interested to check it out.

Representation: One of the side characters is a lesbian.

2. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe By: Benjamin Alire Sáenz

aristotle

This books follows Ari and Dante, two boys who are seemingly very different, and their budding friendship. This is a coming of age story about friendship, sexuality, and the intersection of sexuality and being a person of color.

Representation: Multiple queer men

3. Fun Home By: Alison Bechdel

fun home

Fun Home is a graphic novel memoir. Alison Bechdel is an openly lesbian writer and cartoonist, most famously know for her “Dykes to Watch Out For” series.

4. When I Grow Up I Want to be a List of Further Possibilities By: Chen Chen

chen chen

This is a poetry collection from the poet Chen Chen. He is an Asian-American gay man, who writes a lot about those intersections. His work also talks a lot about the abuse he faced from his parents after he came out.

5. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo By: Taylor Jenkins Reid

seven

This book follows Evelyn Hugo, an elusive Hollywood actress, and Monique Grant the reporter hired by Evelyn to write about her life. This book has been wildly popular and I’ve seen many people singing its praises.

Representation: Evelyn is bisexual

 

This month is quite busy for me, but I’m hoping to be able to finish these books and more. I have some books on hold at the library that I’m really hoping come in this month! What are your favorite books with LGBTQA+ representation? What book(s) are you currently reading? I’d love to know!

 

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The Joy of Seeing Another Queer Person in Public

Recently while strolling through Tumblr I found this post:

Screen Shot 2018-06-20 at 9.35.46 PM

I didn’t realize this was such a universal queer experience! Seeing other visibly LGBTQIA+ people in public is really exciting, especially when you live in an area that doesn’t have many openly queer people, like where I live. Sure, representation in the media isn’t that great for the LGBTQIA+ community, but more importantly the representation in daily life isn’t very good either for many of us. I know zero queer adults personally. I know of two couples, who go to my church and live in the city that I live in a suburb of. There are no LGBTQIA+ families in my neighborhood that I know of, or even my city. I also know of less than 10 LGBTQIA+ identified kids who went to my high school. There are probably more queer people than I realize in my city, but essentially the numbers are small and there isn’t much of a “community” here.

I feel a sense of connection with other queer people that feels very familial, which is one reason why seeing them randomly in public is exciting. Whenever I am in a city, especially one that’s progressive, like Austin where my sister lives, I am flabbergasted by all the queer people. Like, you can just go into a store or a restaurant and see another openly LGBTQIA+ person, which 9 times out of 10 isn’t the case where I live. It’s hard to learn what it’s like to live as a queer adult when there aren’t any for you to look up to.

Autostraddle, a website that creates content mainly for queer women, has a column called Queer IRL which features photo journals of queer people in different life situations. These photo journals mean a lot to me, and have helped me to feel less alone. The photographs are submitted by readers and the writer of the column is Laneia. Visibility is something we all need, and it can be very lonely and isolating when you don’t have it.

(Top Left: “Queer in the Bedroom” Ft. Kayla , Bottom Left: “Queers and Pets” Ft. Alex and Kiki, Right: “Queers on Holiday” Ft. Jessica)

I hope the excitement of seeing other queer people in public never goes away for me, because as simple as the experience is, it brings me joy.

 

Pride Month TBR

Something I haven’t talked much on my blog about is how much I love reading. LGBTQIA+ books especially have a special place in my heart, so that’s why for Pride I’m reading only queer books in the month of June. Some of these books may have more queer representation than I’m aware of since I haven’t read them yet! This month I’m planning to read…

  1. Little & Lion By: Brandy Colbert

little and lion.jpg

What is it about?: In Little and Lion, the main character Suzette just came home from boarding school, and is being reacquainted with her family and friends. Shortly before she went to school, her brother was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. Suzette begins to have a crush on a girl that her brother Lionel is in love with, but the girl is detrimental to Lionel’s mental health.

How is it LGBTQIA+?: The main character Suzette is queer (the blurb doesn’t specify a more specific identity.) Multiple other secondary characters are lesbians.

2. Ash By: Malinda Lo

ash

What is it about?: Ash is a fantasy novel that is a retelling of Cinderella. Instead of a prince, Ash falls in love with Kaisa, the King’s Huntress.

How is it LGBTQIA+?: Ash and Kaisa are lesbians

3. The Swan Riders By: Erin Bow

swan

What is it about?: This is the second book in the Scorpion Rules duology. The Swan Riders is a science fiction book, whose main character Greta was a hostage in a futuristic world, where every country designates a hostage that is a related to the ruler of their country, and if their country starts a war then the hostage is killed. I don’t want to spoil the first book, so I’m going to keep it pretty vague. Greta is going on a cross country journey with the leader of the United Nations, who set up the hostage system. I really enjoyed the first book is this duology, soI’m really excited for this sequel!

How is it LGBTQIA+?: Greta is queer, most likely bisexual, but that isn’t explicitly stated. Other secondary characters are also queer / possibly bisexual.

4. Almost Like Being in Love By: Steve Kluger

almost

What is it about?: Two boys fall in love their senior year of high school, but they separate when they go to college. Twenty years later, Travis realizes the thing missing from his life is Craig, and he begins to try to get back in touch with him.

How is it LGBTQIA+?: The main characters are gay men.

5. Tales of the Lavender Menace By: Karla Jay

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What is it about?: Tales of the Lavender Menace is about the group of radical lesbian feminists in the 1970’s, who protested the exclusion of lesbians and their struggles from the feminist movement. The author was a member of the group, and wrote this book as a memoir.

How is it LGBTQIA+?: All about lesbian history!

 

I’m super excited to read exclusively queer books this month! Although who am I kidding, I mostly read queer books every month. Are you reading any books with LGBTQIA+ rep in them currently?

Happy Pride!

Books I Read in 2017

Reading was always one of my favorite things to do as a child. My mom is an avid reader, and when I was little I always wanted to be able to read as much and as fast as she did. When I started getting migraines, I stopped reading for fun because it was no longer fun. I’ve been very fortunate to have a relatively small number of migraines this year, and I was able to get back to reading. In 2017, I read 17 books, which was a humorous coincidence. I know many people read 17 books in one month, but I feel like for someone getting back into reading after taking a few years off, it’s pretty good. Here’s what I read in 2017 in the order I read them:

  1. Scrappy Little Nobody By: Anna Kendrick
  2. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings By: Maya Angelou
  3. The Difference Between You and Me By: Madeleine George
  4. A Tree Grows in Brooklynn By: Betty Smith
  5. Been Here All Along By: Sandy Hall
  6. More Happy Than Not By: Adam Silvera
  7. Lies My Girlfriend Told Me By: Julie Anne Peters
  8. The Summer I Wasn’t Me By: Jessica Verdi
  9. Vanished By: E.E. Cooper
  10. Pretend You Love Me By: Julie Anne Peters
  11. Our Own Private Universe By: Robin Talley
  12. Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit By: Jaye Robbin Brown
  13. History is All You Left Me By: Adam Silvera
  14. Take This Man By: Brando Skyhorse
  15. Bad Feminist By: Roxane Gay
  16. They Both Die At The End By: Adam Silvera
  17. Dress Codes For Small Towns By: Courtney Stevens

 

I feel in love with queer YA fiction, and have made it my mission to read as many as I possibly can in 2018. The discovery of Adam Silvera, has also been amazing. Both History is All You Left Me and They Both Die at the End quickly became some of my favorite books of all time. The Difference Between You and Me, will always have a special place in my heart, as it is the first queer book I had ever read. My personal goal for this year was to read 12 books, one a month, but I never wanted it to feel like a chore. Luckily, it didn’t, and I was even able to surpass that goal. In 2018, my goal is to read AT LEAST 24 books, or two a month.

What was your favorite book you read this year / What is your favorite book in general?

I’d love to hear any recommendations!

Should Non-Queer People Play Queer Characters?

There’s nothing more disappointing to me than enjoying a queer character in a show, looking up the actor, and finding out they aren’t a part of the LGBTQIA+ community at all. It’s not like there’s a shortage of talented queer actors; Hollywood just doesn’t cast them. With over 10% of the population being LGBTQIA+ in some capacity, there’s definitely a plethora of talented queer actors, probably even some that identify the same way as their character does.

Representation is incredibly important for every minority group. While there’s been more LGBTQIA+ representation in the media in 2017 than ever before, we still have a lot of progress that needs to be made. It would be ridiculous and wrong for someone to play a black character if they weren’t black, so why do we treat sexuality and gender that way? Sure, some non-queer actors do a pretty damn good job playing queer characters, but they just don’t have the experience. They don’t know the struggle, and it really shows when they do interviews about their show/movie. As much as I think we really need to support queer media as a whole, I would rather support queer artists making LGBTQIA+ content.

As a young queer person, I often find myself finding other LGBTQIA+ identifying people, mainly queer women, to look up to. I really needed solid representation when I was figuring everything out, and straight women playing lesbians on TV just wasn’t what I wanted or needed. I also have a problem with the specific type of cis-straight-heteroromantic people that are casted. They are almost always white, able-bodied, and financially privileged. The real LGBTQIA+ community is diverse in every sense of the word. Hot white gays are not the majority, and their stories are not the most important ones to be told. Queer people of color, and disabled queer people’s stories and accomplishments are constantly being erased.

The history behind the character is important. People who are figuring out their gender and/or sexuality need to see queer people living “normal” lives. Straight-Cis-Heteroromantic actors just can’t possibly convey that, or be that representation off the show. Recently, Stephanie Beatriz’s Character Rosa, on the TV show Brooklyn Nine-Nine, came out as bisexual. The only thing that’s cooler than Hollywood actually letting someone say the word “bisexual” on TV, is that Stephanie is bisexual. She is a perfect example of good queer representation. I wish we saw this more often.

Do you think non-queer people should play queer characters? Who are some of your favorite LGBTQIA+ actors?