Pride Month Reading Wrap-Up Part 1

I hope everyone has had an amazing Pride Month!

This month I decided to only read books that have LGBTQA+ representation.  I decided to split this into two parts, so the post wouldn’t be too long. All titles link to their GoodReads page. Here’s what I read in June including the 5 books from my Pride Month TBR:

  1. Fun Home By: Alison Bechdel

Representation: Lesbian

TW: Death by suicide, Pedophilia

Fun Home is a memoir in a graphic novel style. It feels wrong to say I enjoyed this book, given the heavy overlying topic of Bechdel’s fathers death by suicide, and relationships with underage men. However, the way Bechdel told the story of her childhood was incredibly captivating. She has been quite an important part of modern lesbian history, so I enjoyed learning about her life. This is only the second graphic novel I’ve ever read, and I’ve realized I really enjoy them!

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

Representation: Gay man

TW: Physical and Verbal Abuse, Homophobia

When I Grow Up is a poetry collection mainly about Chen Chen’s coming out experience, relationships with his parents, and romantic relationships. The imagery he creates brings these poems to life. I liked how he discussed the intersection of his identities as an Asian-American man, and a queer man. The rejection he faced from his parents is incredibly heartbreaking. I really liked Chen’s style, and am interested in reading more of his work.

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

Representation: Gay men

TW: Homophobia, Violence

I read the majority of this book in one sitting. I really enjoyed the first-generation Mexican-American representation, . That identity is not commonly represented  in popular YA books, but it makes up a huge population of Texas kids, both the state where I live and where this book takes place. Ari was my kind of narrator: pessimistic and a bit of a loner. (That may be off-putting to some people, but I really like it!) The budding romance is very slow burn. I thought it was well done it a way that kept the romance intriguing yet slow, and didn’t become boring like a lot of slow-burn portrayals can be. Overall, I really enjoyed this book.

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

TW: Death by suicide

Representation: Lesbian

I had my reservations about parts of this books plot. In the end, the plot was my favorite part about it. However, overall I did not love this book and had to make myself finish it. My main problem was with the writing style. I felt like the color analogy used to represent feelings became very gimmicky. There was also a lull in the middle of the book where it felt like nothing major really happened for 200 pages. I also found the love interest to be rather annoying, and it sometimes felt forced.

5. Even This Page is White By: Vivek Shraya

TW: Racism

Representation: Vivek is a trans woman

This is a book of poetry about racism. I enjoyed learning about how the experiences homophobia/transphobia and racism intersected for Vivek. She had a lot of really thought provoking poems that I think every white person should read to educate themselves, especially when it came to the discussion of white privilege.

6. The Meaning of Birds By: Jaye Robin Brown

TW: Death

Representation: Lesbian, Bisexual

This is the second book I’ve read by Brown and overall I enjoyed it with some reservations. Jess the main character is dealing with her grief surrounding her girlfriend Vivi. My favorite part of the book was Jess’s relationship with Eliza and Greer. Greer was in charge of Jess’ work study and then hired her to help with blacksmith projects. Eliza was Greer’s partner. I love seeing adult queer women helping teenage queer girl’s in their journeys. I have seen some people dislike the way Jess’ best friend was portrayed. She was described in a way that made her seem asexual/aromantic, but that language was never used. She didn’t seem to have much of a personality beyond that, which is one of the major critiques I’ve seen. Along with, the unaddressed aphobia that comes from Jess during an argument they had. Jess also pressures Vivi to do things she doesn’t want to do, and while Vivi pushes back, the problem with Jess’ behavior isn’t addressed. I do think Brown missed the mark on Jess’ best friends identity and the situation with Vivi. However, there are a lot of really important themes and impactful moments in this book that I like.

 

 

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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!

 

Remembering Pulse Orlando

June 12th, 2016 49 people were killed ad 53 were wounded at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

It was the deadliest terrorist attack since 9/11 at the time.

Since then countless mass shootings have taken place, notably the Marjorie Stoneman- Douglas Shooting, which also took place in Florida. I wish I could say we’ve done the victims justice by changing our laws and having more gun regulations, but that simply isn’t true. As a society we’ve become so numb to tragedy, myself included. It’s not always  a conscious decision to become numb, it’s only human to try and protect yourself from tragedy and chaos. You can however, make the decision to pay attention and care.

49 people will never tell their friends and family how much they love them again, 49 people will never get to celebrate another holiday, 49 people will never be able to go to a gay club and dance again. It’s hard to imagine just how big the impact of something like the Pulse shooting has, but without a doubt it has changed thousands of peoples lives.

These victims deserve so much more. When I marched in the March for Our Lives, I was marching for these 49 and the countless others who have tragically joined them in the past two years. Obtaining gun control is the least we could do in their honor to bring them some level of justice.

They deserve to be remembered:

  • Stanley Almodovar III, age 23
  • Amanda Alvear, 25
  • Oscar A. Aracena-Montero, 26
  • Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33
  • Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21
  • Martin Benitez Torres, 33
  • Antonio D. Brown, 30
  • Darryl R. Burt II, 29
  • Jonathan A. Camuy Vega, 24
  • Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28
  • Simon A. Carrillo Fernandez, 31
  • Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25
  • Luis D. Conde, 39
  • Cory J. Connell, 21
  • Tevin E. Crosby, 25
  • Franky J. Dejesus Velazquez, 50
  • Deonka D. Drayton, 32
  • Mercedez M. Flores, 26
  • Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22
  • Juan R. Guerrero, 22
  • Paul T. Henry, 41
  • Frank Hernandez, 27
  • Miguel A. Honorato, 30
  • Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40
  • Jason B. Josaphat, 19
  • Eddie J. Justice, 30
  • Anthony L. Laureano Disla, 25
  • Christopher A. Leinonen, 32
  • Brenda L. Marquez McCool, 49
  • Jean C. Mendez Perez, 35
  • Akyra Monet Murray, 18
  • Kimberly Morris, 37
  • Jean C. Nieves Rodriguez, 27
  • Luis O. Ocasio-Capo, 20
  • Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25
  • Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36
  • Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32
  • Enrique L. Rios Jr., 25
  • Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37
  • Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24
  • Christopher J. Sanfeliz, 24
  • Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35
  • Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25
  • Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34
  • Shane E. Tomlinson, 33
  • Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25
  • Luis S. Vielma, 22
  • Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37
  • Jerald A. Wright, 31

The Fetishization of Gay Men by Straight Women

The perpetrators of the phenomena of fetishizing gay men seem to be mainly straight women.  They become overly invested in male/male romances, both real and fictional. They over sexualize and fetishize their relationships, and treat them like objects. Quite frankly, the treat them the same way many straight men treat women. They paint them as characters for their own enjoyment instead of real human beings, or well-rounded fictional characters. These are also the same women who “Just LOOOOVE gay men!!!” They see them as an experience and often infantilize their relationships.

Many straight women write m/m novels and fan-fiction. These characters tend to be the embodiment of a stereotype, and don’t got through much character development. Unless you count going from saying, “YASS” to “YASS KWEEN!!” as development. Their writing also has no experience behind it. The coming out stories are incredibly inaccurate, feel very uninformed, and are again seen as “super cute.” The struggles queer men face are often erased, and replaced with yet another sex scene.

The stories these women write are not for queer men, they are for self-satisfaction and other women who also enjoy fetishizing queer men. This is not what being an ally is. Allies don’t create uninformed, falsified queer media for their own enjoyment. Being an ally also isn’t an identity, you don’t get to become a part of the community for simply not being homophobic. Appropriating queer culture and then producing uninformed work for a profit is a huge slap in the face to people who are actually a part of the community. Perpetuating stereotypes and writing stories you have no authority to write does not help the LGBTQIA+ community at all.

Gay men are often stereotyped to be feminine, and so society lumps them into the same group as women. They’re seen as “just one of the girls,” and are there to compliment straight women and make them feel better about themselves. Gay men are not women, and yet the characters that straight women write and label as “gay men” are often portrayed as if they are a straight woman. Queer stories are vital to the progression of our community, but these stories aren’t the right ones. Sometimes as an ally it’s better to do nothing at all, if the opposite action is appropriation and fetishization. LGBTQIA+ people deserve authentic and diverse stories written by people who understand them and their struggles, which is something a straight woman could never do.

 

*** Obviously there are straight women in the LGBTQIA+ community, but I’m specifically talking about straight women who do not identify as being LGBTQIA+ at all (aren’t trans, asexual, aromantic, or any other queer romantic identity, etc.)***

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

lm

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!

Pride Month 2018

June is LGBTQIA+ pride month, and just like last year, all of my posts this month will be LGBTQIA+ related!

Pride Month is a time to celebrate being a part of the LGBTQIA+ community, remember the history of our civil rights movements and celebrate our accomplishments, as well as organizing to continue to fight for the rights of LGBTQIA+ people everywhere. Many cities hold their pride parade this month as well as other events, but some places, like where I live, hold their events at different times throughout the year. Either way, June is a great time to celebrate being LGBTQIA+ and have fun!

I have a lot of ideas about the posts I’m going to do this month, but I’d love to hear what you want to see from me! I’m really excited for this month, and all the festivities that come along with it.

Happy Pride Everyone!

 

 

Bye-Bye Pride Month 2017

I can’t believe June is almost over! This summer is flying by already, before we know it’s going to be August and school will be in session again.

June was LGBTQIA+ pride month and so I did quite a few posts on the topic:

 

Pride month is coming to an end, but for the LGBTQ+ community, pride never stops. Sure there won’t be a parade, or rainbows and glitter plastered all over advertisements, but we continue to celebrate who we are all year long. My LGBT posts may slow down a bit, but they won’t stop.

I hope everyone had an amazing pride month, whether you were able to/chose to celebrate or not. This year I’m going to my very first Pride parade, but it doesn’t take place until September, so for me and many others Pride is not over. I’m really excited to spend a day being surrounded by lot of love, acceptance, and community.

Did you celebrate Pride?